Tuesday, 05 February 2019 11:54

Future-proofing your business in 2019 – five key questions


Disruption and competitive threats face every business, so what's some advice on how to handle this reality in 2019 so your business is the one doing the disruption, rather than being disrupted?

In today’s disruptive and increasingly digitised business world, demand for change has come quickly and often, from unexpected places, and without warning, according to Jordan Griffiths, Accenture’s Operations Lead for Australia and New Zealand.

He states that "the emergence of new and innovative competition has resulted in the blurring of traditional industry boundaries and shifting customer expectations across the enterprise, from suppliers and partners to employees and customers".

According to Accenture's research, we're told that "more than half of (53%) of Australian organisations’ concern with disruption and competitive threats is driving their digital investments. This demand for digital is having a ripple effect from an enterprise level through to federal government, with the new Digital Transformation Strategy outlining its commitment to delivery all services digitally.

Griffiths continued: "Businesses can no longer rely on traditional methods — process optimisation, cost reduction, and predictability — to improve performance, which are not delivering what’s needed to meet growing customer expectations for 2019.

"To survive and thrive, both today and tomorrow, enterprises must be able to act, and react quickly – with intelligence, insight, and confidence, while growing their core business and in parallel, scaling new services and products."

As you'd expect, Griffiths states Accenture's belief that "the future belongs to organisations with ‘Intelligent Operations’ who are able to balance these changes".

As we move into 2019, there are five key questions Griffith and Accenture say Australian businesses should consider:

1. Do you have the right talent to navigate the future?

"Talent is central to innovation and creating valuable solutions for customers. It’s undoubtedly the most important asset.

"Enterprises will require right-brain individuals with a collaborative culture, who are well versed with design thinking, as well as those specialised in digital, business process and industry skills.

"These skills and aptitudes are rarely embodied by one person, so businesses must create agile talent sourcing and contingent labour models that can flex up and down with market demand to access the right people at the right time.

"Businesses must also invest and develop comprehensive training strategies to equip the current workforce with the required skills, which is a mix of business, analytics, cloud technology and industry experience.

"Leading technology company HP has introduced its ‘Intentional People Strategy’ in the Asia Pacific region, a multi-faceted talent strategy with a vision to cultivate a growth mindset to drive workforce innovation and empowerment.

"Additionally, Accenture has been rolling out a ‘Truly Human’ program that supports the right mindsets for people to maximise their strengths and passions while at work, and find a balance to enable them to spend time with family, friends and the wider community."

2. Can you cut through the noise, get to the right data and drive real transformation?

"Capturing business data to inform current performance and improve future operations is essential.

"Enterprises often collect and store diverse sets of data (internal, external, third-party, partner data) but should spend more time to process, deploy and monetise the data and turn into insights.

"These insights should solve the enterprises’ biggest problems, using analytics techniques and algorithms to be the basis for machine learning and lead to real time operational adjustments and changes. This is critical for digital and customer experience led organisations.

"For example, Coca Cola saw recent success in harnessing its data strategy through the development of a digitally-led loyalty program. The program allowed the organisation to collect essential first-party data from its customers’ point systems through social authentication.

"Leveraging a growing database, Coca Cola analysed its customer data to drive sales of products and ‘upsell’ new drink product ranges, which resulted in stronger profits as well as an improved organisational structure."

3. Are you deploying applied intelligence to improve your ability to gain data-driven insights and innovate faster?

"According to Gartner, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralised data centre or cloud in 2019, a 10% increase from 2018.

"Enterprises must put data at the core, leverage applied intelligence – the spectrum of automation, advanced analytics, natural language processing, and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies – to unlock unique intelligence and drive innovation.

"As an example, UOB Bank, based in Singapore has partnered with regtech firm Tookitaki Holding to introduce a machine learning solution. Using Big Data analytics, the bank is able to drive risk management by both reducing the calculation time of the value at risk and leveraging data to carry out real-time risk analysis."

4. Is your infrastructure agile and flexible enough to anticipate and adjust to customer requirements and to improve your competitiveness?

"Enterprise applications of all types require flexible and real-time data accessibility, which has increased the importance of IT infrastructure significantly. Companies should also consider creating a multi-cloud environment to achieve agility.

"Cloud has proven to have a positive impact on businesses by providing speed to innovation, lower IT costs and the agility and scalability to adjust to customer needs on demand.

"Findings from a Salesforce report found the Australian economy could be boosted by $9.2 billion by 2020 through an expansion of the nation’s cloud capabilities. A multi-tenant environment to support business processes and Intelligent Operations will become the only way to produce a sustainable business model."

5. Are you establishing smart partnerships and fully leveraging the innovation potential across the ecosystem to accomplish your goals?

"Today’s enterprises require continuous, real-time innovation and a network of connected ecosystem partners where all benefit from, and leverage, a wide set of capabilities and resources to support innovation. Businesses are encouraged to build a broad ecosystem of diverse partners to allow them to focus on their operations less on the complex nuances of technology.

"For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has collaborated and launched a platform with Kaleido, a start-up that aims to help enterprises implement blockchain technology.

"It is increasingly important to have an open mindset to ecosystem collaboration, working with a range of different organisations to co-create and adapt to digital disruption.

"Organisations must put Intelligent Operations at the heart of the enterprise to build capabilities that enable them to become more flexible, agile, and responsive; generate value more quickly; and achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

"Success in 2019 belongs to businesses that transform their core, grow their core while scaling new products and services, by using diverse data to create an intelligent, with seamless processes and digital capabilities to create, enable and support these new customer experiences."

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.





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