Irish companies see their path to digital maturity stall

01 April 2021 3 min. read
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Ireland’s businesses have seen their digital maturity surpassed by competitors from equivalent economies across Europe. The analysis of seven nations across the continent found that the Netherlands lead the way – as firms across Europe have embraced new ways of working as consumer expectations for effective digital delivery have increased.

Digital disruption had already been a trend which firms could ill afford to ignore before the last 12 months of lockdown placed an added emphasis on remote commerce. According toa new study from management consultancy BearingPoint, however, firms in Ireland are currently stalling when it comes to progressing on the digital maturity path and is underperforming on this metric when compared across six other European countries.

The analysis of Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Sweden and Ireland scored 390 companies – 53 Irish and 337 European – representing various industry sectors on a scale ranging from zero, representing outright failure, through to five, exhibiting an outstanding performance.

Irish companies see their path to digital maturity stall

Overall, Ireland achieved an average score of 2.53 for their digital maturity – a thin ‘pass,’ but still the lowest among the seven countries – in stark contrast to the leading country of the Netherlands, with an average score of 3.00.

According to the study, internationally the leading firms in terms of digital maturity hailed from the retail sector – which scored an average of 3.07, ahead of nearest the rival segments of telco on 3.05 and banking on 2.87. Exemplifying why the Netherlands was able to take a leading position in this survey, no Dutch retailer scored below a good grade of 3.0 overall, while three Dutch retailers – CoolBlue, and Hunkemöller – were found to be the leading firms of BearingPoint’s entire report. 

In comparison, Ireland lagged dramatically behind – something which has presented large problems for the sector during the lockdown months. Despite significant shifts to online retail by consumers, companies across all industries have been slow to react to these developments as their Digital marketing, E-commerce, and customer services display minimal levels of progression. 

Irish companies see their path to digital maturity stall

Seven industry sectors in Ireland were assessed: banking; telco; insurance; food retail, energy; media and food products. BearingPoint indicates that the majority of industries saw their scores decline this year, with only banking achieving a good overall score of 3.16, and maintaining its position for the second year in a row as the most digitally mature industry in Ireland. While the food retail sector enjoyed the biggest rise in scores from the previous year, increasing from a score of 2.50 to 2.73, as demand for online grocery retail during the pandemic led to improvements in online services, the food produce sector was meanwhile found to be the least digitally mature of the seven industry sectors, coming in with a scale score of 1.51. 

Commenting on the findings of the 2021 Digital Leaders in Ireland study, Gillian O’Sullivan, Country Leader for BearingPoint in Ireland said, “This year’s findings provide a wake-up call for Irish businesses to remind them that they must not become complacent and must continue to progress on the path to digitalization in order to accelerate their recovery and growth, both during and post the pandemic.”