Less than one in 10 firms 'structured to meet future challenges'
LESS than one in 10 Irish firms believes its business is appropriately structured to meet challenges in the future, a survey has found.
The vast majority believe their businesses will have to change a little, while more than one in four feel a lot of changes will have to made quickly.
The AIB/Amarach Business 2020 report found that bosses anticipate far-reaching changes to Ireland's business landscape over the next seven years, and not just within their own firms.
This includes the possibility that companies will employ "virtual workforces" thanks to advancing digital technology.
Report author Gerard O'Neill of Amarach research said businesses must look beyond Europe for long-term growth opportunities.
"The good news is that the digital tools we anticipated in 2000 have now become reality and will play a key role in helping Irish businesses succeed over the rest of the decade," he added.
The survey was conducted in October among top bosses in 265 Irish businesses.
Key findings include:
• More than two-thirds of businesses surveyed expect the Irish economy and their own business performance to be better in 2020 than it is today.
• Online sales currently account for 15pc on average of total sales for businesses, ranging as high as 21pc for exporters. That's expected to jump to 26pc within the next five years, with smaller companies accounting for the biggest percentage increase.
• With China's economy set to overtake the United States in the coming years, 31pc of firms believe there will be a significant shift in economic activity from west to east by 2020.
• 55pc believe a new type of business culture will emerge in Ireland that avoids the mistakes of the past and leads to more sustainable growth for the economy.
• As more people look for value for money, bosses believe the rest of the decade will see continuing growth in demand for own-brand goods and services.
AIB's head of business banking, Brendan O'Connor, said the report was commissioned to prompt businesses to think ahead. "After five years of slow or no growth in the Irish economy, success is something none of us can take for granted," Mr O'Connor said.