In this article, I will discuss some of the top trends that make this future possible, as well as the drivers that will contribute to its growth going forward.
#1: Rise in adoption of cloud-based technology and AI
The disruption caused by COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of innovative technologies at an unprecedented rate. A survey conducted before the pandemic observed that a small majority (51%) pre-crisis had favoured digital methods for engaging with companies src. A recent survey concluded that 97% of executives agreed that they feel more confident to deploy digital tools (such as AI) in the next two years than they had before the pandemic src.
To truly harness the power of technology, Australian industries will need to embrace the power of the cloud and cloud services, modernize legacy systems, and optimize access to data and information. These are prerequisites to enable effective adoption of analytics and AI which can be used by organisations to develop deeper insights, make better decisions, and engage customers as never before.
#2: Adoption of resilient operating models
COVID-19 has redefined the nature of work. Companies are grappling with prioritization of activities, assigning responsibilities and initiating process changes that will add value under dynamic circumstances. As stakeholders adapt to operating and buying through digital channels, resiliency, agility, speed to market and cost competitiveness will form the backbone of successful Aussie tech firms. Companies must also be careful to not carry dead weight such as legacy processes, additional overhead, etc. into the next normal.
#3: Increased investment in tech
Australia’s response to the pandemic and its economic stabilization programs has led to a strong international reputation at a time when the U.S. and China are struggling to retain investor confidence. In the long-term, this is certain to attract overseas investments. As the economy recovers, the growth of digital initiatives will pick up and reach or exceed the pre-pandemic levels. Organizations will prioritise their business continuity and work-from-home arrangements, leading to greater initiatives based on new cloud applications, boosting software investment. In my opinion, the spending on tech consulting and systems integration services will also witness a significant increase.
#4: Building a robust national digital infrastructure
The Australian government’s long-term investment in digitizing its systems paid off in the form of minimal disruption to its public systems during the lockdown. Australia’s MyGovID was in public piloting during parts of 2019 before soft-launching in early 2020. This launch couldn’t have been at a better time. With the eruption of COVID-19, the government’s digital identity service has seen high demand spurred by the shift from physical to online public service delivery and the Australian Taxation Office’s requiring businesses to use myGovID.
While COVID-19 unveiled the need for digitization of government services, it also exposed gaps in its preparedness. In March this year, thousands flocked to the Australian website for Centre link payments. A cyberattack strained it further, causing it to crash.
The government is now embracing the idea of strengthening, digitising, and investing in more of its services, and here lies an opportunity for the tech sector. In the medium to long-term, an active partnership between the government and industry will be required to build a lasting, robust digital infrastructure that benefits both.
#5: Greater attention to cybersecurity
The attack on the myGov website is not an exception. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that cybersecurity lapses are costing the Australian economy over $29 billion annually src. Small and medium enterprises that contribute to more than half of the Australian GDP are the target of 43% of cyber-crimes src.
In the future, cybersecurity is going to be at the top of every company’s business continuity agenda and companies must prepare now, particularly as the government and the regulator’s focus on mandatory compliance regulations increases.
#6: Development of a tech-talent pool
Australian tech continues to be an attractive destination for overseas talent. It is one of the few sectors that has witnessed an increase in base salaries despite the pandemic.
Once the borders open, I expect several initiatives by the government to attract top tech talent including tax incentives and tech education at a lower cost. This is great news for companies looking for avenues to reduce costs and acquiring and retaining top talent to drive their digital transformation agendas forward. Skills in areas like cybersecurity, data insights, change, and program management, AI, and machine learning will be top of mind for organizations.
The AU tech sector is being viewed as a critical infrastructure to rebuild the economy. While a vast majority of countries struggle with the pandemic, Australia has a golden ‘first mover’ advantage to strengthen its tech industry and therefore become the world’s favourite tech destination in the future.
Head, APAC Region and Communications, Media and Entertainment Practice