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Of 150 UK business leaders surveyed for a study by IT firm Fujitsu, The Digital Transformation PACT, 42 percent have cancelled a digital transformation project in the last two years at an average cost of £483,690 per project. Download here: www.fujitsu.com/pact.

A digital skills gap is cited as a serious hindrance with 73 percent of UK leaders admitting to a clear lack of digital skills within their organisation. As a result, 87 percent say attracting digitally native staff will be vital to their success in the next three years.

The research commissioned by Fujitsu examines how businesses are performing against the four strategic elements Fujitsu believes are required to digitally transform successfully: People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology (PACT). UK businesses appreciate the importance of digital transformation, as most (41 per cent) have already implemented digital projects, while 79 percent are prepared to adapt their business model to respond to technological change. This focus appears to be driven by digital demands from external forces – 82 percent say their customers expect them to be more digital and 71 percent believe they are behind their competition in using digital to deliver for their customers.

‎Ravi Krishnamoorthi, Head of Business Consulting, Digital and Application Services at Fujitsu EMEIA said: “UK businesses know how powerful technology can be and want to use digital to deliver for customers and keep ahead of the competition. However, digital transformation is about much more than the technology alone. Businesses need to have the right skills, processes and partnerships in place – and that’s where we’re seeing UK executives struggling. We’re living in a time when digital disruption can change the business landscape virtually overnight, so UK organisations must ensure that they can transform successfully and secure their place in the global landscape. The pace of technological change is only continuing to grow, and UK businesses must adapt if they are to keep up with their competition worldwide.”

Most, 82 per cent admit that the lack of skills in their organisation is the biggest hindrance to addressing cyber security. Looking to the future, skills will continue to be a key business issue; 93 percent say upskilling staff will be vital to their organisation’s success in the next three years, while 83 percent believe artificial intelligence will transform the skills needed by 2020.

Cyber comment

Rob Norris VP Head of Enterprise & Cyber Security EMEIA at Fujitsu, said: “We know that cyber-attacks are a critical threat to businesses in the UK. With that in mind, it’s truly worrying to see that eight-in-ten businesses point to digital skills as the biggest hindrance to their cyber security function. Even if 51pc of UK organisations are planning to invest in cyber security systems in the next 12 months, that investment may be meaningless without the people to make them work. Part of this is an attitudinal issue. Because many organisation may not consider themselves as ‘high value targets’ for attackers, they often have very minimal protection and investment in or staff training and awareness. However, for many malicious actors, finding vulnerabilities is their bread and butter and even their day job. They will look to hold organisations to ransom through a ‘soft attack’ that compromises its data

“It’s time that businesses recognise that cyber security is more than a technology issue – it’s a ‘people’ issue. Despite the cyber skills shortage, a lot can be done to improve user awareness with training. Whilst companies will, of course, still need to invest in appropriate technical and security controls or work with cyber partners to achieve this, upskilling users and making them more cyber aware is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing the probability and impact of human error. Today and still the number one way of compromising an organisations security is through a phishing email directly to an employee of an organisation, with a hidden malware exploit.

“Although addressing the security skills gap through initiatives such as the new T-Levels and apprenticeships is a great start, one thing is clear – a lot still needs to be done to educate the current workforce in simple things like not opening suspicious or unexpected emails, if we are to ensure our industries remain competitive and secure. With cyber-attacks increasing in severity, and with the GDPR on the horizon, it’s critical that businesses enhance their first line of defence against cyber-attacks: their workforce.”


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