Published 24 May 2021

Lack of digital direction obstructing transformation in the Midlands

By, Pulsant

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Businesses in the region are the slowest at digital transformation in England

Maidenhead, UK – 25 May 2021: The Midlands is the slowest region in England to accelerate digital transformation according to latest research from Pulsant, the UK’s hybrid cloud specialists. Covid-19 has accelerated transformation in the region by 62% which is less than both the South (71%) and the North (82%).

The research finds there is more complacency around transformation in the Midlands with less than half of organisations (44%) admitting to having an established digital transformation plan in place. Only 24% say they are currently developing one, compared to 40% in the South and 38% in the North and while all respondents in the North and South expressed a desire for digital transformation, 10% in the Midlands say they have no desire at all. Of those that are undergoing transformation, 14% say it is unplanned and ad-hoc.

The research identifies a variety of barriers holding transformation back in the Midlands, including infrastructure, skills and leadership issues. Access to reliable infrastructure is cited as a top issue by nearly two thirds (64%), higher than both the South (47%) and the North (53%). This is followed by lack of skills (38%) and lack of digital leadership (30%). Nearly a third (30%) in the region say they don’t have an assigned leader in place to lead digital transformation compared to 24% in the South and 25% in the North.

“The Midlands appears to have the least appetite for digital transformation in the country and those that are undergoing transformation are doing so without a clear plan,” comments Pulsant CTO, Simon Michie. “Lack of leadership and strategy can hinder digital transformation success and cause critical transformation barriers to emerge. And at a time when business agility has never been so critical, organisations cannot afford to be complacent.”

Lack of digital leadership is impacting digital transformation in the Midlands in a variety of ways. Nearly a quarter of businesses (22%) say they don’t have a clear vision for digital transformation, 28% say they don’t have C-level support to drive digital change and 18% say they don’t have the right organisational culture to facilitate effective transformation.

There is also clear misalignment between business leaders and IT departments. The majority (90%) of business leaders in the region believe their organisations are ‘mostly’ digitised but only 68% of IT leaders in the region agree. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of business leaders say improving business agility is the main driver for digital transformation but only 52% of IT leaders agree. They see improving customer experience as the main driver (58%).

The research from Pulsant was conducted by an 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.