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Monday, 04 May 2015 09:54

Australian companies lagging in uptake of digital technologies

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Accenture has released new research showing Australian companies are lagging in their uptake of digital technologies, but use of mobile applications to drive benefits is on the increase.

Accenture's study, Growing the Digital Business: Accenture Mobility Research 2015, revealed more work is needed to address challenges preventing Australian companies from accelerating adoption of digital technologies.

82% of Australian executives from large enterprises (>$US1b revenue) said their company has made "significant inroads" in leveraging digital technologies in the past year, but only one quarter believe they have been "highly successful in adopting mobility, cloud, social or analytics.

These results lag significantly behind other nations. In Brazil 40% of companies cite being "highly successful" in adopting mobile, cloud, social and analytics technologies in the previous year.

However, Australian executives were ahead of the global average in recognising implementation of digital technologies has a broad array of positive outcomes.

56% of Australian executives (vs. 48% globally) see digital technologies as creating new revenue opportunities, 54% (vs. 45%) as penetrating new markets, and 45% (vs. 40%) as transforming the way their company operates.

Only China was more consistently positive than Australia about the realised and potential benefits of digital technologies.

Abe Sahely, Accenture Mobility lead in Australia and New Zealand, states Accenture's research has elsewhere found "the penetration of digital technologies in business and economics leads to greater productivity, competitiveness and economic growth."

"Becoming a digital business is critical to the success of any company," Sahely says.

Sahely says, "The Accenture Mobility Research 2015 report is an important 'check-up' on the adoption of digital technologies by Australian businesses, and it's clear from the results that more can be done to take full advantage of the potential of digital."

The interesting question then is if Australian businesses view digital technologies as bringing benefits why is the uptake so slow?

78% of Australian respondents believe mobile apps are necessary to fully realise the benefits of digital technologies, including increased speed to market and greater collaboration.

Yet, despite awareness of the benefits any widespread adoption and use of apps is yet to occur in Australian companies. The most popular type of app - operational apps, like timesheets and expenses - are only used by 47% of respondents, and bespoke enterprise apps used by merely 25% of Australian companies.

According to the survey the biggest barriers to adoption and ongoing successful use of mobile apps are a positive user experience (50%), consistent and reliable performance (46%) and security of enterprise data (43%).

Interestingly, and perhaps correspondingly, a mere 38% of Australian companies stated they have a comprehensive testing program before launch. This compares unfavourably with the United Kingdom results of 62%.

49% - so less than half - said their apps have an intuitive user interface which enhances the user experience, compared to 75% in the United Kingdom.

Only 50% of Australian companies stated they have a mobile security solution integrated with their existing enterprise security mechanisms. This compares unfavourably with the Brazil result of 79%.

The research thus provides evidence that while Australian businesses recognise the need to adopt greater mobility strategies their uptake is low, and provides insights into the challenges being faced that are constraining this uptake.

"Enterprises must be clear about what they are trying to achieve with mobile apps," Sahely states. "Organisations must ensure they have a clear strategy in place that covers the lifecycle of applications, including design, testing, build, ongoing management and updates to ensure the application remains highly functional and in-use by employees."

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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