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UK manufacturers spend an average of £419,000 on failed digital projects

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New report shows

Fear of failure is holding back the implementation of digital projects, with over half of manufacturers put off by the cost of failed or cancelled projects. After a fifth admit to failed projects in the last two years, 66% reveal that fear of failure is now a serious hindrance to their organisation undertaking digital transformation, according to a new report by Fujistsu.

This begs the question – where are they going wrong? Fujitsu’s study of manufacturers in the UK suggests the causes are four-fold. From a people perspective, 67% have cited a clear lack of digital skills in their organisation. A further 66% highlight a lack of strategic purpose behind such projects, and when it comes to collaboration, a third admitted they would not be willing to share sensitive information with a partner even as part of a co-creation project. These factors are compounded by the fact that 65% are worried about their organisation’s ability to adapt to digital technologies like artificial intelligence.

But this isn’t to say that manufacturers don’t realise that digital transformation should be a top priority. A massive 81% said their customers expect them to be more digital, making overcoming these hurdles evermore critical.

“While the UK manufacturing sector is going from strength to strength, leaders need to overcome the barriers to successful digital projects in order to continue to thrive in an era of digital disruption. Digital offers the opportunity for manufacturers to adapt their business models, enhance their value, establish new services and move into the era of servitisation. To meet customer expectations – let alone the threat of competition – they must overcome their hang-ups from past projects and put their energies into making that investment a success” says Graeme Wright, CTO Manufacturing & Utilities, Fujitsu UK & Ireland.

Realising a digital vision is not just about having the right technology. In order to successfully digitally transform, this research highlights four strategic elements businesses must focus on: People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology – the Digital PACT.

1. People

Despite admitting to a problematic skills gap and fear of technological change, manufacturers recognise the role of people in digital success and are taking steps to increase skills across generations. At the same time as targeting ‘digitally native’ staff (88%), manufacturers are also upskilling existing employees through training programmes (62%).

2. Actions

A third of manufacturers agree that having the right processes, attitudes and behaviours within the organisation are important to ensure digital projects are successful. That’s why a massive 86% are taking measures to support collaboration within the organisation, and 45% are in the process of creating networks to share expertise across the business.

3. Collaboration

Although collaboration was seen as the least important of the four key elements of digital transformation, businesses understand the benefits of working with experts. While 51% seek consultancy and training from external partners, 68% are going as far as to co-create with technology partners.

4. Technology

Many organisations are starting to leverage new technology which will radically change the way they do business. A fifth of manufacturers believe implementing technology will be the most important factor to realising their digital strategy, and for 94% big data and analytics will be key.

Wright continues: “Realising a digital vision is not just about having the right technology or more people. Our research found that in order to successfully digitally transform, businesses must focus on four strategic elements: People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology. Achieving that balance has never been more important, and manufacturers need to work with partners who can deliver that and who will enable them to transform and thrive in the age of digital.”




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