Australian businesses risk becoming uncompetitive and irrelevant if action isn’t taken on our global digital competiveness. Announced last week, Australian businesses slipped in competiveness, ranking 18th place according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016*.
As the growth engine of the economy, embracing new technology for Australian mid-size business is critical in shifting the economy away from resources, in line with the Science and Innovation Agenda.
“We continue to move around the index; however it is now marked with continual decline, a far cry from 9th position in 2004.”
“Technology is neither an option, nor a hindrance; it’s a worthy ally on the path to growth and Australian mid-size businesses must embrace digital disruption or risk being disrupted themselves,” said Matthew Green, Technology Advisory Partner, Grant Thornton Australia.
When it comes to digital investment, focus on initiatives that accelerate business growth:
- Digitise new customer experiences: think in the context of new digital customer experiences by looking beyond digitising existing customer channels
- Enhance with analytics: data improves customer insight and business performance. Analytics is a key focus for mid-size business in planning, managing and engaging with customers.
- Integrate your digital investment into core business strategy: embed digital into operating models and develop digital skills for all aspects of internal operations, rather than just investing in new technologies simply to improve efficiencies
- Take digital risk: open up to the use of new technologies and its possible application
- Invest in revenue-generating mobile applications: e-commerce, customer engagement, supply chain integration and outsourcing applications enable mid-size businesses to compete head to head with larger businesses, while remaining agile and specialised to the customer
- Minimise risk through cyber security: an ever present consideration given the increased reliance on technology and level of connectedness. Minimise impacts to business reputation and bottom line by securing data
- Invest in customer & service technology: embrace technology to reduce service costs and deliver a better consumer experience that delivers higher quality, more specialised services and products
As we’ve already seen, Brexit signals opportunity for Australian Fintech’s. Now is the perfect opportunity, together with the Government’s Science and Innovation Agenda to embrace and grow digital competitiveness in Australia.
“In order to develop Australia’s capacity for innovation, diversify the economy, and build resilience, the government and businesses should embrace ICT even more enthusiastically. We want to see effective policies that encourage mid-size businesses to innovate and invest in the use of ICT.
“As a nation, we need to set a goal of making the top 10 on the index by at least 2020. Critical to this is the government policy needed to support digital and technology initiatives, support for innovation and learning, encourage entrepreneurship and rewarding risk. From a future and sustainability perspective this calls out the need to drive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in education even more than before”.
“With additional policy support to encourage mid-size businesses to invest in embedding and leveraging digital technology as part of the core business strategy, we will begin to see a significant shift in businesses ability to survive and thrive in a constantly evolving business operating environment” said Mr Green.