Aussie tech skills shortage a barrier to global economy

Friday, 19 February, 2021

Aussie tech skills shortage a barrier to global economy

The pandemic-driven increase in digital adoption and the resulting new ways of operating could unlock $5.4 trillion in profitable growth if applied broadly, according to a report by Accenture. Based on a survey of 1100 top executives (125 in Australia) and externally validated financial data, the report assessed the impact of achieving progressive levels of business operations maturity. The higher the maturity, the greater the degree of digital capabilities, such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and data analytics.

The report indicates that despite the current economic certainty, 7% of companies globally still achieved nearly twice the efficiency and three times the profitability of their peers. These ‘future-ready’ companies are expected to represent 35% of Australian organisations by 2023, marking a seven-fold increase from 5% at present.

Jordan Griffiths, Accenture Operations Lead for Australia and New Zealand, said that uncertainty has put a premium on new, agile ways of doing things, reinforcing the idea that operations can be a catalyst for competitive advantage, transformational value and growth.

“But this only works if companies think big — transforming how the work actually gets done across technology, processes and people, and reinvesting any cost savings to drive new revenue growth,” said Griffiths.

Future-ready enterprises can transform their work processes by using rich data for decision-making, augmenting people with AI and employee agile workforce models. These changes are experienced by customers and employees, while enhancing operational excellence.

A key area of focus locally includes cloud, with 69% of Australian organisations using cloud infrastructure at scale, and 50% exploring new areas to scale and maximise value. Mature organisations are also using cloud to be digitally native from front to back.

With a focus on augmenting people with the technology capability to execute business processes with certainty, 54% of Australian organisations have fully adopted AI and data science capabilities, with 34% of organisations planning to scale AI practices by 2023.

Approximately 39% of Australian organisations also plan to scale automation by 2023; only 2% of organisations do so at present. While 61% of Australian organisations widely use analytics, 44% are also planning to scale with diverse data to inform decision-making and generate insights internally and externally.

Only 5% of organisations have adopted an agile workforce strategy at scale, enabling them to access an expanded talent pool among ecosystem partners to mobilise special talent as needed. This approach is expected to grow to 42% by 2023.

In Australia, organisations that advanced their operational maturity level in the past three years reported improvements in customer experience, speed of product and services innovation, operational efficiency, employee talent mix and reskilling efforts, business value generated from data, and employee engagement and retention. These gains were achieved by reframing and redesigning operations with an outside-in lens.

“Future-ready organisations know that it’s about maximising talent in an era when people are critical to success. This talent has new skills — they are customer obsessed, understand the importance of data and process, and are familiar with new AI and automation tools enabled by cloud. People will be at the heart of retooling operating models in ways that capitalise on new innovations and new ways people work to drive business performance,” said Griffiths.

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