On Tuesday night, October 6 2020, the Australian Federal Government released the 2020-21 Budget, with hundreds of billions of dollars in spending, in an attempt to give Australians and the economy a softer landing from the shock of lockdowns and the loss of millions of jobs, all as a result on the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the virus still yet undefeated, the 2020-21 Budget is the Federal Government's response to it all, and there have been many moving parts to the puzzle that have affected people in different ways.
So, what do leaders from IT vendors Nintex, WatchGuard Technologies, blueAPACHE, Tecala, Zscaler, Tradify, ExtraHop, Forbury, LogRhythm, MaxContact, Attivo Networks, and Ping Identity have to say about the most consequential budget in Australia's history during this most incredible year of virus pandemic?
The Australian Information Industry Association or AIIA came out to welcome billions in new digital funding to transform the Australian economy into one that is much more digital.
Then there's the Lightning Council Australia, which welcomed the announcement to "reverse plans to cut an estimated $1.8 billion from the Research and Development Tax Incentive Program".
Both Pure Storage's commentary on the $800 million Digital Business Plan package and Digital Realty's thoughts on 5G mobile services and the budget can be seen here.
Then we get to the leaders of the twelve IT vendors listed above, starting with Christian Lucarelli, Vice President Sales, Asia Pacific, Nintex.
Lucarelli said: “The Federal Government announcement to provide a $800m budget plan to help businesses go digital presents Australian companies with a fantastic opportunity to look at the way they currently operate and find ways to invest and innovate through the adoption of technology. One of the biggest trends is to invest in technology that drives automation, not to remove the need for people, but as a tool to standardise, grow and free up employees’ time to focus on customers and growth – it’s a win-win for all."
Mark Sinclair, ANZ Regional Director, WatchGuard Technologies:
Sinclair said: “I welcome the government's initiative to invest in helping businesses go digital. However, more digital connectivity increases the likelihood of cyberattacks. This budget announcement with its instant asset write-off will help Australian businesses cope with the financial burden of increased cyber security.
"It will also support Australian companies and businesses obtain the technology and awareness training required for effective mitigation of modern cyber threats. In turn, this will also help drive more jobs in the local cyber security industry and is a recipe that the Morrison government should consider for future stimulus packages.”
Chris Marshall, Managing Director blueAPACHE:
Marshall said: “The government’s prudent decision to invest in Australia’s digital future will now further accelerate cloud adoption among businesses of all sizes and encourage organisations to completely rethink their approach to technology. Right now, with workforces distributed, there's an urgent need to harness emerging devices, software and services while at the same time extracting maximum value from existing investments.
"Gone are the days where an organisation's IT department could design and build systems based on clear, five-year plans. The luxury of having the time to scope out requirements, assess a range of vendors, test and then deploy company-wide systems is no longer available. Any organisation that believes it can confidently plan more than two years ahead is likely to be misguided.
“Faced with constantly changing customer demands and a rapidly evolving competitive landscape, an organisation’s technology infrastructure must be able to change just as quickly. In the era of the post-pandemic empowered customer, the end game is to know what your customers want, before they know they want it. This budget will support companies to innovate and rapidly evolve so that they can become more agile and even more customer obsessed.”
Pieter DeGunst, Managing Director, Tecala:
DeGunst said: “We welcome the government’s initiative to support SME organisations to accelerate their digital transformation efforts.
"When COVID hit, many organisations were forced to create temporary solutions to enable work from home, but the investment into systems and processes to operate from anywhere at anytime will revolutionise our abilities to access talent across Australia and compete globally.”
Budd Ilic, ANZ Country Manager, Zscaler:
Ilic said: “We welcome the Federal Government’s focus on digitisation fit for purpose in the post-COVID-19 world. Indeed, applying new technology to achieve better results will become an overwhelming focus for business in the year ahead as organisations deploy solutions that drive revenue and make them more productive.
"A part of that investment will involve retiring legacy technologies and migrating to cloud based systems that allow companies to be more agile and productive. This is particularly evident in cybersecurity where solutions can now be delivered and consumed as a service and ideal for combatting ransomware which has risen sharply since the outbreak of Covid19 as well as threats from state-based actors.
“It is imperative that the Government ensures robust and consistent investment in providing protection across all departments and agencies irrespective of size. During times of rapid change, it can be tempting to put your head down and simply continue with business as usual. However, this is no longer an option and the government’s budget provides a positive incentive to further adopt cloud platforms so that they can help companies and the customers they serve with new service and opportunities.”
Michel Steckler, CEO, Tradify:
Steckler said: “It’s encouraging to see the Federal Government invest in additional support for small businesses, including apprentice subsidies. As our recent Tradify Pulse research found, most Australian tradespeople have been spared the worst of the COVID-19 downturn.
"However, inefficient systems and processes mean many trade business owners are spending hundreds of hours a year on paperwork that could be better spent on the tools.
"Many tradies struggle with the process of finding new work, managing jobs, getting invoices out and staying on top of their cash flow. New government support should help tradies take advantage of the post-COVID boom by investing in tools that will help them work smarter and put them in a better position to make the most of new business opportunities ahead as the economy opens up. “
Glen Maloney, ANZ Regional Sales Manager, ExtraHop:
Maloney said: "Today, there's no certainty in business but this budget provides a great morale boost and an injection of funding support for Australian businesses to help them navigate the changes brought on by the pandemic and to make the most of the opportunities they bring.
"With the potential for greater automation and digitisation, business owners and managers will now have enhanced ability to make informed decisions the moment issues or changes are identified. Strategies can be developed, acted upon and their success measured, and further improvements can be introduced in shorter and shorter cycles of time.
"However, security will play a crucial role in this equation. It is much easier to ensure profitability and keep customers happy when managers are equipped with information that is secure, accurate and available in real time.”
Ashley Lane, Business Development Manager – ANZ, Forbury:
Lane said: “We are pleased to see the government invest in infrastructure and recognise the importance of supporting job creation at this time.
"Not only will this turbocharge a return of business to the central business districts and urban commercial hubs within Australia’s major cities but it will propel the commercial real estate industry with confidence to invest in their drive for innovation, sustainable operating business practices as well as forge a path forward to prosper in the post-COVID economy.”
Joanne Wong, Vice President International Marketing APAC, LogRhythm:
Wong said: “We applaud the government’s focus on digital project investment which builds on its previously announced ten year investment strategy in cyber security. Australia will also be in a much better position to tackle the IT security issues that will continue to increase in coming years.
"Indeed, the government’s zeal should now spur company management within businesses of all sizes grappling with a remote workforce and uncertain market conditions to take a proactive approach and review their cyber security hygiene.
"This will benefit employees and customers of organisations who will want to know that management have the latest technology in place which can detect threats and help quickly remediate attempted attacks if they do happen.”
Daniel Harding, Director – Australia Operations, MaxContact:
Harding said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of the role played by contact centres, particularly during times of uncertainty, when anxiety and enquiries spiked. Here in Australia and around the world, government agencies and businesses raced to beef up their capacity to field and resolve enquiries, as the coronavirus crisis unfolded.
"This budget and its emphasis in fuelling investment in automation and digitisation provides Australian businesses with an incentive to invest in improving the omni-channel experience which should now be an imperative for Australian organisations which are serious about improving the quality of the customer experience they deliver.”
Jim Cook, ANZ Managing Director, Attivo Networks:
Cook said: “This budget investment in digital skills and support is a great opportunity for organisations to take a proactive approach and invest in cyber security solutions that enable network infrastructure to support business continuity and today’s distributed workforce.
"Our experience shows that while many large Australian enterprises still lack a comprehensive approach to detecting and combating threats they need to face the reality that motivated hackers don’t take a holiday. Indeed, they will always find a way into the network – detecting them and limiting their movement is crucial to stopping the threats in their tracks.
“The support for businesses of all sizes in this budget should encourage management to review their overall IT and cyber security strategy and take a hard look at the the potential implementation of modern technologies which can combat attackers and reduce the chance of customers suffering loss of privacy and identity.”
Mark Perry, Chief Technology Officer Asia Pacific, Ping Identity:
Perry said: “Ping Identity is supportive of the Digital Business Plan announced by the Morrison Government on September 29. In particular, the funding to support the rollout of the Consumer Data Right (CDR) to banking and energy is welcomed. We anticipate this will assist in streamlining the onboarding process for data recipients, which is currently limiting the expansion of the programme.
"It is also hoped that this will fund the release of a complete testing suite to solution vendors, to provide Data Holders and Data Recipients with confidence as they make important technology decisions for CDR compliance.
“Ping Identity has long been an advocate for a secure, user-friendly and cost-effective government digital identity system that can be shared with and trusted by the private sector. It's pleasing to see funding for this in the plan and we are hopeful that the government works closely with the local identity security industry to facilitate that outcome.”
The Government's 1 minute Budget 2020-21 overview video is embedded below:
The Budget 2020-21 JobMaker Plan video is below: