For Australia to go digital quickly, companies need to think of breaking down silos. Source: Shutterstock

For Australia to go digital quickly, companies need to think of breaking down silos. Source: Shutterstock

Uncoordinated initiatives are Australia’s biggest obstacle to going digital

CONSULTANTS such as McKinsey and BCG have time and again advised against embarking on digital transformation efforts in silos — and while this is true for organizations, it is also true for nations as a whole.

In Australia, for example, University of Sydney Business School Professor and Chair in Management and Decision Sciences Ben Fahimnia recently pointed out that although there is no dearth of digital projects within businesses, in public offices, and in academic institutions, the country has been slow to go digital overall.

“The main reason why Australia has been slow in digital transformation is the lack of coordination and collaboration amongst firms, governments, and research institutions.”

Fahimnia pointed out that the government’s digital identity scheme, GovPass, is running separately from Australia Post’s scheme called Digital iD — both of them are great projects, but they achieve largely the same thing and hence, duplicate costs and efforts.

If there was more collaboration among the different government offices in Australia, those projects could be combined and there would not only be more value for the government but also the public.

According to Fahimnia, there are similar projects that have been undertaken by other organizations, all aiming to identify individuals and extract basic personal information – a big step toward supply chain digitalization.

“So many projects running in isolation are a clear waste of funds and resources, the cost of distrust between organizations, and lack of information sharing.”

The lack of collaboration and coordination aside, Fahimnia also pointed out the country’s culture, which is “innately resistant to change” as a great barrier to successful digitalization.

“Australian firms tend to be conservative when it comes to technology deployment and adoption, especially when those technologies tend to disrupt operations and require specialized skills.”

The professor believes that digital transformation requires systematic change management programs to tackle behavioral obstacles.

Hence, greater cooperation between researchers and firms/governments is needed to understand the behavioral complications related to digital transformation and how best they can be addressed.

Ultimately, what the professor wants is for different groups in the country — government agencies, businesses, and academic institutions to break down the silos and work together to build interesting solutions that drive the nation forward. Together. In a coordinated fashion.