Published on in Responsible Business

The ability to make a positive influence on society is of concern to the majority of Irish Business Leaders surveyed as part of our recent annual survey ‘Co-Creation for Success’.

As part of this study, we set out to explore Irish organisations’ relationship with their employees, customers and society, how vital each group is to achieving success and what role culture, creativity and digital technology play in the overall picture. The results were eye-opening and painted a picture of a world in which customers are the priority, followed by employees. But we also saw an increasingly large focus being placed on the need for businesses to “do good” for wider society.

The need to make a positive social impact hit close to home for many leaders; 57 per cent acknowledged that it’s their personal responsibility to ensure their organisation does this. Almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of leaders believe that Irish society has become more critical of the business community over the last three years and over half (53 per cent) know that to be successful in the future, they need to change their organisations approach to working with society.

What our research showed, however, is that nearly half of businesses believe that CSR initiatives are a “nice to have” rather than a critical success factor. In fact, Irish businesses are more focused on the customer’s experience than CSR. Improving the life of customers (60 per cent) is more of a priority than employees and society.

Irish Business Leaders acknowledge that they can and should do more to influence the world and they know that in future, societal impact will define their success and that innovation, collaboration and digital technology will be vital. They know that they could be doing more to make a positive impact on society (74 per cent).

How do we reconcile this with the fact that CSR is not viewed as a vital driver of success?

By their own admission, business leaders are not yet in a position to positively contribute to society. Over half of these, however, believe that digital technology is intrinsic to CSR initiatives. In order to evolve and better impact society, 51 per cent of respondents’ state that digital technology will be vital.

Balancing the differing interests of the customers, employees and society is a challenge for leaders, but digital technology can expediate this process. For us at Fujitsu Ireland we recognize that digital helps to achieve a balanced approach where all three groups are positively affected by an organisation. We should view all groups as one because the ability to “do good” for the benefit of employees, customers and citizens should lie at the heart of an organisation.

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Tony O'Malley

Tony O’Malley is CEO of Fujitsu Ireland and Chairman of the Fujitsu Ireland Limited board. He is leading the delivery of Fujitsu’s innovative ICT services to the public and private sectors.

As CEO, Tony is committed to creating value for customers and putting into practice Fujitsu’s vision to create a Human Centric Intelligent Society.

He also oversees significant research programmes in Ireland in collaboration with Fujitsu Laboratories Japan, in particular addressing Data Analytics and Healthcare systems for assisted living.

Tony sits on the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Council and is a member of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics Advisory Committee.

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