Like their overseas peers, Australia’s biggest companies and government enterprises have undergone a rapid, Covid-fuelled acceleration in digitalisation.
This is despite the country largely avoiding the systemic upheavals experienced in countries where the virus has run wild.
Business-as-usual has been swept away by a rising tide of pandemic-induced changes to the way people work.
Which is why the way business and government leaders build future work readiness and digital fitness is the focus of the iTnews Digital Nation series in 2021.
The series will lead up to a one-week online festival for subscribers starting on August 16, which will feature transformation expertise from leaders across the C-Suite.
Evidence from industry researchers including Gartner and management consultants such as PwC and McKinsey reveals a very different response from boards and management teams to the pandemic than to the last great crisis, the GFC.
PwC published a report in March this year about the results of its global CEO study, which found that, “Today’s digital focus contrasts with the situation in 2010, after the global financial crisis, when the biggest investment priority for CEOs in our survey was gaining cost efficiencies.”
The focus on transformation was already evident after six months of the pandemic.
In the second half of 2020, for instance, Gartner found that 70 percent of the board directors it surveyed intended to accelerate digitalisation.
McKinsey said its corporate clients had, on average, undergone seven years of acceleration in the first six months of the pandemic.
While Australian business leaders say they are also accelerating their digital efforts, there is evidence to suggest they are being outpaced in the race to build a decision-making culture that enables managers and teams to respond quickly to shifts in consumer demand or competitive behaviour.
Research by MIT CISR reveals Australian companies lag their global peers when it comes to investing in their people to equip and empower them for digital business. It also reveals the cost of their tardiness.
A global study of more than 1300 companies, titled ‘Equipping and empowering the future ready workforce’, investigated the degree to which employees are empowered and capable of functioning productively in a digital business.
Across the world, few companies believe their workforces are genuinely future ready.
But the majority of Australian businesses are still stuck in the lowest of five tiers identified by the researchers – one of the poorest results in the study.
This year’s Digital Nation series will delve into why Australia ranks poorly for digital fitness and what business leaders can do about it.
The one-week online festival for subscribers will feature a keynote presentation by Kristine Dery, one of the co-authors of the MIT CISR study.
The same week, CEOs, digital entrepreneurs and other C-Suite executives will feature in a series of mini documentaries, in which they describe their experiences building digital fitness into organisations.
Hell is other people
The one-week festival will also feature a panel of CIOs and chief digital officers who will discuss one of the most vexing problems facing technology leaders – prioritisation and how to build alignment and support across the C-Suite for change.
And the week will include video case studies of significant transformation programs from C-Suite executives across marketing, sales, human resources and customer experience departments.
They will bring a fresh business perspective to the transformational impact of information technology.
Finally, Mirvac chief digital officer William Payne will bookend Digital Nation with a presentation that touches on many of the key themes of the Digital Nation festival week.
Register below to access a week of special videos, podcasts and keynotes about digital fitness for iTnews Digital Nation subscribers, commencing August 16.