The best way to understand why Irish tech leaders are focusing on digital transformation is to ask them and then thoughtfully assess their answers

It can be tricky to gauge the digital status of a nation. Ireland ranks third for digital maturity in BearingPoints’ Digital Leaders Study 2022, but is rated 24th by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) on its World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2022.

Different organizations. Different ways of categorizing the digital status of a nation.

However, we have a more conclusive idea of what the digital focus points are for Irish tech leaders. This is because EY asked 150 senior tech professionals precisely this in its EY Ireland Tech Leaders Outlook Survey 2023. From this survey, we established that 44% of Irish tech leaders are focused on digital transformation, but why is this the case?

In this blog post, we explore the objectives of the transformation initiatives being taken by Irish tech leaders. We highlight two core drivers behind these initiatives and consider the context that’s driving them.

What objectives are driving Irish tech leaders to focus on digital transformation? It’s about ‘growth’ and ‘protection’

According to EY’s survey, there are 11 primary objectives for the digital transformation initiatives of Irish tech leaders. We’ve put all of these into a graph for you, along with the % of respondents that highlighted each one as a focus point.

However, before you check the graph, we’re going to share our own take on the objectives. We assessed each of them, so we could get an understanding of why they are important to Irish tech leaders — what’s in it for them and their organization?

We determined that, with the exception of sustainability and ESG (‘other’), these objectives fit into two categories — ‘growth’ and ‘protection’. We’ve put these categories above the objectives in the graph below:

So, what’s the biggest driver behind the digital transformation initiatives being pursued by Irish tech leaders? Read the next section of this blog post to get the answer and get our deeper analysis of it.

Growth is more important than protection for Irish tech leaders, but we’ve seen that the right digital transformation strategy drives both objectives

The graph we shared above shows that ‘growth’ accounts for the single biggest driver of the digital transformation initiatives being run by Irish tech leaders. We also found that ‘growth’ is the largest overall driver for the digital transformation objectives of Irish tech leaders. We make this assessment based on ‘growth’ factors having an average rating of 25.25%, compared to a score of 23.33% for ‘protection’.

You have to know why you’re embarking on a digital transformation initiative — every successful one begins with a vision. However, if you want to get the best outcome for your organization, you need to know how to approach digital transformation in the right way.

What we’ve seen when working with global organizations is that how you drive digital transformation is crucial to the success of your strategy. By not only rethinking what you do digitally but also adopting a modern digital approach that’s focused on building capability, you can nail growth and protection with one transformation.

To take a modern approach to digital transformation, you need to invest in both technology and tech professionals. You need the right tools, but you must ensure your people know how to use them in the ways that work best for them and for your organization — knowledge has to be transferred to ensure the impact of your digital transformation is sustainable. This is something we help our clients with, as Malcolm Reid, Director of Product Engineering at ATG, explains:

“The whole principle was that I could on-board permanent people and get them up to speed. The way NearForm partnered with us worked well in that regard. I was able to bring in the new guys and have the knowledge from the NearForm experts transferred over. The whole point of this is that we were transitioning from a consulting team to a permanent team. NearForm’s flexibility was one thing that I appreciated most. They accommodated us, learned what we needed, and adapted to us. It’s important to have that kind of partner.”

By adopting the right digital transformation strategy, you’ll build a foundation that’s focused on employee and business values. This means you’ll have the tools and tech talent you need to accelerate the speed of your product and feature delivery, reduce costs and operating risks, meet changing customer needs with agility and more. In short, you’ll have a long-term approach that both grows and protects your organization.

What’s the context for the focus on digital transformation initiatives among Irish tech leaders?

We’ve established that ‘growth’ and ‘protection’ occupy near-equal importance in the minds of Irish tech leaders focused on digital transformation. Something we’ve not yet addressed is whether there’s anything unique to Ireland that has inspired this. Part of the answer may be indicated by a study from 2021.

In January 2021, Irish tech leaders were given a “wake-up call” about their digital maturity. This came in the form of BearingPoints’ 2021 Digital Leaders Study, which put Ireland at the bottom of its table ranking countries by their level of digital maturity. Speaking about the importance of the study, Gillian O’Sullivan, Country Leader for BearingPoint in Ireland, said:

“This year’s findings provide a wake-up call for Irish businesses to remind them that they must not become complacent and must continue to progress on the path to digitalization in order to accelerate their recovery and growth, both during and post the pandemic.”

It’s fair to say that Irish tech leaders took both study and the words of O’Sullivan to heart. The former can be seen in Ireland shooting up BearingPoints’ digital maturity rankings, making it to third in the table of its 2022 study. The latter can be seen in the fact that 44% of Ireland’s tech leaders remain focused on digital transformation.

NearForm is an Irish-founded consultancy that can help you with your digital transformation efforts

As we say in our ‘Modern Digital Organization Manifesto’, “Organizational transformation has no end date” — the moment you scale back your efforts is the point at which your rivals start to move ahead of you.

NearForm is an Irish-founded consultancy that’s trusted by global organizations, from the flag carrier of Ireland, Aer Lingus, to the biggest retailer on the planet, Walmart. We have a long history of successfully guiding our clients on their journeys of digital transformation and would be delighted to help you on your own voyage.

If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about how we can help take your organization to the next level, contact us today.

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