61% of organisations in the South East and London say their location is advantageous to their digital transformation ambitions compared to just 41% in the rest of England, according to the latest research from Pulsant, the UK’s hybrid cloud specialists. However, businesses in the North of England are accelerating transformation faster than those elsewhere.
Businesses in the North and South of England share similar views on the importance of transformation, with 75% in the North saying transformation is ‘very important’ compared to 71% in the South. However, Covid-19 has had more of an impact on transformation in the North with 82% of businesses in the region saying the pandemic has accelerated digitalisation compared to 71% in the South.
While the research highlights location as an advantage in the South, it also reveals some in the region are still lacking crucial elements for successful digital transformation such as a clear strategy and digital leadership. The majority (84%) have a clear vision for digital transformation yet only 39% have an established digital transformation plan with executive sponsorship and are following it. A quarter (25%) do not have an assigned leader to drive digital transformation.
In the North, lack of specialist skills is cited as the biggest barrier to digital transformation with 40% in the region saying this is the case. The majority in the North (69%) say location is a barrier to accessing talent compared to 51% in the South. Just under half (49%) in the North say they require niche skill sets that are not currently available, compared to just 35% in the South.
Pulsant CTO Simon Michie says: “There is a clear regional divide emerging across the country as organisations strive for digital agility. The South East has better access to infrastructure, leadership and skills to drive change. Yet organisations cannot afford to be complacent about retaining talent as the rise of remote working could see skilled individuals finding opportunities elsewhere.
“Meanwhile, it’s clear the North has the biggest appetite for digital transformation which has been spurred on by the pandemic, but businesses in the region are struggling to keep up with the rest of the country. Various barriers are putting transformation efforts at risk and businesses in the region will need to focus on identifying where external skills, support and expertise are required to help them future-proof and reach their digital potential.”