As many as 40 per cent of Australia’s CEO are digitally illiterate, according to a new study. In contrast the same report suggests one in three CEOs in Australian organisations lead their digital transformation strategy. 

The report commissioned by DXC technology, Beyond Disruption: Australian organisations race to digital transformational success noted with millennial CEOs on the rise, the rate of digital literacy will too also rise. 

Despite 26 per cent of organisations saying a lack of employee engagement is a likely reason for digital transformation failure, fewer than half are speaking with their employees about digital transformation, disruption or changes due to AI or automation.

The exception seems to be when firms take organisation-wide approaches to digital transformation — where more than three-quarters are providing employees with necessary information.

Seelan Nayagam, managing director for DXC in Australia and New Zealand said, “Less than one-third of organisations today are providing their employees with digital transformation training, indicating more needs to be done to take employees on the transformation journey.

“To achieve success, employee education must be the cornerstone of any digital transformation programme and not regarded as an afterthought.”

New jobs

Digital transformation is fuelling a surge in new IT jobs, with the economy expected to add 35000 new tech roles this year, according to a new study.

The report explained one in five Australian organisations are creating new internal roles to meet the growth of digital transformation.

When it comes to having a digital strategy 41 per cent of businesses said they had one organisation-wide, up 9 per cent from the previous year and 37 per cent said they did have a digital strategy but it varied across business units.

Those who didn’t have a digital strategy but are investigating have gone down 8 per cent from the previous year to 17 per cent.

The report indicated that with roles such as data architect and business intelligence analyst in huge demand, this figure rises to over a third for those in banking and finance, administration, support and professional services.

Twenty-two per cent of organisations are set to create artificial intelligence (AI) specific roles. Almost half of the organisations surveyed see AI and employees working together to complete tasks and more jobs being created (57 per cent) than taken away by digital transformation.

Nayagam said, “Rolling out a digital strategy organisation-wide is now considered a superior approach by the majority of organisations as it best places companies to fend off competitors, innovate and deliver long term outcomes,”

Customer experience is a ket focus for transformation efforts, say the authors, with 62 per cent of respondents at large organisations rating this a top five business priority when implementing a digital strategy.

It was followed by employees at 46 per cent and partners at 25 per cent.

On average, organisations said they have only 2.2 years to integrate digital initiatives to mitigate digital disruption, according to the study.

This level of urgency is not reflected in how quickly firms are adapting; more than two in three are still taking reactive approaches to digital disruption, notably small and mid-sized organisations.

Large organisations, the study revealed, are twice as aggressive in trying to digitally disrupt their industries and partnering with others to disrupt their markets.

Technology to employ

When organisations are considering what technologies to employ for digital transformation, the report revealed 65 per cent are spending or considering investments in 5G and the cellular IoT. Followed by biometrics, next-generation interfaces and deep learning tied at 61 per cent.

The report noted 37 per cent of organisations fear ‘uberisation’ which is the utilisation of computing platforms typically via mobile apps in order to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions between clients and providers.

This approach seems to have had a greater effect on certain industries, including wholesale providers, services companies and government organisations, with over half of the organisations surveyed looking at leapfrogging competitors with radical innovations.

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