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For the majority of firms, digital investment success is a gamble

The majority of businesses in the UK have close to no idea what they’re doing when it comes to digitizing their business, a new study commissioned by Fujitsu has shown.

According to the study, 71 per cent of businesses consider the success of a digital project a gamble. A quarter of IT decision-makers are confident when it comes to advising the business on digital, while 59 per cent say it’s hard to make the right choice. Furthermore, 62 per cent are saying they’re always catching up to someone else.

To make things worse, the UK is lagging behind Germany, Spain and Sweden here – 41 per cent of businesses believe their organisation is not a digital leader.

Businesses see clearly the benefits of going digital – increased productivity, market responsiveness, new revenue opportunities, those are all things businesses notice. However, 32 per cent say their digital strategy is unclear, while 16 per cent say it’s aligned on digital priorities.

A quarter is saying the main barrier is a “failure to prioritise digital projects”.

The main reasons behind such a state are lack of ownership in UK businesses, and the lack of clarity in IT investment. Many businesses said they were unsure who manages digital projects, and when it comes to budgeting – more is given for day-to-day IT activities.

Legacy IT also seems to be a problem here – 32 per cent of IT decision makers said “Existing technology solutions hindering innovation” was the main obstacle to successful project implementation.

“Across Europe, this study highlights a lack of direction and business alignment. But the findings coming from the UK were especially worrying. While we know digital brings many benefits, we are the least confident in our digital decision making and the least aligned in priorities,” commented Regina Moran, CEO of UK & Ireland, Fujitsu. “The UK is seen as a digital leader; we have a government which invests in the sector and a burgeoning digital economy – 15 per cent of all new companies formed in 2013-14 were digital. Digital Transformation has also been highlighted as key to addressing the productivity gap. But this study shows there is a big job to do in helping organisations, and the IT decision-makers within them, realise this potential.”