Digital Transformation: Why Technology Is Only One Piece Of The Puzzle

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In this opinion piece, Avanade Australia Innovation Lead Eamon Barker lays out his tips for how businesses can navigate the new frontier of business.

The Australian Government has recognised the need to accelerate the growth and development of our local talent and workforce with the recently announced Global Talent Immigration program that aims to promote skills transfer and high-value job creation for Australians.

Businesses are also preparing for the future by investing in the one transformation within their grasp – technology. New research by Avanade shows that C-suite executives are overwhelmingly eager to adopt innovative technologies, but are more hesitant about how to implement and integrate them, and especially question whether they have the internal capability to fully reap the benefits.

Simply put, businesses want to try the latest technologies but many struggle to fully grasp what they are getting into.

From a global survey of 1,200 executives, 90 per cent plan to integrate new technologies such as blockchain, quantum computing, conversational AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and security and privacy technology into their operations in the coming years. They hope these tools will help them engage with their workforce, collaborate with partners, and create products and services for their customers to stay competitive and ultimately, create more revenue.

So much technology, so many more connections

Emerging technologies today are seamlessly interoperable, with format and data sharing possible across networks. Whereas previously, cloud, social and mobile were mainly adopted individually, new technologies serve a shared purpose and must be implemented in tandem.

For example, blockchain records transactions taken from Internet of Things (IoT). More than half (54 per cent) of organisations expect to adopt a suite of technologies, such as blockchain along with IoT and artificial intelligence (AI), rather than any particular technology by itself. Yet only 12 per cent of Australian businesses are completely integrated, with many questioning whether they have the right use case and how to proceed.

People first

For all the enthusiasm for new technology, eight out of 10 respondents aren’t completely confident they understand or have the capabilities to maximise the benefits of emerging technologies. For example, more than half (52 per cent) don’t believe that new security technologies are keeping abreast of new threats.

To match the right skills with today’s changing business landscape, we need to take a holistic, people-centric approach. The most sophisticated, advanced technology will not save a business if it is not solving a particular problem, led by a team of people who knows what they are doing.

Lock it down

When it comes to securing the technology a company does have, there are routine best practices that are not being followed. The research found that only half of the organisations had rules like multi-factor authentication in place to protect passwords, and only a third (33 per cent) use single sign-ons to streamline and secure user access.

This highlights that we don’t necessarily need more security products, but that businesses need to make better use of the ones they have. According to the latest Australian Notifiable Data Breach statistics, 40 per cent of data breaches happen because of compromised credentials.

While businesses should always be looking to technology for ways to improve and expand, simply having the right technology isn’t the solution — businesses also need to look at the bigger picture and integrate the technology using a holistic, connected approach that considers the experience for both employees and customers.

The new frontier means businesses need to identify the capabilities they will need to solve complex problems in the future and either start training their staff, work with partners who hold those capabilities or hire people who have developed that skillset and support a knowledge and skills transfer.

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