By Aisling Keegan, Vice-President and General Manager, Dell EMC Ireland

Over the past two decades, technological innovations have brought significant change for organisations throughout Ireland. Through the development of the internet, the explosion in the number of mobile devices, and the emergence of the sharing economy, technology is now central to all our lives – from how we share information, access services and interact with others.

And that change is accelerating. We are on the verge of a new era of digital transformation. Emerging technologies ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) Augmented Reality (AR), cloud computing and robotics, to machine learning will revolutionise how we work, live, play, and learn.

By 2030, there will be 100 billion connected devices in the world. These machines, fuelled by the explosive growth in data, processing power and connectivity will open up new possibilities, beyond our grasp even today.

Not surprisingly, virtually every business, in every sector will feel the effects of this new digital era, whether from their own initiatives or due to pressure from competitors.

Given the transformational period before us and the risk to businesses in Ireland of falling behind, Dell Technologies recently surveyed 3,800 business leaders from around the globe to gauge their predictions and preparedness for the future.

As it turns out, leaders agree we’re on the verge of immense change. In fact, 82% believe humans and machines will work increasingly together as an interwoven team inside the next five years.

However, they’re divided by what this shift will mean for their business. For instance, while 59% of leaders forecast their team will be more productive through enhanced collaboration, 51% believe otherwise. This division makes it difficult for industry leaders to prepare for a future that’s in flux.

Whilst consumers are using technology on a daily basis and have easily embraced change, businesses are struggling with the pace of change.

93% of business leaders are facing barriers to becoming a successful digital business in 2030 and beyond. From my interaction with organisations in Ireland and from our findings, the number one challenge faced is the development of a digital vision and strategy.

Combined with a persistent skills gap, lack of employee buy-in and a workforce culture that’s resistant to change, many businesses are at serious risk of being left behind by disruptive business models that fearlessly embrace technology and provide an enhanced customer experience.

Despite these challenges, not only has a strong consensus has emerged amongst leaders on the need for digital transformation, a large majority are optimistic about being able to make it happen. In fact, 90% of organisations believe they’ll meet their goals of harnessing technology to deliver transformative products and services within the next five years.

So how can businesses and organisations in Ireland collectively overcome the seemingly high barriers ahead of them and embrace change?

At Dell Technologies, we believe IT transformation is the key foundation stone helping organisations realize their digital vision. By moving to hyper-converged infrastructure and embracing a hybrid cloud strategy, businesses will be able to support more data by a thousand times more users.

This should be supported by a strong emphasis on workforce transformation, so employees have the flexibility to work how and where they need. Moreover, with the emergence of interconnected systems and workforce, security transformation should be an imperative for all.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to take, digital disruption must become a boardroom discussion if today’s businesses want to play a defining role in the future. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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