7 ways Australian business can stop dragging its feet and adapt to disruption

Source: Getty

If there is one thing that has changed about digitisation and disruption over the past couple of years it is that what seemed a choice previously is now table stakes when it comes to the daily operations of Australian businesses of all sizes.

Boards and senior managers across Australian business have less time than ever to react to the disruption that is being experienced in the Australian and global economies. The speed that technological capability is rendering across industries is shortening the timeframe for change.

That’s something that’s become apparent to Australian business, a study of 447 firms across Australia undertaken for DXC Technology has found. The survey found that respondents believe on average they have “2.2 years to integrate a digital initiative before the full impact of digital disruption hits; 57 per cent believe they need to integrate a digital initiative within 2 years”.

Source: Supplied

But the survey finds a dangerous complacency from business owners and leaders in Australia noting, “this level of urgency is not reflected in the approach firms are taking to try to mitigate or adapt to the changes. They will need to get on the front foot to grow through digital, rather than simply mitigate it”.

That’s the table stakes reality that businesses across many sectors of the Australian and global economy are learning. Increasingly you don’t need a digital strategy, digital is the strategy.

But the study finds clear capability constraints across business size. That is, “more than two-thirds [of respondenets] still take a reactive approach to digital disruption, notably SME-sized organisations”. Indeed the study notes, “large organisations are twice as aggressive in trying to digitally disrupt their industry (29%) and are partnering with others to disrupt their market (15%)”.

That complacency comes out as well when firms are asked what they are doing about disruption. The study found, “CIOs feel they can change quickly if needed, there is still a level of caution which can be risky if change comes quickly”.

Source: Supplied

Tipping points can seem a long way off until they’re not! The the question is how do Australian businesses stay current and crucial, relevant to customers.

In answer to this question DXC has 8 recommendations:

  • Be holistic with digital strategies. That is, “take a whole-of-business path to digital strategy and transformation to avoid silos and maximise efficiencies”.
  • Develop the next generation of digital native leader. CEO’s need to become digital leaders and embed a culture which allows “a more proactive approach to disruption and develop[s] cultures with the ability to accept failure on the road to greater success”.
  • Focus on the customer experience.Even the recalcitrants agree on this. But DXC says this is vital because, “digital has an immediate impact on customer buying behaviour and an organisation’s service reputation.
  • Operational and real-time data is critical.“Thriving in this disruptive era will involve mastery of customer, supplier, market and other data to shape customer experience” DXC says. That means, “organisations must react faster in accessing and using data, especially since its value may decline over time”.
  • Prepare for workforce transformation. We are likely to see AI assisting human workers in the future and DXC says it’s critical to, “dispel staff myths and fears around machine learning and use deep learning to
    explore the possibilities”.
  • Take your employees on the digital journey. This is critical. “Employee training must be embedded into transformation programs rather than offered as an afterthought. It should focus on skills of the future” the survey finds.
  • Partner to achieve scaling success. Business can’t nor do they need to do it all on their own. That means in order to take proof of concepts or minimum viable concepts to completion, “partners will be important – particularly technology and vendor-agnostic ones that can demonstrate scaling success in rapid time”.

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