AIIA delivers four-point plan for digital innovation

Peter Terlato 11 July 2016

Digital economy

Calls for the government to assist in transforming the digital economy.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), which represents organisations in Australia's digital ecosystem, has outlined four key areas the new Coalition government must prioritise in order to help transform Australia to a digital economy.

AIIA CEO Rob Fitzpatrick congratulated the Turnbull-led government on its election but warned Australia's prosperity hinges on continued technological innovation in order to create jobs, grow the economy and improve global competitiveness.

"Digital technology is advancing rapidly, from smart phones that monitor your fitness, measure speed, height and distance, and remotely manage home thermostats and lights, to the way we manage our crops, cattle and mines, research cures for disease, manage city congestion, and deliver services to the most remote parts of our country. Without a doubt, digital technology will underpin our entire economy," he said.

In order to lead this innovation revolution, Fitzpatrick points to four key areas of focus:

1. Development and maturity of Australia’s digital talent and skills base

In order to grow and develop a data-driven workforce, the AIIA suggests a coordinated approach to STEM education, encouraging further diversity (women and mature aged workers) and improved opportunities for information and communications technology uni graduates.

2. Business adoption and integration of digital technology

Digitisation can improve many aspects of a business and while large corporations are educated and equipped to handle this transformation, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can struggle.

"They [SMEs] lack awareness of what options are available to them and they lack the capacity to implement changes even when they identify them, limiting the ability to grow their business," Fitzpatrick said.

The AIIA encourages SMEs to take advantage of proposed tax cuts to invest in the development of their digital capabilities, education and training resources.

3. Delivery of high performing, competitive digital infrastructure; and

Fast and reliable internet is essential to digital economic growth. The AIIA urges the government to accelerate the roll-out of the NBN and 5G wireless technologies.

"It is an undisputed fact that Australia is falling behind in broadband speeds, and the delay in improving our infrastructure is putting our economic prosperity at risk," Fitzpatrick said.

4. Digital transformation of government.

A recent study by Deloitte Access Economics revealed 40% of the estimated 811 million annual federal and state government transactions are still effected through traditional channels.

"This past election itself has been a great example. With electronic voting in place, we would have known the outcome of the election far sooner and the electoral process would cost fewer taxpayer dollars to run in the long term," Fitzpatrick said.

Despite the advent of digitisation, the global finance industry is limping into the technological age, still reliant upon decades old services and fee structures.

According to a recent survey, 64% of traditional financial service providers don't feel well prepared to engage with digital natives and 50% of fintech companies only feel reasonably well prepared.

Picture: Shutterstock

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