More than two-in-five (42%) businesses in Ireland are planning for international expansion in the next 12 months – up 10% on the previous year – according to the Equinix 2023 Global Tech Trends Survey. The research suggests that enterprises in Ireland are being more bullish about expansion versus the average business worldwide. Globally, Equinix found that 32% of businesses have plans to expand internationally in the next 12 months.
Equinix’s survey, which included 100 IT decision-makers in Ireland, explored IT leaders’ perceptions and plans relating to expansion. The survey results follow a period of uncertainty as businesses reassessed their economic future and the potential impact of geopolitics on their operations. The research found that 79% of enterprises anticipate expansion at some level – either in Ireland, into a new market, or internationally – up from 74% the previous year. Globally, 74% of businesses have plans to expand in the next 12 months.
Highlighting the growth and importance of cloud computing, Equinix’s research found that IT leaders in Ireland are now almost as likely to support expansion virtually as they are physically. The survey found that 44% of businesses with expansion plans will hire IT staff in their new location, while 42% will support the expansion virtually via the cloud. The latter is an increase of 10% on the previous year as more enterprises now see virtual expansion as a cost-effective, flexible element to their overall expansion strategy.
However, these anticipated expansions face external threats such as issues relating to data sovereignty, which has come into focus due to recent geopolitical events. The majority of IT leaders in Ireland (84%) said that the implementation of new, stricter laws would impact their plans. In the most extreme cases, 13% said that strict new data sovereignty laws would mean that they would no longer consider the expansion, while 43% said that they would press ahead with the expansion but it would require major changes and potential delays to their plans. A smaller portion, 28%, said that it would require minor adjustments to their plans, but that they would still go ahead.
Meanwhile, when asked in what areas they felt least prepared to deal with the challenges of complying with incoming or stricter data sovereignty regulations, 70% of IT leaders in Ireland – versus 56% globally – cited inadequate infrastructure.
Peter Lantry, Managing Director for Ireland, Equinix, said: “Our research shows that businesses in Ireland are feeling far more confident about their growth potential this year. With that, we are seeing a marked shift in how enterprises are viewing international expansion. It no longer needs to be a labour-intensive and costly move with boots on the ground. Digital infrastructure is enabling businesses to deploy virtually via hybrid multi-cloud, providing them with the flexibility to scale their operation up and down as needed, without the cost and commitment associated with establishing a physical presence.
“As a leading provider of digital infrastructure for businesses across the globe, Equinix is playing an important role in providing the digital backbone to Ireland’s ambitious export economy as we move towards a truly global, digital world of business.”
John O’Donoghue, Senior Global Solutions Architect, Equinix, said: “Data sovereignty is a critical element in any expansion plan that requires entering new markets. However, it can be a minefield for organisations as they navigate the ever-changing legislative landscape across multiple jurisdictions. To help enterprises with this challenge, last year, Equinix joined the Gaia-X initiative. This is an international nonprofit bringing businesses, the scientific community and political representatives together to confront the challenge of data sovereignty in today’s world. By bringing multiple cloud providers together, we are giving enterprises in Europe the freedom to share their data and services while maintaining data sovereignty.
“Business today is digital and it is vital for every enterprise – whether they are looking to expand internationally or comply with data legislation – to ensure they have the robust digital infrastructure in place to stand out.”
On Wednesday, 20th September, Equinix will host a webinar exploring business growth into new markets. John O’Donoghue, senior global solutions architect at Equinix, will be joined by Niall Kitson, TechCentral.ie editor; and Thanos Chatzis, Kaizen Gaming’s head of technology & infrastructure. Together, they will discuss: What’s getting in the way of your digital expansion plans’? To register for this free webinar, visit www.techfire.ie.