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Futurists believe majority of businesses unprepared for digital future

August 1, 2019 • General

Futurists believe majority of businesses unprepared for digital future

Aurecon has highlighted how many organisations are at serious risk of complacency, lacking the leadership required to grapple with the complexities of digital, especially in regard to their physical assets and infrastructure.

Research by global engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon has revealed that nine out of 10 organisations have faced some sort of challenge in embracing digital while 68 per cent of the organisation believe the definition of digital is ‘somewhat’ shared across their organisation.

Aurecon conducted online surveys and interviews with more than 100 business leaders and specialist futurists across the world. The Digital Futures study found that only 26 per cent of respondents have a chief digital executive leading their digital strategy, with 28 per cent of respondents reporting that responsibility sits with their IT department

The first wave of data from Aurecon’s Our Digital Futures research, named The Digital Landscape, revealed the major barriers, challenges and opportunities that digital can create; particularly relevant as the digital revolution sweeps across the infrastructure sector.

Aurecon Chief Digital Officer Dr Andrew Maher said the results indicated the significant gaps of understanding that existed in many organisations, and reinforced the need for C-suite leaders to own and drive digital strategies for optimal results.

“Within organisations, the definition of ‘digital’ is quite narrow and not necessarily a collective understanding for all staff. Responsibility for ‘digital’ is also siloed with many organisations expressing a lack of ownership, and it’s troubling that the IT department is considered responsible for digital strategy by 28% of respondents’,” Dr Maher said.

“Digital is about so much more than systems and technology. It transforms the physical, spanning our cities, workplaces, homes, environment, people and assets. It’s imperative that organisations have strong leadership in place to really drive this, and organisations with a chief digital executive have much higher opportunities to connect strategy, performance, revenue and ROI.

“Digital can help us solve problems and overcome challenges, be more efficient, work smarter and generate new revenue. For example, being able to better manage the life cycle of an asset using sensors and data analytics can have a significant impact on an organisation’s balance sheet, while leading to real gains in productivity. However, achieving these outcomes now and into the future heavily depends on how well organisations can effectively navigate this complex digital world.”

Our Digital Futures – The Digital Landscape also found that professionals expected digital to have less impact on generating new revenue streams than defending existing revenue.

“Many organisations are focused on a ‘now’ mindset with data analytics and efficiency the current priorities. But this means they are losing out on potential dividends and unlocking value from new business opportunities,” Dr Maher asserted.

“No matter where an organisation is on the curve, there are actions that leadership can take to move forward. Assessing their current state and priorities; shifting ownership of digital to the C-suite; and implementing a strategy that delivers quick wins in the short term, as well as long-term transformational change, are steps to success.”

Our Digital Futures – The Digital Landscape is the first wave of data from Aurecon’s Our Digital Futures research, providing key insights into the issues – and opportunities – that digitisation creates. Additional insights will be shared with the Future of Digital (October 2019) and Your Digital Strategy (February 2020). More than 100 business leaders and futurists from Australia, New Zealand, Middle East, Asia and South Africa shared their views as part of the Our Digital Futures research Aurecon conducted in 2019.

The research builds on discoveries unearthed in Aurecon’s 2016 Digital Perspectives study.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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