MARKET | Nov 22, 2018

Digital Transformation: are Italian companies ready?

The opinion of ICT companies on the degree of Digital Transformation achieved by their client companies

Social Media and Big Data. In recent years these are the technologies that Italian companies seem to be investing in and along with the Internet of Things, are their immediate focus for the future. This view is stated by the ICT Associate companies Assintel, the national Association of ICT and digital companies of Confcommercio Imprese per l’Italia, reflecting on the plans of their client companies.

It is the result of the Retail Transformation survey, carried out by the Digital Transformation Institute and CFMT in collaboration with SWG and Assintel, which compares the position of the digital players on significant current technological trends, namely Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, IoT, Blockchain, Digital Communication and Social Media.

Applications relating to Social Media and Big Data, above all in the Finance (82%), Communication, Transport & Utilities (65%) and Industry (62%) sectors, only exist in the fantasies of Italian companies, accompanied by IoT (Internet of Things) technologies, which are slowly gaining attention.

Does the lack of digital expertise impose limits?

According to ICT Assintel associated companies, 70% of businesses they regularly deal with are severely limited in their digital expertise, which is wholly inadequate to cope with the complex procedure of integrating digital technologies into their business processes. In fact, only 43% of their client companies possess applied digital management expertise, while technical ICT expertise is only to be found in 30% of them.

A lack of expertise therefore, which makes it highly complex to implement the digital investments that could have a major impact on the organization and business models, since it is inevitable that these companies will find themselves in great difficulty when left alone to make appropriate choices and consequently monitor not only their investments, but also the impact they may have on company revenue. This is demonstrated by their considerable indifference towards Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence technologies, even in relation to future investments: 65% and 68% respectively of businesses have made no, or hardly any, use of them and nearly half have no plans to focus on these applications to improve their business.

Big Data in the present and future

In terms of Big Data, even with a medium-high degree of complexity, ICT businesses maintain that client companies will mainly focus, in the short-term, on integrating applications for this technology into research & development(46%) and, with a broader view (3 years), in the area of sales (51%), marketing, communication and customer support (59%).

When it comes to IoT, however, companies seem to prefer Smart Asset Management (43%), Smart Factory and Smart Building (38%) applications over the coming year, with Smart Logistic and Smart Metering (35%) considered over the following three years; here again requiring a highly complex implementation process, with reference to the cultural, technological and infrastructural condition into which they will be introduced. Little or no interest is shown for Smart City and Smart Car applications.

Are there any companies that are aware of the importance of Digital Transformation?

According to ICT companies, Italian companies seem to know that they have to launch Digital Transformation procedures, but they are in ever increasing need of more specialized expertise to aid them in understanding what it really means to face this change and support them in defining more suitable, sustainable strategies (also for making more solid investments) and evaluating their effectiveness.

Stefania Farsagli