Different industries can learn from each other to adapt to the digital economy

Getty Images
This article is sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.  »

The Australian economy, indeed the global economy, has changed significantly over the past decade as technology has given companies of all sizes the ability to collect data that has powered growth. But with the ability to collect data comes a requirement to use it to achieve customer outcomes and experiences that are increasingly seen as ‘table stakes’ in the digital economy.

It’s both an opportunity and a tension we see with many banking clients at Commonwealth Bank of Australia as they work to build capabilities to deliver on the promise that data and analytics offer.

Within our Smart networks ecosystem – comprised of the telecommunications technology, health, education, media and entertainment industries – we’ve observed some themes that are playing out, and even though the way they play out in a particular company or industry may differ, the theme is the same.

Companies operating in these sectors share four areas of focus:

First and fundamentally is the challenge of data. Companies are grappling with the exponential growth in data, how to collect it, where to store it, and what to do with it both in terms of analytics and how to use the insights from analytics.

Secondly, companies are grappling with changing customer preferences, which is the increased tendency for customers to expect companies to predict and know quite a lot of information about them without having to tell the company explicitly. They then expect this data to be used in an insightful manner to deliver and offer an experience that the customer herself is interested in.

Thirdly, companies are also grappling with how to innovate at scale efficiently. Of course, companies are interested in the iterative improvements they can make but they are also searching for big disruptive, innovative ideas. They want to get ahead of the curve and gain enough scale to make it a worthwhile investment over the long term.

The fourth big driver companies are grappling with is how to deliver the significant social infrastructure that industries like health and education, need to provide for the nation. For example, due to changing demographics, aged care companies are required to provide critical services in a way that is both cost effective and takes into account the requirements and expectations of multiple stakeholders. These stakeholders could have different drivers and outcomes as their goals – shareholders, clients, community expectations, and regulatory requirements to name a few.

An increasingly hot topic in Australia is infrastructure, as federal and state governments seek to improve transport in and around our cities, and planners, architects and developers rethink what the cities of the future will look like. But infrastructure isn’t just buildings, roads, rail and the like. In the digital economy, there are increased requirements for infrastructure to support the explosion in demand for data, its collection, storage and analytics.

We see Commonwealth Bank of Australia as a key partner in funding this critical social infrastructure across Australia in order to deliver on community and customer expectations in the digital age. To build this infrastructure, we can use the bank’s internal technology capabilities and share it with our customers to help them deliver digital offerings within their organisations and for their customers.

This collaborative approach – across businesses and industries – is critical in the current business and economic operating environment because companies and their managers need to think quite laterally in ambiguous times. That is, they can learn from each other by watching and collaborating, and by looking outside their own industry borders.

Take health care for example. Healthcare practitioners, have harnessed the power of technology to deliver health solutions as part of their overall approach to patient management.

Doctors are using chatbots to assist with managing their patients with long-term illness. Healthcare companies and insurers are taking an increased interest.

Whether a client is at the start of its digital transformation or is quite mature, we’re able to share learnings and strategies from customers across the Smart networks ecosystem and our bankers are here to help do that.

At its core, the message that’s become apparent to Commonwealth Bank of Australia is that the challenges being faced in this modern data and analytics-intensive digital economy are more similar across businesses and industries than they are different. And that is an empowering message for those who think laterally and are prepared to partner and learn.

Clare Morgan is the Managing Director of the Smart networks ecosystem at Commonwealth Bank of Australia which covers clients across technology, telecommunications, health, education, media and entertainment.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.