The importance of embracing digital to deliver fundamentally new approaches to business and service delivery was the key message at a ‘Digital Everything’ event held at the Ramada Plaza in Belfast, which explored the opportunities and challenges faced by organisations in a digital world.
Hosted by the Belfast Branch of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, and Fujitsu, the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company which offers a range of technology products, solutions and services to clients across Northern Ireland, the event was attended by over 50 local organisations from across the private and public sectors. Attendees discussed a range of issues including what exactly is meant by digital, what customers and employees really think of digital services and how organisations here need to prepare for a digital future.
Delegates heard from the Ulster University’s Professor Mark Durkin on the role of marketing in a digital age and David Rosewell, Head of Mobile and Digital at Fujitsu who shared key findings from a recent comprehensive UK wide research report carried out by Fujitsu, Digital Inside Out - the only UK wide study to examine digital from every angle.
Speaking about the report and it’s relevance to businesses in Northern Ireland, David Rosewell, Fujitsu, said:
“The ‘Digital Inside Out’ Report shows that over a fifth of us will always opt for a digital-first approach, when a digital service is offered, with 84% saying they would always or sometimes use digital services when they are offered. Driven by a desire to speed up (66%) and simplify (62%) everyday processes, the results show a digitally confident nation, one that is seeking to move faster towards a digital future. With this trend we are rapidly heading towards a ‘digital first’ nation and organisations in Northern Ireland which grasp this can gain competitive advantage.
“As for the sectors doing the best job of providing digital services to their customers, our research highlights two distinct leaders: Retail and Financial Services. Online banking is the most used digital service (67%), with online shopping coming in a close second (66%), with both considered the joint most valued digital services in the UK (63%).
“Whilst there is much positivity in the report, there is also plenty of room for improvement, with some sectors clearly having a lot to do – not least in providing greater integration between different online/offline channels and between front office/back office processes.
“The report highlighted that many organisations need to work harder to become digital from the inside out. This means ensuring employees have at least the same digital capability in doing their job as their customers have, enabling better customer service.
“Our clear message to organisations in Northern Ireland is that digital is not just a channel, instead embracing digital from the inside out enables fundamentally new approaches to business which will ensure you excel in a digital world.”
Speaking about the event and promoting the wider social and economic impacts of a digital future, Bill McCluggage, Chair of the Belfast Branch of the BCS said:
“’The Digital Everything’ event illustrates that organisations and the professionals they employ here in Northern Ireland have the appetite to learn more about what it means to be digital and how it impacts on both the social and economic wellbeing of our region. They want to know how they can take advantage of digital technology to improve their businesses and deliver services. Customers and service consumers are becoming more adept at interacting with new digital products and services. So what is important for businesses is that they get ahead of the curve and embed digital into their everyday. Our ‘Digital Everything’ speakers - Ulster University’s Professor Mark Durkin and Fujitsu’s David Rosewell – emphasised a key success factor for businesses here will be to embrace the Internet of Things in order to achieve greater value and service through exchanging data in a responsible and appropriate way. We hope that more NI companies and organisations embrace the digital world and are confident that if they do we will reap both the economic and social benefit of doing so.”