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UK businesses struggling to deliver on digital, losing average of £480,000 per cancelled project

News facts:

  • 42% of UK businesses have cancelled digital projects in the last two years, at average loss of £483,690 per project – a bigger cost than any of their global counterparts including the US, China and Germany
  • 3 in 4 admit to a clear lack of digital skills; 82% state this is the biggest hindrance to cyber security efforts
  • 67% are concerned about their ability to adapt to Artificial Intelligence, but highlight its importance to their future success
London, October 18, 2017

A study to explore how organisations approach and deliver digital transformation has revealed a UK business community which recognises the importance of digital to respond to new technology and competition but is struggling to deliver, losing more on cancelled digital projects than their counterparts worldwide. Of 150 UK business leaders surveyed for Fujitsu’s study, 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. This compares to an average cost of £423,534 within businesses globally.

Assessing where challenges arise, the 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%) 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.

“UK businesses know how powerful technology can be and want to use digital to deliver for customers and keep ahead of the competition,” said ‎Ravi Krishnamoorthi, Head of Business Consulting, Digital & Application Services at Fujitsu EMEIA. “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.”


UK businesses consider people the most important part of the digital transformation mix (36%), and the vast majority (92%) are taking steps to increase their access to digital expertise and address their skills gaps. The most popular measure is targeted recruitment (49%), followed by apprenticeships (40%). However, 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.


Looking at actions, meaning the processes and behaviours needed to make digital transformation work, 94 percent of UK business leaders say their organisation has a clearly defined digital strategy, while 81 percent are confident that the rest of the business knows what it is. However, three quarters (74%) say that projects are often undertaken that aren’t linked to the overarching business strategy, while 70 percent say shadow digital projects are the only way parts of the organisation can complete meaningful innovation. Crucially, 7 in 10 (69%) say the cost of failure has put them off future digital transformation.


UK business leaders are taking positive steps in collaboration, with most businesses undertaking or planning to undertake co-creation projects (65%), with partners including existing customers (53%) and technology experts (51%). Surprisingly, 77 percent would even be willing to share sensitive information as part of these co-creation projects; however, 74 percent say that a lack of success within a quick timeframe would quickly put an end to their strategic partnerships.


And when it comes to technology, UK business leaders are planning to implement a wide range of systems; in the next 12 months, over half are planning to introduce cyber security solutions (51%) or the Internet of Things (45%). More than other nations worldwide, UK businesses underline the importance of artificial intelligence to their financial (56%) and operational (53%) success over the next ten years. Business leaders are aware of the disruptive impact of technological change, as 84 percent say the ability to change will be crucial to their survival in the next five years. However, 67 percent are concerned about their organisation’s capacity to adapt to technologies like artificial intelligence.

Krishnamoorthi continued, “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. It’s extremely positive that businesses are ready to adapt to new technology, but to do so they must look at more than the technologies themselves. Businesses must take steps to address their skills gaps, including upskilling their existing staff and attracting new talent. Executives have to instill a culture that fosters and supports innovation, with the processes in place to make use of new tools. And finally all UK organisations must recognise the power of true collaboration, to deliver extraordinary new ideas. Only by bringing balance to the four vital elements of People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology can UK busineses hope to thrive in the digital age.”

Notes to editors

Download Fujitsu's "The Digital Transformation PACT" report

This quantitative research was carried out in July and August 2017 by independent research company Censuswide. 150 UK business decision makers were surveyed within mid to large sized businesses across public sector, financial services, retail and manufacturing. All respondents had either already delivered a digital transformation project or had expressed an interest in doing so in the future.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 155,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$40 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. For more information, please see

About Fujitsu in the UK & Ireland

Fujitsu employs over 14,000 people in the UK & Ireland, with total revenues exceeding £1.8 billion. Offering an integrated product and service portfolio, we deliver consulting, applications, technology products, systems integration and managed services, including cloud-based solutions, for customers across both public and private sectors, including retail, financial services, telecoms, government, defence and consumer IT. For more information, please see

Paula Munteanu


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Graham Goulden

Phone: Phone: + 44 (0) 843 354 9568
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Company:Fujitsu UK & Ireland

Date: 18 October, 2017
City: London