Digital transformation: What’s holding it back?


Technology has never been as influential in our everyday lives as it is at this very moment. As it continues to play a key role in our day-to-day lives, it’s also become an integral part of many UK business strategies. It utilises tools to become more efficient, as well as proving to be a cost effective adoption. According to a report by Grand View Research, the digital transformation market is expected to be worth $146.63 billion by 2030.


Despite the various benefits a future with digital transformation holds, businesses are yet to fully take advantage and prepare for a digitally-focused future. Research has revealed that four in five UK companies feel they are in no position to scale future digital transformation plans due to various reasons.


What’s holding back digital transformation?


As the majority of UK businesses (98%) consider digital transformation to be an important part of their future strategy, the technology is there to assist them. Technologies such as cloud platforms and artificial intelligence have aided businesses in recent years – emerging as popular digital solutions. Such technologies have seen applications produced, including chatbots, which are likely to cut business costs and boosting efficiency. However, they’re not being implemented as much by UK companies.


A lack of investment has also been a factor in the lack of digital transformation activity. 80% of UK firms that have experienced success, have invested 20% or more of digital transformation budget to connectivity or networking.


Is the skills shortage a problem?


The digital skills gap has been highlighted as a major issue for leaders to tackle; ensuring their workforces are equipped to adapt to a digital future. According to Lyall Creswell, founder & CEO of Transport Exchange Group, the skills shortage is a key factor.


“One of the biggest issues in our sector is a skills shortage – most courier and haulage businesses don’t have dedicated IT resource to map out a proper digital transformation strategy and implement the right tech. Sometimes, there’s also a reluctance to fully support digitalisation. But there’s been a sharp contrast around the acceptance of digital workflow pre and during the pandemic.”


Are leaders on board with the change?


Business leaders spearhead the transformation, and unless everyone is on board with implementing digital transformation plans successfully, businesses will struggle with the intended transition.


Pete Hanlon, CTO at Moneypenny, said: “It’s easy to be consumed by the day to day work and put off large projects like digital transformation until next year. It’s also easy to think that it’s just a technology project rather than business change. Without the right level of focus and buy-in from across all areas of the business, digital transformation will never happen.”


Digital transformation is on the rise, however, companies who are struggling to keep pace must overcome some hurdles in order to see their transformation plans take place due to a lack of IT skills and investment. Many sectors are in need of digital transformation and niche technologies, which can make a huge difference to their operations.