Almost half of European business leaders are concerned that failing to keep pace with quickening technology change could mean losing their competitive edge, according to a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

A survey of 432 senior executives employed in enterprises across a number of industries in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific found that while there is confidence in technological advances enabling business innovation, the inability to capitalise on the fast pace of change could mean losing out to competitors.

The findings are part of 'Humans and Machines' report, sponsored by Ricoh and launched at the Economist Technology Frontiers event in London, looking at the future role of technology within businesses and how it can improve processes.

The survey found that 46 percent of respondents had become 'heavily reliant' on technology for business processes in the past three years.

However there is a concern among European enterprises that they could be falling behind their rivals due to the swift pace of change, with 45 percent of respondents worried about losing a competitive edge, compared to 37 percent in North America and 35 percent in Asia.

One of the principle concerns is the lack of integration between IT systems within the enterprise, with 46 percent of European enterprises concerned about disconnected systems, compared to 39 percent in Asia and 34 percent in North America.

Within the financial services industry, for example, 48 percent of respondents claim that there is inadequate connection between IT systems across their business, while 71 percent believe that using technology in isolation bring little or no value.

The report also highlighted that business leaders are also concerned that technology is evolving more quickly than internal processes are able to adapt.

Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Europe said that the European enterprises are facing a number of challenges to stay competitive, and need to ensure that they are able to adapt to shifts in the technological landscape.

"European businesses leaders face a challenging time - in addition to technology led change they must manage complex regulations and grow their businesses in a competitive and mature landscape," said Bruhn.

"It is clear that the impacts of technology are varied, a one-size approach to transformation is not possible. What is certain is - change is unavoidable. The ways of working that we have taken for granted are unlikely to survive much longer.

He added: "The future shows great potential for humans to benefit from more creative and informed decision making, supported by technology, effective business processes and new ways to share and access information.

"If European business leaders master a truly connected and efficient workplace, just imagine what can be achieved on top of what has already been experienced today."