Billions added to Australia's GDP via digital transformation

Monday, 12 March, 2018

Billions added to Australia's GDP via digital transformation

An estimated $45 billion will be added to Australia’s GDP by 2021 as a result of digital transformation, according to a new study by Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific.

The research, ‘Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific’, found that lack of skills and resources and siloed, change-resistant cultures were the main challenges for organisations seeking to transform.

“Australia is clearly on the digital transformation fast track. Within the next four years, we expect to see an additional $45 billion of Australia’s GDP derived from digital products and services,” said Microsoft Australia Managing Director Steven Worrall.

“At the same time, organisations are increasingly deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence as part of their digital transformation initiatives, which will accelerate growth even further.

“However, it’s important to note, transformation is about people as much as it is about technology. The top two barriers to digital transformation cited in the study are strongly anchored in an organisation’s ability to empower their people and transform their organisations to take advantage of the opportunity that digital transformation represents.”

The study echoes comments made by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, who said that Australia’s future economy is likely to be built through investment in information technology and the skills in its labour force, rather than the natural resources which have been the backbone of the Australian economy for many years.

According to the Australian business leaders surveyed, one of the societal benefits of digital transformation will be the creation of higher value jobs.

Respondents in Australia believe that 83% of jobs will be transformed in the next three years due to digital transformation, with 54% redeployed to higher value roles or reskilled to meet the needs of the digital age.

“The rise of digital transformation will no doubt affect the labour market where many jobs will evolve and change. While it’s encouraging to see that 66% of respondents are confident young professionals that already have future-ready skills that will help them transition to new roles, organisations must focus on reskilling and upskilling those already in the workforce who may not have the required skill set for the changing economy,” Worrall said.

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched its National Skills Program, which focuses on helping people already in the workforce and disadvantaged groups most in danger of falling behind as the economy becomes increasingly technology-driven.

“Equipping the nation to succeed in the digital age — and ensuring all Australians benefit from it — must be a national priority if Australia is to remain competitive and maintain its record-breaking 26 years of economic growth,” said Worrall.

“Employers across all industries need to commit to helping workers prepare for the digital age. It is going to take a collective effort to ensure that no Australians get left behind and we each need to play our part in shaping and building Australia’s future-ready workforce.”

Microsoft advises that organisations relook at training and reskilling their workforces so that workers are equipped with future-ready skill sets such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. More importantly, they need to rebalance the workforce to attain and attract key digital talent, as well as be open in creating a flexible workforce model where they tap into a skills-based marketplace.

Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific was conducted with 1560 business decision-makers — including 100 in Australia — in mid- and large-sized organisations across 15 economies in the Asia–Pacific region.

Image credit: © Jonsson

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