Ireland - Country Commercial Guide
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-08

Overview

According to Technology Ireland, Ireland’s $50 billion digital economy accounts for 13% of GDP.  Over 1,000 digital companies operate in Ireland including major U.S. MNEs like Apple, AWS, Cisco, Facebook, Google, HPE, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft.  There is also a substantive SME community of digital technology companies comprising both international and indigenous firms.  Despite the challenges presented by the global health pandemic, the $5 billion Irish ICT market has seen sustained demand as digital technologies and solutions play an increasing role across the economy.  At the same time, the global health pandemic has presented challenges for engaging with key decision makers and, in many cases, has hindered new business development activity by vendors.  Ireland ranks 6th out of the 27 EU Member States in the EU 2020 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).

Leading Sub-Sectors

Digitisation (IT, Software and Computer and Cloud Services)

The medium outlook for the Irish IT market remains positive.  Annual expenditure in enterprise software is about €258 million and is driven by document and content management solutions, business intelligence and analytics, database, web servers, and enterprise portals.  Expenditure on network storage software is around €62 million while the security software market is estimated at €124 million.  Spending on software in the healthcare sector is circa €95 million.

There are 70 data centers operating in Ireland with the Hyperscale segment (Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft) accounting for 74% of capacity.  The colocation wholesale market has grown from almost zero to 24% in the past four years.   Further data center developments are envisaged with Host in Ireland forecasting investment of over $7 billion over the next five years.

Industry sources report that digital transformation has gathered momentum in Ireland with 2020 seeing an accelerated move to hybrid and multi-cloud environments.  Alongside implementing a digital government initiative across the public sector, the Irish government is providing funding to enable SMEs develop their online presence and eCommerce channels.  The digital sector is playing a significant role in driving Ireland’s post-pandemic economic activity.  Irish enterprises have spent $1.4 million annually on data processing and storage activities in recent years.  End user demand for cloud computing (SaaS/IaaS/PaaS) is expected to underpin future market growth.

Advanced Manufacturing & Artificial Intelligence

Ireland’s Industry 4.0 strategy launched in December 2019 sets out the key ambitions for helping the manufacturing sector embrace digital technologies. A new artificial intelligence strategy was launched in July 2021.  In addition, plans are underway across local government authorities to launch local digital strategies for municipal regions.

IOT /Smart Cities

Demand for Internet-of-Things (IOT) technology and services in Ireland is increasing particularly around applications within the healthcare, energy, transport, public sector and manufacturing industries.  Ireland’s three principal cities (Dublin, Cork and Limerick) have led the emergence of IOT/smart city projects.  To date, all smart city initiatives have been built on top of legacy infrastructure and many decades of social and economic programs, rather than creating new smart city districts.  However, green-field initiatives are emerging in all three cities which have strong vision-oriented smart city strategies.  The All-Ireland Smart Cities Forum is endeavouring to foster the development of similar strategies in other cities and regions of the country.  It is also forging close connections with Nordic counterparts.  The global health pandemic has provided increased momentum to smart city initiatives with local government leaders seeking to capitalize on the benefits of emerging digital technologies to provide a positive sustainable impact for their citizens.  U.S. MNEs have played a strong role in the evolution of Irish smart cities projects.  Strong Irish interest in emerging smart cities initiatives globally, including those in the United States, underscores opportunities for emerging U.S. SMEs. 

Opportunities

The Irish ICT market is open and highly competitive with many international suppliers offering new and innovative digital products and services.  Leading U.S. digital services players have a strong competitive presence in the market.  Irish distributors, systems integrators (SIs) and value-added resellers (VARs) continually seek to identify and source the latest innovative digital products and services.  Opportunities exist for U.S. MNEs and SMEs offering innovative and leading-edge digital solutions.

Industry sources expect Irish spending on cloud to grow in double digits across nearly all sectors in the near term.   Financial services and manufacturing are the leading end-user segments with each sector spending $84 million and $68 million respectively in 2019. Industry sources forecast that by 2024, Irish financial services organizations will have invested over $188 million on the cloud; with manufacturing investing some $168 million.  The $500 million Irish public cloud services market is also slated to grow significantly to $1.2 billion by that timeline.

Sector-specific opportunities exist across the ERP, Financial, Healthcare, Energy, and Telecom segments together with Cloud Computing, Data Analytics & Big Data and Smart Cities. End user segments encompass organizations ranging from SMEs to MNEs and the public sector.

Regulatory arrangements for the ICT sector are largely driven by the European Commission’s Digital Market Act (DMA) which is fostering initiatives on free flow of data; cybersecurity; e-Privacy; setting ICT standards; and intellectual property.  U.S. suppliers need to be particularly cognizant of data privacy issues outlined in the Data Protection section of the Chapter on Selling U.S. Products and Services.  

Resources

  • Technology Ireland
  • Host in Ireland
  • TechCentral
  • Silicon Republic
  • Public Procurement Portal (eTenders) https://www.etenders.gov.ie/

For more information about Ireland’s ICT and digital services sector, please contact:

Padraig O’Connor

Commercial Advisor - ICT Sector

U.S. Commercial Service Ireland

Tel: +353.87.2314726

Email: Padraig.O’Connor@trade.gov