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How quickly is the UK moving towards a digital future? Who are the winners and losers in this increasingly fast-paced digital race? Is digital a matter of or all or nothing for business?

These questions were all up for debate at Fujitsu’s latest Executive Discussion Evening last night as our latest piece of research Digital Inside Out was thrust into the spotlight.

Kicking off proceedings was Simon Carter, Marketing Director UK and Ireland, Fujitsu, who described how digital now has the power to influence incredibly important business and political discussions. Devising a digital strategy is fundamental to the success of each and every business in the UK, he explained, and the effect this has on people, processes and technology shouldn’t be underestimated.

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Dr Simon Moores, Vice President of the Conservative Technology Forum then took guests on what he described as a “short excursion into the future” – one that’s right on our doorstep and full of disruption.

“We’re on the cusp of a societal transformation that will be as big as that of the industrial revolution,” he said, explaining that as the world continues to be reshaped by social, mobile and cloud tech, we are experiencing the biggest power shift between people and organisations in history.

But while technology is racing ahead, Moores continued, skills and organisations are lagging behind. He cited recent research highlighting that just 36% of business executives believe their staff have the skills needed to adapt to the future. “There’s only half as much ability as there is enthusiasm,” he warned, claiming that a shift in skills is essential if the UK is to continue making progress towards the digital future.

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According to Dan Cobley, former Managing Director of Google, we’re in that future already. He asserted that the “future is now,” using some unique proof points to support his case – including the self-lacing shoes, hover board and video glasses predicted in Back to the Future Part II that are all in production today.

But technology is causing meaningful, fundamental shifts in the world we live in, too – especially for businesses. Online businesses are now growing on average four times quicker than their offline counterparts, he explained, enabling new challengers to make greater market impact than ever before.

What’s more, he continued, these challenger businesses have a competitive advantage because they are more likely to be digitally native and have agile, nimble business models. The aversion to change that established enterprises tend to display, Cobley explained, is holding the UK back on its digital journey.

Cobley closed with an impassioned rally for all things digital: “Digital transformation is inevitable, it lowers costs, improves services, expands markets and even saves lives,” he claimed. “What’s more,” he continued, “The UK is good at it, and shouldn’t let any pocket of digital exclusion stand in the way.”

“Let’s get everyone connected and everything online,” was Cobley’s rousing closing sentiment to a night of lively digital debate.

The digital future, it would seem, is well and truly in our midst.

Did you attend our EDE? Let us know what you thought of the event by leaving a comment below or by tweeting #FujitsuEDE

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Jim Millen

Digital Content Editor at Fujitsu
I'm the editor for the Fujitsu UK & Ireland blog, and love to write about the exciting work Fujitsu do in digital & technology innovation.

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