IDC John Gilsenan

John Gilsenan
Consultant, IDC Ireland  @johnrosgilsenan

Digital transformation is the application of 3rd platform–related technologies (mobility, cloud, social business, and Big Data) to fundamentally change the way a process is executed, generally with a design-led approach to business process redesign.  A key component is that it can create a radical or exponential change to the organization in contrast to linear improvements or small adjustments. 

While we at IDC have been monitoring developments in Digital Transformation globally for some time now, 2016 saw us, for the first time, take the opportunity to examine how it is impacting on the Irish IT market.  The findings of our annual “IT Trends and Expenditure in Ireland” survey of end-user organizations in recent years have pointed to a market which is ready for innovation.  The property crash and subsequent bail-out took a heavy toll on the Irish economy.  Survival was the key and innovation was an unaffordable luxury.  That has changed. Indeed, the most recent version of the survey, conducted in October 2016, demonstrates that organizations in both public and private sectors are embracing 3rd platform technologies to drive innovation.

Evidence of this was provided when the IT Trends research found one of the key drivers of organizational strategy in Ireland to be the “development of new digital products and services”.  While this is a worthy aspiration, recent research on Digital Transformation in Europe conducted by Carla Arend, showed that many (large) organizations were engaging in a programme of infrastructure modernization to lay the “foundation” for digital transformation.  This was necessary because many CIO’s are finding that their existing infrastructure is out-of-date and, therefore, does not provide them with the flexibility and speed required to implement new technologies in a timely fashion. Unsurprisingly, the research found that this is happening in the Irish context with infrastructure (server and storage) optimization being a key IT investment priority for the coming year.

Despite the fact that these infrastructure improvements are ongoing, nonetheless, the findings show a significant number of Irish organizations across a range of industries are already engaged in a process of digital transformation.  Many more are set to follow, having plans in place to begin the process within two years.  While the speed of uptake varies across different industry sectors it clear that large private sector organizations are, and will continue to be, at the forefront of digital transformation in the Irish context.

The research further demonstrated that many Irish-based organizations have not yet set up the internal structures their peers across Europe have been doing to facilitate digital transformation.  For example, while the proportion of organizations in Ireland that have set up a digital unit within the IT department is around half the average across Europe, the actual proportion that have already engaged with a strategic partner and / or digital ecosystem is just ahead of the European figure.  This shows the extent to which end user organizations will be dependent on external assistance in the coming years to make a success of their digital transformation projects.

The important role that cloud computing can play in digital transformation will be featured in a future blog post.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more, click below to register  for our annual Irish IT Trends and Expenditure 2017 Webinar, which will enable you to get up to speed with the current trends in Ireland and plan ahead.

IDC Irish IT Trends and Expenditure Webcast 2017