Future connections

Business | Wed 23 Jul | Author – Business & Finance Anne Sheehan

Vodafone Ireland research shows that three in four Irish businesses are positive about the future.

New research reveals that 73% of Irish businesses are positive about the future. As part of a global research study, commissioned by Vodafone, 300 Irish businesses were interviewed and asked their views on the challenges and opportunities facing business today and how they can prepare for the future.

The research indicated that while most Irish businesses have a positive attitude towards change and are aware of what needs to be done to make them ready for the future, only 25% feel that they are adequately prepared to handle challenging market trends and take advantage of technology developments over the next five years.

Changing environment

The research also shows that 86% of businesses who don’t feel prepared for future challenges have highlighted a desire to implement rapid responses to new and changing business needs over the next five years. 88% of those interviewed believed that such a response would be dealing with customers on a more individual and interactive basis and highlighted the importance of ensuring the protection of their customers’ privacy.

Effective management of analytics such as customer information and consumer trends is vital for businesses”

Although 77% of Irish businesses have positive attitudes towards change and developments in business, the majority of these businesses (75%) feel that they are not prepared to handle these changes when they arise. They highlighted key areas including digital interactions with customers, flexible working environments and security and risk management.

Implementing strategies

The research indicated that businesses who had positive attitudes towards implementing IT and communications strategies, to help them manage these changes, were more agile when reacting to opportunities that could lead to achieving their business objectives.

Anne Sheehan, enterprise director at Vodafone Ireland says: “Evolving trends and new technologies are constantly driving businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to adapt to meet their customer, and employee, needs. Communications technology is one of these drivers, particularly when it comes to customer engagement — listening to customers and taking their feedback has never been more accessible.

“Interestingly, over 70% of businesses who believe they are ready for future business challenges have rapid response systems for customers in comparison to less than half of those businesses that do not consider themselves ready, indicating that ready businesses embrace fast-paced digital communications and provide their customers with platforms to engage with them.”

Trends

Effective management of analytics such as customer information and consumer trends is vital for businesses to understand their customers and to know what services to provide.

The research found that 84% of Irish businesses feel that they are not equipped to unlock the value from this kind of business information. This suggests that ready businesses can exploit modern communications capabilities to a higher degree in order to effectively utilise customer data for business benefit.

“We understand that there is high demand on businesses to provide employees with smartphones, tablets and cloud-based applications so we work with businesses of all sizes to identify their individual challenges and provide a tailored suite of services to meet those challenges,” Sheehan explains.

“Over the last number of years, we have made strategic investments in building our enterprise capabilities. We can now provide the expertise and services to have a big impact on the way businesses operate, not just the way their employees work,” concluded Sheehan.