7829098984_cba849afc0_z Image: Tsahi Levent-Levi/Flickr

Almost half (44%) of UK business leaders admit that their business will not exist in its current form by 2021 due to the impact the face from digital disruption, according to a new study.

With 97% of business owners saying their organisation has been impacted by digital disruption and 94% expect further widespread disruption, the vast majority (92%) admit their business need to evolve in order to thrive in the face of it.

As a result, 61% of execs admit digital disruption is the biggest challenge they face as a business, almost half (46%) are concerned about the future of their organization in wake of digital disruption and over a quarter (26%) wish they weren’t experiencing digital disruption, revealed the research by Fujitsu.

It is not only businesses themselves that are evolving, as entire sectors are experiencing complete transformation in the wake of digital disruption. A total 86% of business leaders believe their sector will fundamentally change by 2021.

When assessing what external influencers are driving their response to the challenge of digital disruption, most (46%) business leaders identified customers, although this was closely followed by competitors (41%).

While when asked who is leading digital disruption in their sector, over a quarter (28%) identified the leaders as “established organisations entering their sector such as Google or Amazon”. Indeed, “increased competition/new entrants to the sector” was identified as the main effect of digital disruption by 45% of execs.

Lucy Dimes, chief executive, Fujitsu UK & Ireland said: “Digital is not only disrupting internal processes and customer service, it is changing the face of the UK business community itself. New entrants are coming into sectors they’ve never before played a role in and businesses are having to evolve to thrive in their new business environments.

“Digital disruption can boost revenue, make organisations more competitive and support innovation. But that potential is driving the concerns of business who fear falling behind competitors. Business leaders know they need to not only keep up but digitalise faster, with confidence, strategy and ultimately, success.”

Although business leaders anticipate dramatic change over the coming years, most (80%) believe digital disruption presents exciting opportunities. Such potential benefits are driving a hunger to capitalise quickly. 86% of business leaders say their organisation needs to move faster to stay relevant in a digital world.

Exploring what would make them more confident in their organisation’s ability to thrive in a digital world, the majority (46%) of business leaders said “the right technology partner”. The other top answers were: a focus on increasing digital skills in their business (42%) and increased budget to spend on innovation (38%).

Ms. Dimes added: “Digital disruption is a huge challenge – no question. But businesses cannot bury their heads in the sand because digital is not only a powerful force, it’s unstoppable. The truth is that organisations need help to realise the potential of digital.

“The ability to pool knowledge, ideas and resources with a technology partner is a vital capability. If all digital stakeholders work together to navigate through this disruption, businesses will not be overrun by digital, or outrun by competitors, they will forge ahead, innovating and prospering to reap all the benefits the digital age offers.”