Australian business could use a digital reality check

Competitors using new technologies…are the driving force behind digital transformation and in order to stay relevant and competitive, organisations must be willing to transform or face going out of business.

A new Transformation Study 2016 from IDC and Canon shows 82% of Australian businesses are well in the midst of their digital transformation journey or have at least started, the remaining 18% have no digital transformation strategy or are evaluating one.

Whilst eight out of ten believe they are on the path to digital transformation, when asked how businesses work with print and document processes only 14% have completely digitised processes and more than 28% still work with paper-based documents.

IDC Research Director Adam Dodds said the study shows the perception and the reality of where businesses are at is different.

‘Whilst the study shows businesses have started down the path, the results indicate they’re not as advanced as they think they are and could use a digital reality check.

IDC predict by 2020, one third of top market share leaders will be significantly disrupted by competitors using new technologies. They are the driving force behind digital transformation and in order to stay relevant and competitive, organisations must be willing to transform or face going out of business. The rising cost of operations, new business models and changing customer-buying patterns are all factors in the disruptive state of affairs right now.

‘Businesses need to have a strategy for a digital world not a digital strategy. It’s critical that strategy starts with the customer and aligns the business to customer needs – that way the business evolves with the customer.’

The study shows 59% of businesses are at the point where data from digital sources exceeds that from paper-based sources at 41%. The gap is anticipated to widen over the coming five years, digital sources will increase to 78% and paper-based will decrease to 22% by 2020.

In terms of what outcomes IT decision makers are looking for from transformation, the stand-out result is improved decision-making, at 89%.

‘The key here is about improving the visibility of business information to inform decision-making processes. Efficiency dominated the other top factors – increased speed, reduced human error and reduced cost,’ Dodds said.

Interestingly 78% said they want to achieve improved employee experience, higher than wanting to improve customer experience at 55%.

Canon Australia Head of Customer Marketing Nitya Padman believes the strong result on employee experience is because businesses realise they need to transform their processes and workflows if they’re going to attract and retain young talent.

‘Employees are a critical part of the transformation process, if they aren’t on board it’s very hard to change processes and practices,’ Ms Padman said.

‘The study shows 47% of businesses feel change management is a barrier to digital transformation and successful change hinges on employee experience.’

Trends in the study also point to differences between SMEs and larger businesses.

SMEs are heavily reliant on IT to help them stay agile, counter costs and improve productivity. Their needs are immediate and they’re more readily able to transform to create more efficient workflows and improve ways of interacting with customers.

‘In short, smaller businesses are punching above their weight and moving ahead in the digital race,’ Ms Padman said.

‘For larger businesses a big motivator to transform is the rising cost of doing business. Larger organisations are heavily impacted by legacy systems – a major deterrent to progressing faster along the digital transformation journey.

‘The study clearly shows whatever size your business is, be realistic about where you’re at on your digital transformation journey or risk getting left behind in an increasingly digital world,’ Padman concludes.

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