Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Large UK Companies Cite Tech Skills Shortage And Legacy IT Systems As Key Factors Delaying Digital Transformation: UST Survey

* Four in 10 large UK companies consider building resiliency, boosting profitability, and improving sustainability as key benefits of digital transformation

* Nearly half (45%) believe the government should provide more incentives for businesses to invest in R&D

New research commissioned by UST, a leading digital transformation solutions company, finds a third of large UK companies cite a lack of technical skills in-house (33%) and too many legacy IT systems in place (33%) as key factors delaying digital transformation. Another key factor raised by nearly a third of respondents was concern amongst their workforce about automation taking away jobs (31%).

While UK digital spending is projected to increase 5.2% year-over-year in 2023, the findings show UK businesses are unable to fully take advantage of technology advancements. The research surveyed 200 senior decision makers in large UK companies with an average turnover of over £9 billion.

Other key findings include:

Adopting the right technologies can help organisations build resiliency, reduce operating costs, and improve sustainability: In terms of the immediate benefits of investing in digital transformation, respondents rated building resilience to cope with future disruption highest (41%), followed by lowering of costs and increasing profitability (40%) and improving sustainability (39%).

Cloud computing is perceived as the most important technology for successful digital transformation: Large UK companies rated cloud computing (75%), artificial intelligence and machine learning (67%), augmented reality and Web 3.0 (58%) and robotics (54%) as crucial or very important technologies driving their digital transformation strategies.

The UK government has a crucial role to play in fostering innovation: Nearly half of respondents said the government should provide more incentives for businesses to invest in R&D (45%), support more STEM programmes in schools and higher education (44%) and support innovation hubs outside of current hotspots (40%). Respondents (40%) also said greater collaboration between public, private and educational sectors could help foster innovation.

In order to narrow the technical skills gap, attracting more diverse STEM candidates has become an increasing priority: More than half (53%) say they are partnering with schools and/or higher education to show what types of careers are available. Nearly half are advertising job vacancies in a wider range of places (49%), offering internships or summer placements (48%) and running apprenticeship programmes (42%).

“Our research highlights the need for companies to continue investing in digital transformation efforts; this will help build resilience and reduce costs over the long term. Investing in technology capabilities is also vital for improving sustainability which is particularly important given the pressure many companies are under to meet net zero targets.

In order to overcome the technical skills gap, the private sector must increase collaboration with the government and educational institutions to increase uptake in STEM subjects and digital upskilling. At UST, we are proud to work closely with schools and universities not just in the UK but across the world to develop and upskill the next generation of tech talent,” said Praveen Prabhakaran, Chief Delivery Officer and UK Managing Director, UST.

"For more than two decades, UST has been a trusted transformation partner for Global 2000 companies, engineering human-centered experiences and solutions. We understand that to thrive, our clients and their customers require an evolutionary approach to the ever-changing marketplace. This is why we established UST Evolve. We comprehend the intricacies of enterprise systems and the need for innovation to maintain competitiveness. We are a dedicated group of creative technologists, visionary strategists, and design thinkers who employ a fresh, simple, and nimble approach to transformation. By combining the technological and engineering prowess of UST with domain expertise that surpasses conventional transformation measures, we aim to generate tangible business impact for our clients," said Christopher Loughlin, Global Head of Transformation at UST.

UST Evolve, UST’s focused transformation group, co-creates creative solutions with clients that blend equal parts empathy, tenacity, and innovative technology. Together, we engineer and architect swift and sustainable transformation that helps our clients evolve, embedding innovation, agility, and resilience into the very foundation of their organization.

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