A lack of meaningful Federal Government policy on innovation, the woeful new encryption laws, and 457 visa issues have put the brakes on the tech sector in Australia. So, what’s dragging IT in Australia down?
According to The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), approximately two-thirds of Australian business are innovation-active, with a quarter of those increasing their spend on IT.
But their efforts are falling well short of the mark when it comes to generating a return on their investment. Rather than seeing positive outcomes, many are seeing a drop in their key metrics.
ABS stats show that 42% of innovation-active businesses reported an increase in sales, 32% in productivity and 32% improved their profitability. But disturbingly, these were countered by the 29%, 15% and 32% of businesses declaring a decrease respectively.
Taken in isolation, these figures paint a bleak enough picture, but when compared against businesses that aren’t innovating, they look even worse. 29% increased their sales, 16% their productivity, and 22% their profitability, with respective decreases of 30%, 16%, and 30%.
While there was a moderately improved success rate for innovating businesses, the failure rates were all but identical. And it’s this that concerns Stewart Marshall, an IT expert and best selling author of “Doing IT For Money.”
Stewart Marshall delivering a guest lecture at USYD
Marshall, who recently gave a talk at Sydney University via Glecture on the intersection between human-centricity and technology, believes that many Australian businesses lack the right mindset when it comes to innovation.
This is further echoed in Ricoh’s inaugural Workplace Innovation Survey which found that three quarters consider innovation to be a lower priority or something they only to do to ensure survival.
Marshall says that this “she’ll be right” approach goes hand-in-hand with another Ricoh finding that identified “staff or “management aversion to risk” as a major stumbling block that derails initiatives.
Without business leaders actively driving the adoption of new technology, implementations are destined to fail. Marshall suspects that success can only occur if there is strong support from the top down—ensuring that teams are adequately trained and engaged in the solution.
An MIT Technology Review assessment suggests that no one really knows what the future holds. Meaning that millions of jobs could be displaced or created, suggesting that there is a major shift in the air that will have a direct impact on the economy.
Unless there is a fundamental change in the mindset of leaders, both government and in the private sector, Australia could continue its headlong dive toward the bottom.
One thing remains certain, technology will change the employment landscape significantly in the upcoming years. Those who are ready to grab the available opportunities will benefit greatly.