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Firms making slow moves to embrace digital

Research from various sources has pointed the finger at a number of reasons for the slow adoption of digital business processes and some are resorting to acquisition to solve the problems

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Digital transformation promises efficiency improvements and the chance to get better insights into a business but many customers are nowhere near realising those benefits.

There are a number of factors behind the slowness from some users to change their business processes and some industry players have gone and asked the market why that is the case.

Managed service provider Claranet has done quite a lot of research and its latest findings reveal that the vast number of customers have failed to automate processes.

As a result IT departments are still bogged down with general maintenance, operational projects and dealing with user problems. The firm's research found that 48% of firms were still using manual processes.

“Automation is a critical enabling technology that can give organisations the agility, speed, scalability, resilience and compliance they need to compete and succeed in the age of digital business," said Michel Robert, managing director at Claranet UK.

“Unfortunately, it appears that many UK companies are struggling to adopt automation, from both an infrastructure and application perspective. This not only makes the day-to-day activity of the IT department less efficient, but also has a negative impact on the wider business, as new initiatives that are underpinned by technology cannot be leveraged to their full potential," he added.

Added to that are findings from Columbus UK, which has undertaken a major study into the impact of digital transformation on the manufacturing sector.

"Digital transformation is giving manufacturers the tools to reach previously impossible productivity and profitability levels, but worries about Brexit, changes in workforce composition and the perceived risks of digitisation remain widespread," said Kevin Bull, product strategy director at Columbus UK.

The positive message from the Manufacturing 2020 Report was that 87% of firms in that vertical were ready to invest in digital technologies that improved producitivity. More than half (61%) felt that they could do that with self-finance.

Some of that self-financing might well be spend on bringing in external talent.

One of the consequences of the pressure to speed up the digital transformation process has been a surge in M&A activity by firms looking to add depth via acquisition.

Hampleton Partners has just released its insights into M&A activity in the enterprise software and IT services sectors and pointed to digital transformation as a major factor behind recent activity.

“Companies are dealing with very rapid change, across multiple fronts. It’s a case of digitally transform or die. They’re turning to M&A to navigate quickly and effectively the shifting landscape and satisfy the increasing service expectations of their customers," said Miro Parizek, founder and principal partner, Hampleton Partners.

One of the key areas where firms were spending was in the security space to beef up their ability to fend off attacks.

“Cyber-security needs to be at the core of every digital transformation, to counter the relentless threats from increasingly sophisticated hackers and malware infection. It’s fueling the interest from businesses and investors looking to buy security solution providers as well as data management and analytics tools companies that mitigate the risk of them falling victim to an attack," said Parizek.

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