Friday, 27 October 2017 07:38

Australia lags on digital transformation, survey claims Featured

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Australia is the least likely among 12 countries and Hong Kong to believe in having a culture of innovation within its businesses, a survey on digital transformation claims.

Fujitsu's survey also found that about a third (29%) of digital transformation projects in Australia were only at the proof-of-concept stage, with only Ireland and Hong Kong having more in the developmental stage.

Australian digital transformation initiatives were strongly influenced by academics and research institutes with 11% of the respondents in the survey saying that such parties had a key role in shaping their responses.

The survey questioned a total of 1625 business decision-makers from the US (150 decision-makers), the UK (150), China (150), Singapore (50), Ireland (20), Japan (150), Australia (153), Spain (151), Italy (150), Germany (151), Finland and Sweden (150 together) and Hong Kong (50).

The size of the organisations represented varied but all had more than 50 employees and had either begun a digital transformation project or expressed an interest in doing so. The survey was carried out between July and August.

Digital transformation was considered under four categories: people, actions, collaboration and technology. In Australia, actions were seen as the most important driver of transformation. New ideas were valued with 47% saying that digital transformation was being used to create new business functions and processes.

China was well ahead of the others in most areas, with 59% of the respondents saying they had completed digital transformation projects to the point where results were evident. Thirty-nine percent expected to see results in the first six months, more than double any other country or region.

Thirty-five percent of those questioned in China had seen a project fail in the last two years and 40% had cancelled one that did not meet expected standards. However, 76% said that failing projects had been refocused and because of this losses were only half that seen in the other countries surveyed.

But still 47% said that a fear of failure was getting in the way of embarking on digital transformation.

More than 80% of the Chinese companies covered were training existing staff, with nearly all agreeing that upskilling staff would be a vital factor in success. The firms also had no problem about importing expertise with 74% in the business of co-creation with tech experts (79%) being the leading choice of partner.

In the US, the process of transformation laid most emphasis on people, with 45% saying efforts towards this end depended on the type of leaders they had. Given this, US organisations were focused on targeted recruitment (52%) and expertise networks (49%) to increase their digital talent.

Results from the UK showed the country was the most impatient for results from digital transformation moves. A quarter of the respondents expected to see results in the first six months. Twenty-four percent believed that digital technology was the best way to change customer relationships, with only Finland and Sweden holding stronger views on this subject.

UK data showed that 42% had cancelled digital projects in the past two years but only a quarter had experienced failure. The consequences of failure were not much as digital budgets were generally under half a million euros.

The full survey can be downloaded here.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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