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Digitalization

Unlocking the potential

Digitalization Survey Ireland 2017

Introduction

Introduction

Digitalization is fundamentally changing our working environment and society. Billions of intelligent devices and machines generate massive amounts of data, creating a bridge between real and virtual worlds. Turning these vast amounts of data into value is a real source of competitive advantage for both businesses and economies. However,the level of preparedness for this change varies widely from country to country.

Dublin

Against this backdrop, Siemens has been conducting surveys among companies in several countries, including Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Portugal – and now also in Ireland, where the company conducted phone interviews with 135 Irish business leaders between July and August 2017. The questions were not only about what digitalization means to them, but also how far the companies had already become digitalized, where do the respondents see potential, where barriers, and what are their current plans for digitalization.

 

In general, many companies in Ireland still have room to grow when it comes to implementing an holistic digitalization strategy and should therefore seize its potential in order to improve their internal processes, productivity and cooperation with suppliers and customers. Also, to be more aware of digitalization options than C-level-managers. And while international companies in Ireland are often more advanced in terms of digitalization, they do see their achievements in this area more critically.

 

Siemens is, of course, perfectly positioned to help customers grow their businesses digitally. Today, 17,500 Siemens employees are software developers (out of 351,000 workers worldwide), who develop a wide range of industry-specific IT and software solutions, including Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) software, systems and services with more than 140,000 customers worldwide.

Executive Summary and Key Results

Executive Summary and Key Results

Connection icon Siemens

01

A comprehensive survey on digitalization in Ireland.

Survey participants comprised a sample of 135 decision-makers from companies representing 18 industrial sectors in Ireland. Participants were asked who was responsible for digital strategy at their company, what challenges the company was facing in the area of digitalization and what requirements they anticipated for the future.

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02

Digital strategies: Foundations laid but still more to do.

43% of the companies surveyed have defined digital strategies for portions of their business, but less than one third has such a strategy for the company as a whole. A further 29% have no strategy at all. Only about one quarter have already conducted an economic feasibility study or an analysis of workflows with a digital focus. Moreover, nearly half of respondents could not identify any specific Digitalization project on their immediate time horizon.

Icon Tablet Siemens

03

Digitalization is primarily viewed as a vehicle for improving everyday operations. New business models a lesser priority.

Participants from large companies as well as those from small and medium-sized companies have similar views: all saw digitalization primarily as entailing automation, data management, the transition from analog to digital processes and the creation of networks. They expected these developments to result, above all, in enhanced quality, better decision making and improved service and resource efficiency.

Icon Human Computer Interaction

04

Barriers to digital development: Costs and expertise.

Financing issues regarding access to relevant data or financing technologies as well as not enough know-how and experience are the biggest company-specific barriers. The cost factor relates firstly to the cost of collecting the right data needed to make decisions about digitalization projects and secondly the costs for software licenses and updates. The other factor is the lack of expertise among the workforce, especially when it comes to specializations such as data analytics or prototyping. For many surveyed, the most important point to be addressed when driving digitalization was employee involvement and training / continuing education.

Icon Digital Process

05

Responsibility for digitalization is usually centrally anchored.

For more than half of those customers surveyed, the responsibility for decisions relating to digital strategy was centralized. Responsibility did not necessarily lie with the CIO or CTO. Digitalization was usually a “tone-from-the-top” topic, with senior management or the Board usually being responsible for digitalization issues.

 

Who participated?

Surveyed: A cross section of Irish industry

Siemens conducted the survey through phone conversations with 135 organisations in July and August 2017 using a predefined questionnaire.

Small and medium-sized enterprises represent nearly three-quarters of respondents, with large enterprises of more than 500 employees accounting for the remaining 27%. Nearly two-thirds of respondents are involved in operational implementation of the company strategy, especially in engineering; 19% work in top management and 17% in middle management.

Survey Insights

The potential of digitalization
Driving implementation
Greatest barriers and challenges
The potential of digitalization
Expectation: digitalization will have positive impact on all areas of business.
What do you expect from digitalization?
(N=135 persons surveyed)
Large amount of effort / money required to access the most important data
0%
Operating costs(licenses and software updates)
0%
Not enough know-how for conceptual planning and / or implementation
0%
Financing of technologies / software
0%
Not enough experience with analysis of large amounts of data
0%
Difficulties of integrating new technologies / software (complex tool landscape)
0%
Costs for further education / training
0%
Company structure / culture
0%
Unclear benefits (lack of an economic feasibility study, etc.)
0%
Fear of data theft
0%
No clear business model
0%
Inflexible, heterogeneous IT standards
0%
Lack of, or insufficient availability of, offerings enabling qualification
0%
Driving implementation
What would you have to do or what would you need to have in order to be able to drive implementation further?
(N=135 persons surveyed, multiple answers possible)
Better understanding of methods for analyzing and adapting processes
0%
Integration and / or further training of employees
0%
Enabling comparability of available data
0%
Anchoring of digitalization as a process: analyzing, planning, controlling and verifying
0%
Economic feasibility study and / or improved cost transparency
0%
Assessment of successes / failures so far
0%
Greater embedding of digitalization into the corporate strategy
0%
Greater knowledge of future market requirements and of trend forecasts
0%
Improved data security
0%
Greatest barriers and challenges
Challenges: expertise, costs, laws. What holds you back from making even greater use of digital technologies and processes at your company?
(N=135 persons surveyed, multiple answers possible)
Large amount of effort / money required to access the most important data
0%
Operating costs(licenses and software updates)
0%
Not enough know-how for conceptual planning and / or implementation
0%
Financing of technologies / software
0%
Not enough experience with analysis of large amounts of data
0%
Difficulties of integrating new technologies / software (complex tool landscape)
0%
Costs for further education / training
0%
Company structure / culture
0%
Unclear benefits (lack of an economic feasibility study, etc.)
0%
Fear of data theft
0%
No clear business model
0%
Inflexible, heterogeneous IT standards
0%
Lack of, or insufficient availability of, offerings enabling qualification
0%
No support from top management
0%

Further Publications

Digitalization Surveys around the World

Siemens has conducted customer surveys on digitalization in several countries.

Download

Download Digitalization Survey

Download the full survey here!