Digital Gap: Ireland’s Frontline Services Organisations Ranked As ‘Highly Digitalised’ But Workers Still Feel Left Out / Behind

DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–eir evo today released the findings of a comprehensive research study providing an assessment of digitalisation within frontline service organisations, measuring digital maturity* and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within each entity.

This study, supported by Microsoft Ireland, gathered insights from over 400 professionals across health, education, local and national government, retail, and hospitality, and sheds light on the challenges and opportunities in fostering digital inclusivity. It reveals the emergence of a digital gap in frontline services.

While organisations were ranked as ‘highly digitalised’ by 65% of respondents, signalling a significant digital transformation across these organisations in recent years, individuals don’t feel the full benefits in their role, with, 62% feeling “digitally poor.” This points towards a gap between organisational digital strategy and the digital experience at the frontline level.

Additional findings from the study highlight that 86% of frontline workers now have access to a mobile device for work and 51% are using cloud-based collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365. However, over a third of respondents identified limited connectivity and a lack of real-time digital collaboration tools as barriers to optimal job performance. And nearly 31% still rely on manual, time-consuming processes for tasks that could be automated, such as data entry and reporting.

The study also underlines the emergence of a ‘shadow generative AI culture’ among frontline workers, with 27% actively using open-source AI tools like Chat GPT to navigate daily challenges. This underscores the urgent need for organisations to provide secure, reliable, and officially sanctioned AI tools to their teams.

A clear challenge emerging is how frontline services can better leverage, integrate and connect their devices and solutions for frontline workers to address these pain points.

Martin Wells, Managing Director of eir evo, commented on the findings, “Our research highlights a disparity in digital adoption among frontline workers across Ireland. While they have better access to technologies and are confident about their digital capabilities, there is a gap between organisational digital goals and the actual digital experiences of frontline workers. What is crucial now is to focus on enabling frontline workers to better connect with each other and their customers through real-time collaboration and to realise the value and potential of increased digitalisation through greater inclusion and literacy.

“At eir evo, we know how vital digital inclusion is, and how AI can help frontline organisations succeed. Our partnership with Microsoft gives us a unique advantage to drive this transformation, ensuring that our customers have the best technologies and the skills to use them well. We believe in working with organisations to make more possible. It’s important that strategic investment is supported by a commitment to digital upskilling and inclusion, so the digital divide is bridged, and frontline workers are supported, secure and empowered to deliver the best service possible.”

Microsoft Ireland Public Sector Lead, Dr Frank O’Donnell said: “eir evo’s study specifically focused on workers who are customer-facing or who are on the frontline as these individuals are at the heart of delivering the essential services that communities rely on. Their first-hand experiences and insights are invaluable in understanding how digital tools and AI can enhance the quality and efficiency of vital services, ensuring that the benefits of digital transformation reach every corner of our society. This focus helps to identify and bridge gaps in digital inclusion, ensuring that the frontline of our communities is empowered with the technology, the culture and the skills they need to excel in their critical roles.”


Kate O’Neill, Reputation Inc
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