Irish tech executives are reluctant to commit company resources to emerging technologies like the Metaverse, blockchain, 3D printing and quantum computing despite a huge wave of public and business interest in recent years, a new survey from EY suggests. However, the accountancy giant’s Technology Leaders Outlook report for 2023 indicates that a large majority of Irish businesses are looking to maintain ramp up their IT staffing levels to deliver on their digital transformation agendas.
Based on a survey of 150 chief technical officers (CTOs) at a number of Irish companies across a range of industries, from financial services to the public sector and construction, the report highlights the priority that companies place on technological growth.
Some 44 per cent of survey respondents said they are planning or executing a digital transformation or change programme with almost half saying that they expect their company’s IT spending to increase over the next two years.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming 93 per cent of CTOs said they plan to increase or maintain current IT staffing levels as they implement their tech overhauls. But the shortage of talent in the sector is also a top concern for executives with almost a third (32 per cent) naming staffing as the biggest challenge to growth over the next two years, followed fears of a global recession (27 per cent).
“Irish organisations recognise the need to migrate their core systems to more modern, cloud-based IT architectures but they also know this transition will not be easy,” said Ronan Walsh, consulting partner and head of technology consulting at EY Ireland. “While not without risk, it is ultimately a high reward journey that requires buy-in from the very top of the organisation.”
When it comes to investing in new technologies, however, executives say they are focused on “delivering long term” and immediate value and are “slow to devote resources to what some see as nascent technologies”, EY said.
Respondents said the technologies most likely to deliver immediate value are process automation (46 per cent), data analytics (39 per cent) and the Internet of Things and 5G (38 per cent). Just 1 per cent said the Metaverse and quantum computing are likely to deliver in the short term while only 3 per cent were convinced by blockchain, suggesting that “widespread adoption is still some way off”.
“We are already seeing some of the main proponents of the metaverse pulling back on investments in the new virtual realm and the paucity of use cases for the majority of businesses will probably see it remain a fringe technology for some time to come,” said Colin Reilly, EY Ireland partner and chief technology consulting investment officer. “That is not to say that it will not deliver value to organisations at some point in the future, but for the moment at least, that point seems a long way off.”