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UK businesses losing half a million pounds per cancelled digital project

UK businesses are losing almost £500,000 pounds for every cancelled digital project, with a lack of the right skills a major contributing factor

Cancelled digital projects are costing UK businesses almost half a million pounds each and 42% have scrapped at least one in the past two years.

The findings are from analysis of 150 UK businesses, as part of a global study from Fujitsu. It found, on average, £483,690 was lost for every cancelled digital project

Despite the fact that 41% have already completed some digital projects and 79% are prepared to change their business models to ensure they keep up with customer demands, the high cost of failure is putting 69% of organisations off further digital transformation.

This is a concern, with the report finding that 71% of UK businesses believe they are already behind the competition in delivering digital services.

“UK businesses know how powerful technology can be and want to use digital to deliver for customers and keep ahead of the competition,” said ‎Ravi Krishnamoorthi, head of business consulting, digital and application services at Fujitsu.

“However, digital transformation is about much more than the technology alone. We’re living in a time when digital disruption can change the business landscape virtually overnight, so UK organisations must ensure that they can transform successfully and secure their place in the global landscape.”

Read more about digital skills shortage

A lack of the right skills is a major problem, with three-quarters (73%) of respondents lacking digital skills in their organisation. To this end, 87% of UK companies said that attracting “digital natives” to work for them was vital.

The lack of skills is clear if artificial intelligence (AI) technology is considered. According to the study, AI is vital to the financial and operational success for 56% and 53% of the businesses respectively. But 67% are concerned about their ability to adopt technology such as artificial intelligence.

According to job adverts on Indeed, since 2014, demand for the software developers and machine learning engineers who create AI software has increased five times over – by 485% – in the UK, and today there are 2.3 jobs for every qualified candidate in the UK.

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Abandoning unsuccessful digital projects will not only impact revenue, brand reputation and business evolution, it will halt growth, innovation and talent acquisition. But how can companies address and align important digital investments when new disruptive innovations are perceived as a low priority on the executive agenda?

By investing in customer-centric, cloud-based technologies, businesses can gain the agility and flexibility they need to deliver the right digital projects that show green shoots of revenue gain or saving at speed to bring real benefits to the customer. As AI and robotics move from being an unrealistic expectation to a business reality, IT departments should be aligning people on strategic areas of business value and on new Industry and technology trends rather than chasing outdated digital projects that will never see the light of day. 94% of Executives in a recent Accenture survey stated that adopting platform-based business models and engaging in ecosystems with digital partners were critical to business success, so an integrated platform approach could be the difference between completing a successful digital transformation project and letting it die a slow death.

Richard Farnworth, Country Manager UK & Nordics, Axway