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More UK companies should be worried about digital disruption, says Dell VP

The Dell Digital Transformation Index shows companies in the UK are moving in the right direction but several barriers are stopping small to medium-sized companies from implementing their digital strategies

Only 22% of UK companies are worried about the consequences of not keeping pace with digital developments in their industry, according to the latest Dell Digital Transformation Index.

But these organisations have been accused by a senior executive at IT giant Dell Technologies as having their “head in the sand” and over-optimistic about the market.

The report, compiled by IT company Dell Technologies, followed interviews with 150 directors and executives at small to medium-sized businesses about their experience with digital transformation, and provides an update on a previous Dell Digital Transformation Index released in 2016.

Speaking at the annual Dell UK Forum yesterday (21 November), Dayne Turbitt, senior vice president of Dell EMC UK and Ireland, said: “Digital transformation has become quite a buzzword.

“We wanted to look at how far down the line companies are with adopting digital in their organisations and changing their business models.”

 

Results of the Dell Digital Transformation Index

There was a positive shift in the number of companies that described themselves as “digital laggards” – companies that do not have a digital plan – which reduced from 20% to 3% between 2016 and 2018.

Meanwhile, the number of organisations classified as “digital adopters” also grew from 11% to 22%, while those defined as “digital leaders” – where digital transformation is ingrained in the DNA of the business – remained roughly constant at 5%.

Dayne Turbitt, senior vice president of Dell EMC UK and Ireland, speaking at the announcement of the Dell Digital Transformation Index
Dayne Turbitt, senior vice president of Dell EMC UK and Ireland, speaking at the announcement of the Dell Digital Transformation Index

Despite positive signs, only 22% of respondents said they were worried about digital disruption or felt threatened by digital disruptors.

Mr Turbitt believes the figure shows an overconfidence in the UK market and thought more companies should be looking to take advantage of the “digital revolution”.

He said: “Some of the UK businesses have their head in the sand and think things will continue the way that they were.

“I think there has been a shift with the closure of retail stores and there is a big shift to digitisation as well as the emerging retailers.

“In fintech, there is a lot of regulation that protects the banks so its harder to threaten them.

“But I think more should be concerned with how they address this.

“There’s no doubt that if you don’t adopt digital as part of your value creation, you are going to be out of business in some way.”

 

Barriers to digital transformation

The majority of businesses felt they face major impediments to digital transformation, with 91% admitting they were struggling to implement some of the new digital strategies.

A further 71% believe digital transformation should be more widespread in their companies.

The top barriers preventing digital transformation were listed as a lack of budget and resources, data privacy and cybersecurity concerns, a lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise, regulation or legislative changes and information overload.

Claire Vyvyan, senior vice-president for UK and Ireland commercial at data storage subsidiary Dell EMC, said: “It’s an exciting time for UK businesses as we hit a crucial intersection – where technology, business and mankind meet to create a better, more connected world.”

“However, only technology-centred organisations will reap the rewards offered by a digital business model, including the ability to move quickly, to automate everything and to delight customers.

“This is why digital transformation needs to be a number one priority.”