The huge and rapid acceleration of digitalisation since the start of 2020 has thrown the issue of organisational digital fitness into harsh relief.
For Australia’s biggest businesses and its large government departments, it is not an encouraging story.
A global study by MIT CISR included local data from the MIT CISR 2021 Adapt Survey which found that 58 percent of Australian firms fail to provide their people with both the workplace technologies and the capabilities to work effectively in a digital world.
That is more than double the global figure of 27 percent, making it one of the worst results in the world.
iTnews Digital Nation interviewed a dozen C-suite executives both on and off the record and identified a range of issues holding Australian organisations back; from the lack of competitive tension to drive investments in technology, to a disregard for skills and capabilities, and a wider failure to develop a decision-making culture.
Some leaders we spoke with raised specific issues in their own industries.
Mark Cohen, the divisional CEO at insurtech Wilbur, and formerly the CTO at real estate advertising giant Domain, cautions of similar pitfalls.
“So let’s say you put in a fantastic new system. It’s a digital enabler, it’s a transformation of the [old] process to a digital process. Very often, you find artifacts of the old process are transferred as well, and you effectively end up with these process artifacts that people do just because they used to have to do them even when they are not necessary in the new process.”
Identifying that that is happening, and overcoming it is the hard part, he says.
“You can’t just supercharge an old-school paper-based process and turn it into a digital process with software and expect that it’s going to be that much more efficient.
“Yes, you will get an incremental efficiency. But the real benefit comes out of understanding the inputs and the outputs and the in-and-out in between.”
“Value stream mapping is a very useful way to understand what the processes should look like. Lean processes will often give you an idea that this is what you should be doing,” he says.
Cohen’s experience underscores how identifying necessary change and then delivering it are two different challenges.
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