Almost 40% of small to medium-sized businesses believe they need to improve their digital capabilities to cope with the changing business environment.
And around 60% of those worried about the digital future were also concerned about how they could upskill.
That was because they were finding it difficult to recruit suitably-qualified staff and were concerned about the level of investment required.
The figures are from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a survey canvassing the views of SME owners and managers on business issues.
Managing director Harry Parkinson said: "Our findings suggest that many SMEs in Northern Ireland do not feel adequately equipped for the future and that many are concerned that finding staff with the appropriate skills will be a challenge."
He said businesses needed to consider how to compete in a digital global economy. "Perhaps it is becoming necessary for businesses to look towards the younger generation to help address the growing skills gap," he added.