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Australian firms need to move faster in the digital age

Just over a tenth of IT professionals in Australia say their companies can roll out a new product in less than three months, despite operating in fast-moving markets with digitally savvy customers

Australian companies are struggling to roll out products quickly, with just more than 10% of them saying they can bring a new product to market in less than three months, a report has revealed.

In addition, 29% of 110 IT professionals surveyed said it took three to six months to bring a product to market, according to the State of digital transformation in Australia research report by technology consultancy Contino.

Worryingly, more than half admitted it took them six to 18 months to produce and launch a product, and 11% said it took more than 18 months. While such timelines might satisfy quarterly board reports, they are not acceptable in today’s fast-moving consumer space with digitally savvy customers and prospects.

When it comes to releasing product updates, the study found that it took IT teams an average of 30 days to do so, which is a long time amid the dramatic rise in cyber security breaches in Australia in recent years.

According to a government report, more than 90% of Australian companies experienced a cyber security breach or threat in 2016 that compromised confidentiality, integrity and availability of network data or systems. This number is only set to soar unless businesses can promptly roll out product updates.

Meanwhile, the report also outlined some opportunities as well as obstacles for technology departments this year.

On average, respondents rated their digital maturity level an optimistic 3.5 out of five, with the chief technology officer leading an organisation’s digital vision and strategy in most instances.

The report also found that improving customer experience and engagement was the top objective of digital strategies for 47.8% of respondents in 2018, followed by increasing efficiency (19.6%).

However, to reach these objectives and remain digitally competitive, IT teams need to overcome a number of challenges. The biggest barriers include too many competing priorities (34.2%), followed by lack of organisational agility (21%) and lack of overall strategy (13.2%).

Read more about digital transformation in APAC

  • Australia will achieve the prosperity and wage increases it seeks only by driving deeper adoption of digital technologies among businesses and the public sector.
  • Communications service providers should gear up for a software-driven operations model and embrace microservices and DevOps to thrive in the digital economy.
  • Businesses in Singapore are fine-tuning their digital transformation efforts, with a third of them moving public cloud workloads to on-premise systems.
  • The internet of things is gaining momentum, with 92% of large organisations putting the technology as the top priority in their digital transformation efforts.

Andrew Brydon, Contino’s vice-president of consulting in Asia-Pacific (APAC), said with the digital revolution changing the way people interact with companies and vice versa, businesses need to radically change if they are to stay competitive.

“Technology teams need to quickly adapt their organisational operations to meet the demands of the digital era and the app economy. To do this, processes need to be streamlined and automated to support a new kind of customer experience,” he added.

However, Brydon warned that such a huge task cannot be completed overnight, and companies that rush to digitally transform their entire operations will fail.

“To avoid failure, the answer is not to undertake massive digital transformation, but instead start with smaller digital transformation projects that will allow organisations to embed new ways of working which can be rolled out over time – without turning the department and its already full to-do list upside down,” he said.

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