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Digital Transformation

Is Australia transforming fast enough for digital?

I’m delighted to let our Enterprise customers know Microsoft has released a new report called Embracing digital transformation: Experiences from Australian organisations. The research features insights and case studies from 30 of our customers and partners who are actively pursuing digital transformation programs. It will give you a good sense of how local businesses and government agencies are approaching this critical area.

The report shows there is a wide range of fantastic digital innovation occurring in Australia. In fact, in some cases it’s world-leading, such as Webjet’s use of Microsoft’s new blockchain capabilities in Azure to improve transactions in the travel industry.

Another great example is how our partner, The Yield, is using our Internet of Things (IoT), analytics and machine learning technologies, and its ingenuity, to help Tasmanian oyster farmers and other agribusinesses to significantly cut waste and lift profitability. You’ll also see how the NSW Department of Education has almost tripled the computing and storage resources it offers users over five years of transformation, despite annual budget cuts.

Each of these examples shows the power of digital technologies to transform our economy. They also highlight how the technologies and services we’re creating at Microsoft are becoming essential to the nation’s digital fabric. However, the study also shows how Australian organisations can be divided into two broad camps.

The first camp compromises ‘Proactive and Embracing’ organisations that are enthusiastically adopting digital technologies and related processes. In the case of companies like Domino’s Pizza, they’re also enjoying dramatic results. “Our share price is now over $65. This is not based on product sales alone. We have a high PE ratio because we’ve seen, act and behave like a technology company,” Wayne McMahon, Domino’s Group Chief Information Officer, says in the report.

The second camp – which our research suggests are in the majority across Australia’s business and government community – is described as ‘Motivated but Constrained’. These organisations realise that digital technologies are ushering in profound change and they recognise the need to change, but they are finding it hard for a range of reasons. The top constraint is access to talent, followed by the lack of cultures that support digital transformation and the leadership and clarity of vision needed to drive these programs.

This is the group we need to focus on as a nation, and we need to ensure that ‘Motivated but Constrained’ doesn’t become a tagline for Australia in the digital age. The government and others are right to argue we must innovate and invest if we are to maintain our strong economic performance and there is no area more important than digital. The reason is that mastery of digital technologies – collectively meaning all the phenomenal computing and communications resources now available – is critical to competitiveness in today’s business environment and the effective delivery date of government services.

But where to start or focus? Our report offers a simple framework for thinking about digital transformation and organising programs that will help engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations or reinvent your products and services.

One area I’d like to draw your attention to is the optimisation of operations. This is where our customers are making enormous cost savings from initiatives such as moving their core IT systems to cloud-based infrastructure. For large organisations, these programs are delivering savings in the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Those bottom-line savings can be ploughed back into more visible programs such as new apps and websites that then help to drive top-line revenue and ward off global competitors.

You can access the full study at the link below. My team and I also welcome the opportunity to discuss your unique digital transformation program and challenges.

Download the report: Embracing digital transformation: Experiences from Australian organisations.