Thursday, 06 February 2020 12:20

Innovation top priority for Australian businesses Featured

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Businesses in Australia identify innovation as a top priority and are intrigued by the potential of emerging technologies, according to a new report from industry association CompTIA.

At the same time, concerns about cybersecurity readiness and the struggle to find enough workers with the right skills to meet their workforce needs add a measure of caution to their expectations and plans for 2020, CompTIA’s “International Trends in Technology and Workforce” finds.

The survey of business and technology professionals in Australia and 13 other countries identified business priorities for 2020, as well as perceptions of emerging technologies, cybersecurity, workforce skills, professional development strategies, and the future of work.

“The ingredients for innovation have never been more accessible, and tech hubs can now be found in nearly every corner of the globe,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.

“While the research points to momentum on many fronts, there remains much work to be done in helping businesses and workers navigate the path ahead.”

CompTIA says that with global spending on hardware, software, services and telecom projected to reach nearly US$5.2 trillion this year - US$93 billion in Australia – it’s evident that technology has a growing and integral role in business operations.[ A full 95% of Australian companies rate technology as a primary or secondary factor in reaching their business objectives.

According to the survey, a large majority of companies (87%) turn to outside providers to assist with their technology requirements. Consulting and strategy services, cybersecurity, software development, web design and e-commerce and repair and maintenance are among the most common outsourced services. A majority of companies (62%) also report that they get excellent or good return on investment (ROI) from their technology spending.

And one half of Australia businesses have a positive view of emerging technology, while another 18% taking a middle-ground position, expressing equal parts excitement and trepidation. Both percentages are slightly lower than the global results (54% mostly excitement, 21% equal parts excitement and trepidation).

At the other end of the spectrum one in three Australian companies report mostly feelings of trepidation about emerging tech. Risk aversion, budget constraints and a lack of a clear business case are among the primary factors that are causing some organizations to take a go-slow approach.

Although still far from mainstream adoption, the emerging technologies with the highest rates of implementation globally are the internet of things and big data.

Nearly 7 in 10 firms describe their cybersecurity as completely or mostly satisfactory. This indicates much room for improvement, especially with the remainder describing their firm’s approach as simply adequate or inadequate.

For many companies in Australia the perception that current cybersecurity efforts are “good enough” is the top challenge to devoting more attention and resources to the issue. A lack of understanding of new cybersecurity threats is another challenge. Given the projected high growth rates for emerging technologies expected over the next several years, the need for businesses to re-evaluate their approaches to cybersecurity is even more apparent.

Skills gaps remain an ongoing challenge at most organizations, with 46% of Australian executives reporting that situation has grown more challenging over the past two years. That’s the same percentage as the corresponding global result.

The CompTIA research confirms the distinction between the generic use of the phrase “skills gap” and the more nuanced discussion of “workforce gaps” that encompass location, pay, soft skills, perceptions, innovation and more.

Interestingly, 18% of Australian respondents acknowledged that unrealistic expectations with skills and experience contribute to exaggerated perceptions of the skills gap. Another 53% said it is somewhat of a factor.

CompTIA’s “International Trends in Technology and Workforce” report is the result of an online survey of 1,554 business and technology professionals in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Ireland, Japan, the Middle East (Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates), the Netherlands, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

To view the complete report, including country specific data, click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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