Australian companies pin survival on disruptive technology

COVID-19 has sent industries reeling and businesses are still a long way from coming out the other side and knowing what the world will look like. While the pandemic has caused many organisations to halt investment in technology, it has also served as an impetus for others to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.

Australian companies are specifically prioritising investments in AI, Cloud, Blockchain and Edge Computing, according to new KPMG International and HFS research that surveyed 900 technology executives. Australian respondents are driven to emerging technology because it is seen as essential to business survival, at least compared to global data.

Cost reduction was a secondary driver for investment for Australian respondents. They’re instead driven by a desire to improve decision making and customer experience. It’s not a dramatic shift but it is an acceleration on current tech strategies.

Globally, 57 percent of executives surveyed report that COVID-19 has significantly changed their organisation’s strategic priorities. Fifty nine percent say that COVID-19 has created an impetus to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, yet approximately four in 10 say they will halt investment in emerging technology altogether as a result of COVID-19. Executives have shifted their focus to must-have technologies, and 56 percent of those surveyed say cloud migration has become an absolute necessity due to COVID-19.

The biggest issues preventing technology initiatives delivering value in Australia are predominantly not technical. They are related to organisational culture, commitment to the expected benefits and worries about the risk of failure. 20 percent of Australian executives reported challenges with changing the culture of their organisation, far higher than globally (12 percent). Australian respondents are also further away from seeing value from emerging technologies, particularly in 5G and edge computing compared with organisations in the rest of the world.

Australian clients have a more variable approach to cloud technologies, with lower maturity for containerisation and hybrid cloud, but a greater focus on building micro services. The results also indicates the majority of organisations will continue to focus on uplifting the maturity of data platforms and analytics — 73 percent of respondents stated the need for further investment in enterprise data platforms.

Emerging technologies and new ways of working can play a significant role in the transformation to a more digital economy. These technologies are helping Australian organisations build customer, citizen and stakeholder trust, keep remote workforces connected, increase business resilience and build a strong foundation for future product and service innovation.

Organisations making the highest investments see greater returns than those making the smallest; in fact, those in the highest quartile of investments were significantly more likely to say they have already realised tangible value.

The COVID pandemic isn’t affecting all industries equally, but for many of the industries facing crisis, managing the transition to a digital business model is imperative. However, doing so is made more complicated in a time where investments are critical but cash must be preserved. Now, more than ever, organisations need to make smart investments in emerging technologies if they are to prevail in the medium- to long-term. Those who don’t risk threatening their own survival.

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