Published 24 May 2021

Digital transformation most critical in the North

By, Pulsant

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The pandemic has accelerated digitalisation projects in the North faster than any other region

Maidenhead, UK – 25 May 2021: Businesses in the North view digital transformation as more critical than those in the rest of England, according to new research from Pulsant, the UK’s hybrid cloud specialists. The report finds 75% of businesses surveyed from the north of England say transformation is ‘very important’ compared to 71% in the South and 68% in the Midlands. Covid-19 has also 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 and 62% in the Midlands.

The research finds businesses in the North are accelerating transformation faster than those in other regions in a variety of ways, including deploying new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications (67%), migrating traditional workloads and data into the cloud (65%), and creating their own cloud-native applications (65%).

Despite the focus on transformation, businesses in the North are behind on their digital journeys compared to those in other regions with 69% in the South and 68% in the Midlands saying they are ‘mostly’ digitalised compared to just 64% in the North. This is likely to be a result of various barriers identified in the research.

Lack of specialist skills is cited as the biggest barrier to digital transformation strategy in the North 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 58% in the Midlands and 51% in the South. Just under half (49%) in the North say they require niche skill sets that are not currently available, while only 40% in the Midlands and 35% in the South say the same.

“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,” says Pulsant CTO Simon Michie. “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.”

Other barriers to digital transformation that are more prominent in the North than other regions include having operating models that are unable to support both business-as-usual and change (35%) and complexity of technology choices (33%). Nearly two thirds of organisations in the North (64%) also say that location is a barrier to accessing connectivity and over half say it is a barrier to accessing reliable infrastructure.

The research from Pulsant was conducted by independent research provider, Censuswide, surveying 200 IT decision-makers and 200 business leaders in UK mid-sized companies (200 – 2,500 employees).


The full research report, ‘The Digital Divide’, can be downloaded here.