Cultural issues slow digital change in Australian companies

By Helen Hull.

It’s not technology or even budget that’s holding Australian organisations back when it comes to digital transformation, it’s culture. New research* of mid- to large-sized Australian businesses highlights the barriers faced along this journey, reinforcing internal organisational issues including a lack of leadership and culture, and aversion to risk taking,

In a regional, APJ study conducted by CA Technologies, the report ‘Digital Transformation Impact and Readiness’, identified leadership and culture as two key factors hindering the success of digital transformation efforts in Australian organisations.

Of 100 Australian business and IT leaders who participated in the study, 56 per cent believed that strong leadership and the right corporate culture – one that embraces risk taking, innovative thinking and talent diversity – are lacking. However, these two factors were still recognised as critical to optimise digital transformation opportunities.

The study uncovered a chasm whereby while 81 per cent of respondents are confident that their organisations are equipped to be competitive, only 16 per cent have fully formed digital transformation initiatives today A further five per cent are looking at fully digitising their whole organisation and 22 per cent have low-risk, small-scale and siloed digital transformation initiatives.

Janice Cox, vice president and managing director of CA Technologies, Australia and New Zealand, commented, “Playing it safe won’t achieve cut-through. In fact, this can be the biggest risk to an organisation. To succeed in today’s hyper digital and competitive economy, business and IT leaders have to dream big and be bold in harnessing disruptive technologies. Then, of course, they need to ensure that everyone in the business is aligned and working collaboratively towards a common goal.”

The research showed that most organisations are still rolling out digital transformation initiatives with the desire to improve operational efficiencies (57 per cent) followed by workforce productivity and collaboration (53 per cent). Yet only half of respondents have the right technologies and technical skillsets to enable digital transformation.

Cox continued, “This indicates that business priorities and objectives are not met with reality, and suggests a misalignment between frontline staff and department leaders. It also reinforces the need for technology to be part of a holistic business strategy that starts from the boardroom and progresses through every facet of an organisation, rather than considered as an afterthought.”

Digital disruptions have impacted businesses around the world, yet the research from CA suggests that in Australia, a clear roadmap is absent today. The research shows that only a third of the respondents thought their organisation has clearly laid out a roadmap for the role that technology plays in the company’s vision of digital transformation.

Just 32 per cent say their organisation has invested in the right resources to provide staff with next-gen computing resources and only 34 per cent say their organisation has set the right policies and technologies in place to protect against cyber-attacks and ensure security.

34 per cent say their organisation has the right manpower and talents to provide always-available IT support, 36 per cent say their organisation can create, launch and maintain quality apps as part of overall digital transformation efforts and 34 per cent say their organisation can support technology resources and requirements with agility,

“Right now, organisations need to urgently reinvent traditional business models and growth strategies by putting digital first. These days, every company is a software company and to remain relevant in today’s competitive marketplace, businesses must be built to change, not built to last.

CA Technologies continues to invest heavily in its Modern Software Factory strategy as a blueprint to help businesses successfully achieve their digital transformation goals,” concluded Cox.

CA Technologies commissioned a survey with over 900 business and IT leaders from Asia Pacific Japan to better understand their digital transformation journeys. The markets included Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand,

All respondents are from mid to large sized organisations, with 47 per cent of respondents operating in large organisations with more than 1,000 staff. The survey took place from early to mid-August 2017 with 100 respondents surveyed in the Australian market.

This item first appeared in the First5000 LinkedIn group of mid-sized Australian businesses.

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