With more than 86% of Australian businesses expecting unprecedented technological change in the next three years, it is hardly surprising that Accenture - in their Technology Vision 2016: An Australian Perspective - has laid out its view of why Australia is at a technological ‘tipping point’.
Since 2015, there has been an increase of 20 points (to 49%) of organizations in Australia who are ‘investing comprehensively’ in digital technology as part of a wider business strategy (compared with a 35% global average).
Through the five clear developments picked out by Accenture, a ‘people-first’ approach to technology adoption will put Australian businesses who take this digital risk well ahead of global growth.
Machines and software intelligence are joining the workforce; leaders are embracing automation as they see it as the way to work through the rapid pace of digital change, with 54% of executives already reporting cost savings of 15% from only two years of automation. Business strategists are no longer seeing machines as competition to their human counterparts, but as complimentary members of the team, the presence of both allowing each to focus entirely on their strengths. Showing no signs of slowing, 81% of Australian businesses are investing in machine learning, from Coles supermarkets testing order taking fridge magnets to Rio Tinto’s driverless trucks.
Establishing a skilled and highly adaptable workforce is a growing priority for many businesses with leaders sighting ‘the ability to learn quickly’ as a crucial team attribute. This move towards transient project-based roles is expected to continue with restrictive, long-term job functions in decline.
Businesses based on totally new models have developed from the evolution of technology platforms. This has driven he most profound global macroeconomic change since the industrial revolution spawning companies such as Google, Amazon and Alibaba. Australians are beginning to embrace this, with 43% citing interaction with these digital ecosystems as crucial to the success of their business, just above the global average of 40%.
Digital ecosystems such as smart cities or precision agriculture, and the businesses that drive them, are establishing new paradigms which transcend traditional industrial boundaries. Whereas previous technological disruptions have been unpredictable for businesses, the platform economy opens the door for new competitors allowing smaller, more agile players to challenge the multinationals.
With each new digital development there arises a subsequent cyber-security risk therefore establishing trust as the cornerstone of digital development. Whilst it is easy to assume security risks are negative, they actually present numerous opportunities for companies to foster customer trust. This has forced digital and data ethics to become hot topics in the boardroom and underpins how digital businesses are beginning to conduct their operations.
The emerging conclusions is that Australia is on the brink of another wave of digital revolution with a rapidly increasing number of companies and executives adopting these strategies. These disruptive developments are beginning to bring an ROI which, alongside the desires to re-engage the workforce and drive innovation whilst increasing efficiency is providing the catalyst for further technological advancement. With the current interest and surge of investment in Australian enterprise this revolution shows no signs of slowing.
Innovation Enterprise returns to Sydney this October with the Chief Digital Officer Forum - will you be joining us?