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Deloitte reveals businesses' digital investment plans

Dec 13
Tags: Deloitte
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Deloitte reveals businesses' digital investment...

Deloitte has provided an insight into where management consultants can expect businesses to focus their technology investments over the coming years.

In the first edition of the Digital Disruption Index, a new regular report, Deloitte surveyed 51 organisations with a combined market value of £229 billion. It found that more than half of respondents anticipate that, by 2020, they will invest more than £10 million in digital technologies and ways of working, such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality.

A substantial majority (85 per cent) of executives were planning to invest in AI and the IoT in particular, while 73 per cent were set to get behind robotics. Other leading investment targets include augmented and virtual reality (63 per cent), wearables (62 per cent) and biometric technologies such as voice and fingerprint recognition (54 per cent).

Of the various technologies included in the study, AI was singled out as the one most likely to have an impact on businesses in the future.

Despite this expectation, less than a quarter (22 per cent) of businesses said they had already invested in AI. Of those that had made a financial commitment in this area, only a third expected to spend more than £1 million this year.

This suggests that most AI projects are still at the pilot stage and have not yet reached large-scale deployment.

Focusing on trends in 2017 alone, the report found that nearly a third (30 per cent) of UK organisations will have invested more than £10 million in new digital tech and innovations this year.

While this sounds like a substantial figure, Deloitte noted that, in the context of typical corporate IT budgets, it is a relatively modest investment. Most IT functions have annual budgets of more than £20 million, while a quarter of corporate IT departments spend more than £75 million every year, according to the firm's November 2016 CIO survey.

Paul Thompson, UK digital transformation leader at Deloitte, said there is a lot of scope for British businesses to expand and improve in the technology space.

"The first edition of the index shows that few UK businesses are successfully exploiting digital technologies and ways of working," he commented. "Strategies are not coherent, investment levels are modest and the relevant skills are in short supply. As a result, the UK isn't living up to its digital potential."

The digital skills challenge

Skills shortages have become a significant problem for many UK businesses, particularly where technological growth and digital innovation are concerned.

The Deloitte research provided further evidence of this, with only one in five executives (20 per cent) feeling confident that there are enough school leavers and graduates entering the labour market with the digital skills and experience companies need.

Three-quarters of respondents said they face challenges in acquiring the right digital capabilities.

Data scientists and analysts were identified as the most important roles for a successful digital strategy, but also the most difficult positions to fill.

These findings chime with a recent survey by PwC, which found that two out of three UK workers admit to lacking confidence in their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills.

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Image: spainter_vfx via iStock

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