New researched published today at the Dell Technologies Forum in Dublin has shown the vital role that employees play in driving digital transformation projects for business in Ireland. The survey of 200 business and IT leaders in Ireland reveals 74% of Irish respondents regard their people as their greatest asset in unlocking the potential of technology.
After two years of accelerated digital transformation, half of IT leaders in Ireland say their organisation knows what it takes to digitally transform a workforce, but after such rapid change, many employees are now facing a challenge to keep up the pace. What’s more, eight in ten (80%) believe their organisations underestimate how to engage with their people properly when planning transformation programmes.
The results undertaken by Vanson Bourne for Dell Technologies highlight how the recent period of rapid transformation is leaving businesses and their workforce in need of time to recharge, reflect and refine before embarking on new or iterating on projects. Despite the huge progress and efforts of the past few years, the research highlights how there is still a potential for transformation to stall as 59% of respondents believe it is their people’s resistance to change can lead to failure. While nearly half (49%) say they are still worried that they may be left behind due to a lack of senior vision/authority to now capitalise on the opportunity in front of them.
Commenting on the results of the study, Jason Ward, Vice-President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies Ireland, said: “While businesses need breakthrough technologies to transform, harnessing the potential of that technology relies on an engaged and innovative workforce. The results of our Breakthrough study unveiled at today’s Dell Technologies Forum demonstrate this very fact.
“We’ve all seen how employees working remotely and now in a hybrid format have been crucial in driving businesses’ momentum in the progress towards digital transformation. This momentum might be lost if organisations fail to recognise their people’s drive for change and to build on the progress made.
“That’s why it is vital that businesses should take a three-pronged approach. First, provide employees with consistent and safe work experiences, not defined by where they work. Second, help boost productivity by augmenting human capabilities with technology tools that allow employees to focus on what they do best. Lastly, inspiring employees through an empathic culture and authentic leadership. By enabling a people-first approach, Irish businesses can add immeasurable value to their operations and empower innovators across their workforce.”
Irish businesses performed tremendous feats to connect, collaborate and conduct business online during the pandemic, with the trend continuing as testified by half of the responders (49%) who believe they’ll be more productive when working and collaborating remotely. But they’re not finished.
Despite working remotely these last two years, 60% of all respondents are not yet experiencing a better work-life balance. As a result, over half of business leaders (52%) believe their staff are wrestling with burnout and/or poor mental health that’s impacting their work.
Over half (55%) of respondents say they need their organisations to provide the necessary tools and infrastructure to work anywhere (along with the autonomy to choose their preferred working pattern). In fact, they worry their people might be left behind because they don’t have the right technology to shift to a highly distributed model (where work and compute are not tied to a central place but occur everywhere).
The technology alone isn’t sufficient. Businesses also need to make work equitable for people with different needs, interests, and responsibilities, including the 78% of respondents that would like their organisation to do any of the following:
Clearly define their ongoing commitment to flexible work arrangements and the practicalities of making it work
Equip leaders to effectively and equitably manage remote teams
Empower employees to choose their preferred working pattern and provide the necessary tools/infrastructure
People’s time is limited and there are now too few qualified candidates for open roles. To address these strains, businesses can delegate repetitive tasks to automated processes and free-up people to focus on enriching, higher-value work.
At present, 47% say their work is stimulating and not repetitive. With the opportunity to automate more repetitive tasks, 67% would look forward to learning new, sought-after skills and technologies, like leadership skills, courses in machine learning, or focusing on more strategic opportunities to elevate their role.
However, businesses with limited budgets are concerned they won’t be able to advance their workforce and compete. Approximately half (43%) of respondents fear they’ll be shut out of the highly distributed world because they don’t have the funds to invest in the right technology – this is when an as-a-Service model becomes a favourable option for many businesses.
At their heart, businesses must build a culture, modelled by empathetic leaders, that treats people as their greatest source of creativity and value.
The research shows there is still work to do and empathy has to inform decision making, from simplifying technology for nearly half (48%) of those who often feel overwhelmed by complex technologies, to tailoring change programs to individuals’ skills (27%) of employees believe their leaders do this.
The research has been the focus of the Dell Technologies Forum in Dublin. The event, which took place at the Convention Centre today, gathered business leaders across Ireland with the aim of helping organisations harness new technologies to unlock new possibilities for growth. Wylie, Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower and Aongus Hegarty, President of International Markets at Dell Technologies were amongst the speakers at the Dell Technologies Forum.
For more information, visit www.dell.com/breakthrough and read our research report.