Digital practitioners in Australia need to be empowered to continuously execute transformation programs, but a risk averse culture and a disconnect between c-suite leaders is stifling their efforts. 

Those are two key takeaways from upcoming research by Adapt titled, Adapt’s Top 10 Strategic Priorities for Australia – 2020

Adapt, which has run c-suite events locally for the last eight years, has used the data captured from detailed surveys as well as qualitative research from roundtables and interviews with senior executives to inform its findings. 

Ex-Gartner analysts Matt Boon and Aparna Sundararajan, as well as former IDC and IBRS analyst Peter Hindhave have joined Adapt to build up its insights business. 

Presenting the findings at a media event in Sydney this week, Matt Boon, Director of Strategic Research at Adapt, said organisations need to continually execute on their transformation strategy but they are grappling with data, security and managing stakeholders across different organisational silos. 

“There’s legacy mindsets, legacy processes and systems within their organisation. So we need to do much better job of working collaboratively across business units,” Boon said. 

When the analysts asked CIOs which was the most important group to help them develop an innovative and digital-ready culture, 90 per cent said their own IT team. 

“They are not engaging enough with sales, marketing and human resources – the parts of the organisation that know the customer and know their employees – to really get that cross organisational capability and breadth of knowledge to make the right decisions,” Boon said. 

Breaking down those silos comes down to knowing who the stakeholders are and really thinking about how to engage and manage those stakeholders. 

“Silos will only disappear when organisations re-look at the way they align people, processes and technology with business objectives.” 

2020 Strategic Priorities 

The number one strategic priority for Australian businesses in 2020, identified in Adapt’s research, is earning customer loyalty. 

Presenting the findings, Aparna Sundararajan, Senior Research Strategist at Adapt said trust, data security and privacy will be defining factors for brands in the future. 

“Customers want connected, convenient and continuous experiences but not at the cost of their own privacy and that is what earning customer loyalty is going to be about in the future,” Sundararajan said. 

 Adapt’s Top 10 Strategic Priorities are:

  1. Earn customer loyalty 
  2. Build a data-driven business
  3. Architect a secure and resilient organisation 
  4. Drive operational effectiveness 
  5. Think like a technology company 
  6. Tear down organisational silos
  7. Embrace dynamic budgeting 
  8. Develop a people first organisation
  9. Encourage and build a diverse organisation
  10. Future-proof the organisation 

Customer retention and customer acquisitions are top business priorities among digital leaders and CIOs as technology has become an enabler for customer acquisition. However, as customer acquisition costs climb, earning customer loyalty through personalised, in-moment and relevant experiences is going to form a critical part of business strategy, Sundararajan said. 

She cautioned that organisations will need to carefully consider how much personalisation customers really want, which will differ based on age and background. 

Building a data-driven business was the second highest priority. According to Adapt’s research, 80 per cent of organisations do not trust their data, saying they need to understand their data better. 59 per cent say they are struggling to find and hire data scientists and data analysts. 

Just 6 per cent say they are on top of their data management. 

“The future technologies of AI, analytics, robotics – will only make sense if an organisation has a fluid data fabric,” Sundararajan said. 

 The research also identified the CISO role becoming more important. 

“In a world that is going to be run by data, security is the thin invisible line between access and abuse,” Sundararajan said. 

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