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Digital transformation requires organisation-wide change

Out-Law News | 24 Nov 2021 | 2:11 pm | 1 min. read

Businesses embarking on digital transformation projects need to consider what organisational changes they will require to get the full benefits from new technologies, an expert has said.

Simon Colvin, a specialist in technology contracts at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, was commenting after a recent survey carried out on behalf of BT found that 55% of major corporates and 44% of large businesses in the UK said digital transformation forms part of their technology strategy.

Colvin Simon

Simon Colvin

Partner, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms

True digital transformation involves harnessing the power of data and technology and this in turn requires the underlying processes and culture within an organisation to be right

BT’s The Future in 2021 report found that artificial intelligence (AI) systems are already being used by 38% of major corporates – those with more than 1,000 employees; and 29% of large businesses – those with more than 250 employees. It also identified rising demand for using 5G technology and further highlighted the recognition many business leaders have of how emerging technologies like AI, 5G and augmented and virtual reality can help companies reach their goals – from increased revenues to improved productivity and better customer experience.

The BT report was based on a survey of 1,217 business leaders from companies across the UK. BT said that while many organisations had been focused on surviving the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in recent months, there is now an opportunity for companies that invested in “technologies, tools and solutions that support flexible and hybrid working” to build on that investment and “put new and emerging technologies at the centre of their future strategies”.

According to BT, 81% of businesses have at least a little or somewhat planned technology investment strategy for the next five years.

“It is not surprising that businesses are looking to digital technologies to deliver improvements in efficiency, performance and customer service, and ultimately obtain a competitive advantage – technology has become ubiquitous and organisations that fail to embrace it risk falling behind,” said Colvin. “That said, technology in and of itself is not a silver bullet. True digital transformation involves harnessing the power of data and technology and this in turn requires the underlying processes and culture within an organisation to be right.”

Colvin also said that it was unsurprising that many respondents to the BT survey identified skills gaps across a range of technology capabilities to be a major challenge over the next five years.

“Businesses need to accept that transformation requires major business change,” Colvin said. “As the BT survey shows, businesses may need to address a series of challenges to deliver projects successfully, from overcoming resistance to change, a lack of skills and cyber risk, for example. Delivering digital transformation projects successfully is therefore not something that the IT team can do alone. Businesses should review what organisational changes they need to make to optimise the new technology they are investing in.