Investment in people, not just technology, key to unlocking digital transformation opportunity

Investment in people, not just technology, key to unlocking digital transformation opportunity

We’re passionate about ensuring that no Australian is left behind as individual industries, the national economy and indeed the world is transforming. We believe it’s in the best interest of all businesses to join us in championing the re-skilling of our workers and equipping them to succeed in this digital age.

In fact, today we released a new report in partnership with IDC which outlines the economic and societal impact of digital transformation, and the number one challenge for organisations that were trying to digitally transform was a lack of skills within their business. The stakes are high and so is the opportunity – according to the report, by 2021, digital transformation will be worth a staggering $45 billion to our GDP.

It’s not the investments that we as a nation make in technology that will dictate our ability to transform, rather it’s the investments we make in our people and in our jobs. This theme came out loud and clear in the report with 83% of jobs set to be transformed in the next three years due to digital transformation, with 54% of our workforce redeployed to higher value roles or reskilled to meet the needs of the digital age.

We’d like to see that 54% figure increase and are actively working to ensure it does.

Earlier this year, we announced our National Skills Program, to help people already in the workforce and disadvantaged groups most in danger of falling behind as the economy becomes more and more technology-driven. One of the pilot programs is already in motion and will provide digital literacy skills to 100 ex-automotive supply chain workers impacted by the closure of the Holden plant in Salisbury, South Australia.

It’s imperative that all organisations are reflecting on their training programs and reskilling their workforces so that employees are equipped with the skills needed to thrive in the digital economy. It’s not just the hard skills either. For digital transformation to be successful, there also needs to be a culture shift in the way that workers collaborate and tackle challenges.

Importantly, organisations also need to rebalance the workforce to attract and retain digital talent as well as be open in creating a flexible workforce model.

From a digital skills perspective, LinkedIn’s latest study[1] outlines the ABCs of digital talents required for future economies in the region – artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing. In Australia, the top in-demand skills are in big data, mobile development, as well as user interface and experience design.

However, it’s fair to say we’re making the right steps. It’s encouraging to see that the report estimates that within just the next four years, we expect to see an additional $45 billion of Australia’s GDP derived from digital products and services. And at the business level, we are seeing some amazing examples of Australian businesses deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence as part of their digital transformation initiatives, which will accelerate growth even further. Organisations like University of Canberra and Pact Group are two shining examples of local Aussie innovation.

Those organisations that do make bold steps and bring their employees along in their journey seek to reap significant financial rewards. According to the report, businesses who invest in digital transformation will see 40% improvements in productivity and cost reduction and 50% improvements in profit margin. Economic and societal impact aside, digital transformation is just good business.

The report is an encouraging look at the current landscape and it matches our experiences working with Australian organisations. We truly believe that equipping all Australians for the digital age must be a national priority if Australia is to remain competitive and maintain its record-breaking 26 years of economic growth. It’s a collective effort across all industries as well as government but we’re confident that we’re on the right track.

[1] LinkedIn, The Digital Workforce of the Future. Data as of August 2017.