Consumers look to business for tech leadership

Tony O'Malley, CEO Fujitsu Ireland

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12 April 2018 | 0

Business leaders in Irish organisations are far more convinced of the positive effects of technological change than consumers, according to a new report from Fujitsu.

The “Technology in a Transforming Ireland” report had iReach poll almost a thousand senior business decision makers across public and private sectors, and more than 500 consumers in November of 2017 for Fujitsu.

Almost three quarters (73%) of business leaders say that technology is driving positive change in their business, and more than half (52%) say that innovation and the ability to drive change is crucial to their business’ future. Nearly two thirds (59%) said that technology will enable them to overcome many of the socioeconomic issues they are currently facing.

This contrasts with consumer perception, where almost half (46%) feel that changes occurring in Irish society as a result of technology and the impact of these changes on the Irish economy are negative, whereas this was expressed by less than a quarter (23%) of business leaders.

Technology benefits
Of the benefits of technology for business, improved operational efficiency was cited by more than half (51%), followed by new technologies is contributing to cost savings (46%) and more productive employees (40%).

A key insight of the study, pointed out by Fujitsu Ireland CEO Tony O’Malley, was the evolving role of technology companies in Irish society. Some 38% of business leaders felt that as a company leader they feel responsible for helping society through the ongoing changes facing the country, with 43% acknowledging that they should be doing more to drive innovations in Ireland.

“What the survey is also showing is that consumers are expecting business to show that level of leadership, and they are seeking it from business rather than government, which is an interesting statistic,” said O’Malley to TechPro.

“The companies they think are going to have the biggest influence on them going forward, are the ones that have the biggest presence in people’s lives from a social perspective, the ones that are holding the most of amount of data; the Amazons, the Googles etc.”

This means that government and business have a job to do to ensure that services are secure, providing proper protections for people’s information.

Technology anxiety
O’Malley observed that taking into account some of the concerns, while people are broadly positive about the effect that technology has, it still leaves more than 40% that still have anxiety around the social aspects of technological change. Also, he said despite people using these technologies quite a bit in their daily lives, 29% are happy to share data with government and with private companies, but 47% are not. Business leaders can address this by reassuring consumers of their right to protection and demonstrating good practice in governance and making processes transparent.

Business leaders appear to be more assured of this than consumers, as 49% of business leaders stated that technology will enable them to overcome many of the socioeconomic issues they are facing today and that the ability to drive change and innovation in Ireland is crucial to their organisations future (52%).

O’Malley said that the upcoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will likely have a direct impact on people’s attitude to how their data is handled, and that will have a knock-on effect for employers, as expectations will be set in other areas.

Keeping up
That is not say that business leaders do not have concerns around technology and its ability to help them innovate and meet challenges. A full third (33%) have expressed concerns in keeping up with the latest technologies.

Of the key technologies are that being embraced, the ones of note were cloud computing by more than a third (35%), automation by 17%, virtual reality (VR) by 6% and even robotics by 7%.

“The majority of Irish businesses recognise that embracing technology will enable them to address changing business and consumer needs. We are working with customers around the world to create innovative solutions that drive digital success across all sectors — from creating next-generation retail experiences to advancing the quality of medical care. The key is combining our transformation and technology expertise with the knowledge and needs of our customers and partners,” said O’Malley.

 

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