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Why A/NZ executives struggle to meet changing customer demands

Fri 2 Nov 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Just 4.5 per cent of Australian and New Zealand businesses are Digital Leaders, according to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index (the DT Index). The DT Index, which was completed in collaboration with Intel, maps digital transformation progress of mid to large-sized companies and examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders. 

The study reveals that 30 per cent of Australian and New Zealand heads of business believe their organisation will struggle to meet changing customer demands within just five years and 22 per cent of Australian and New Zealand business fear they’ll be left behind.

The DT Index’s calculations are based on companies’ perceived performance in the following areas: delivering against the core attributes of a digital business**, their existing IT strategy, workforce transformation strategy and planned investments.

Two years after the DT Index’s initial launch in 2016, Dell Technologies and Intel have more than doubled the scope of the research, from 16 countries to 42 and benchmarked 4,600 businesses.

The Digital Transformation Index also reveals that too many companies are coasting in the middle group or stuck in the bottom two groups, meaning they’re either moving too slowly or don’t even have a digital plan in place.

Barriers to digital transformation

According to the research, 93 per cent of Australian and New Zealand businesses are facing major impediments to digital transformation today.

The top five barriers to digital transformation for Australia and New Zealand are:

1.Lack of budget and resources (36%)

2.Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns (34.5%)

3.Immature digital culture: lack of alignment and collaboration across the company (31.5%)

4.Information overload (29%)

5.Lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise (27.5%)

These barriers are hampering digital transformation efforts. For instance, 78 per cent of Australian and New Zealand business leaders believe that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout the organisation. Only 14 per cent of Australian and New Zealand businesses strongly agree they’ll disrupt rather than being disrupted within five years.   “We’ve talked about being on the cusp of tremendous change for some time now. That’s no longer the case,” said Mark Fioretto, Managing Director, Enterprise, Dell EMC, ANZ. “The next digital era has arrived and it’s reshaping the way we live, work and conduct business. Which means that time is of the essence. Genuine transformation needs to happen now, and it needs to be radical.”

Conquering their challenges 

The research indicates that businesses are taking steps to overcome their barriers and the threat of being outmanoeuvred by more nimble, innovative players. Although progress in these areas is patchy, even between Australian and New Zealand businesses:

  • 40% of Australian and 36% of New Zealand businesses are embracing agile software development (allowing them to code and securely launch new applications within much shorter cycles).
  • 50% of Australian and 41% of New Zealand businesses are building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms.
  • Both countries have acknowledged a skills gap with 43% of Australian and 40% of New Zealand businesses striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code.
  • 62% of Australian businesses are sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills, compared to 43% of New Zealand businesses.

Companies are also turning to emerging technologies and cybersecurity to power (and secure) their transformation.

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