Australian companies’ tech priorities for the post-pandemic era

Australian organisations are prioritising investments in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud and edge computing—while keeping a clear eye on the budget.

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Brodie Miller (CC0)

Australian organisations are prioritising investments in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cloud and edge computing. This comes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic according to KPMG International research.

KPMG Digital Delta partner Jon Stone said the Australian respondents are driven to emerging technologies because they are seen as essential to business survival. The focus is first on improving decision making and customer experience, followed by cost reduction.

Between March and June 2020, KPMG and HFS Research surveyed 900 technology executives at Global 2000 enterprises with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, including 46 Australian executives.

According to 59 per cent of the Australian respondents, COVID-19 has created a stimulus to accelerate digital transformation initiatives, but 41 per cent of executives said they will halt investment in emerging technology altogether as a result of COVID-19.

Must-have technologies, both established and emerging, are the focus

The focus is on must-have technologies, and 56 per cent of those surveyed said cloud migration has become an absolute necessity due to COVID-19. The survey found that Australian organisations have a more variable approach to cloud technologies, with lower maturity for containerisation and hybrid cloud, but a greater focus on building microservices.

The research also found that the majority of organisations will continue to focus on improving their data platforms and analytics, with 73 per cent of respondents saying there is a need for further investment in enterprise data platforms.

The increased investment in technology is not exclusive to big enterprises. In June 2020, another study revealed the majority of Australian small and medium businesses said buying software—particularly around collaboration and remote work—will be critical for their survival.

The balance between digitising and saving costs

Although COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of cloud and other technologies, there are factors weighing against the adoption such as budget constraints and conservative approaches.

The biggest issues preventing technology initiatives delivering value in Australia are predominantly not technical, the KPMG research found, but related to organisational culture, commitment to the expected benefits and worries about the risk of failure.

The pandemic is not equally affecting all industries, but for those affected it is important to manage the transition to a digital business model with care, said KPMG Digital Delta partner Shane O’Sullivan. This can be a challenge with companies in need to invest but having to save money at the same time.

“Now more than ever, organisations need to make smart investments in emerging technologies if they are to prevail in the medium to long term. Those who don’t risk threatening their own survival,” O’Sullivan said.

One in five Australian executives reported challenges with changing the culture of their organisation, far higher than globally (12 per cent). Australian respondents are also further away from seeing value from emerging technologies such as 5G and edge computing compared with organisations in other countries.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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