Why Australia is struggling with Digital Transformation

by Richenda Vermeulen
December 22, 2017

5 years ago I was working in social media inside a large organisation. Having spent 8 years working in the US, it was jarring to see how far behind Australian organisations were, including the one I was working in. I saw brands struggling with the simplest of questions: how do I measure whether my email, social media, website is effective? How do I hire someone with the right skills?

So I had a vision to build a different kind of agency – hence the name ntegrity.

Our mission is to increase digital capabilities of our clients – whether that’s delivering digital strategy, executing it or helping train staff.

But here’s the thing: 5 years on, we’ve won awards, worked with over 100 clients, and built an international team, but time and time again, we still see companies struggle.

The best strategy, the most resources, the biggest budgets rarely dictate success.

Instead, clients who operate differently succeed.

We saw the struggle was coming from within; that it had everything to do with people and culture and not budgets or resources. But there was little research explaining this, and none that was focused on Australian companies.

We knew that if we were going to achieve our mission – to increase the digital capabilities of our clients – then we needed to analyse this problem.

In response, we interviewed 168 Aussie organisations on their internal digital culture to produce what is now the Australian Company Digital Confidence (ACDC) report.

The research showed that the majority of organisations were lagging in their digital maturity, classified “Digital Sideliners”.

Often this meant that digital was stuck in a “service swamp”, with staff responding to ad hoc requests rather than projects of strategic significance.

But we also saw a clear solution. Business outcomes increased when organisations had what we’re calling ‘digital confidence’. This confidence had four key elements:

  • A CEO who set the digital culture and agenda

  • A clear digital vision

  • Investment in strategically aligned resources

  • Investment in training and development of digital skills

Businesses say they want to be digital, but our research has clearly proven that they’re not investing in the right things. Investment in the newest flashiest digital tools, or the next big campaign is money down the drain if leadership, vision, resources and skills aren’t aligned.

This is not a quick-fix, but it is solvable.

In the report we have some simple, essential questions to ask in your organisations to make sure you’re having the right conversations to kick-start true digital transformation.

If you haven’t had a chance to read the Australian Company Digital Confidence (ACDC) report, you can download it here.