Australian leaders are more likely to invest in new technologies to disrupt the market than their global counterparts, a new report has revealed.
The report, released by Deloitte on Tuesday, showed Australian executives were ready to embrace new technology, while being “highly concerned” about its ethical use (49 per cent, compared to 30 per cent globally).
The attitude marks a major shift in thinking about the fourth industrial revolution, with only two per cent of Australian leaders feeling confident they were ready for technological change early last year.
Now, 37 per cent of Australian leaders (compared to 34 per cent globally) said they feel ready to capitalise on Industry 4.0 – also known as the fourth industrial revolution.
Industry 4.0 refers to a trend towards emerging technologies such as automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, the Internet of Things, and cognitive computing.
This increased confidence is partly due to greater awareness of revolutionary technology and its effect on future work and skills education for employees, the report said.
“Australian executives are split on whether their organisations are investing in new technologies to disrupt the market or protect themselves from disruption, but they do express a greater appetite … than executives around the globe (Australia 49 per cent, global 33 per cent),” the report said.
Mike Vasavada, director of Australian digital solutions start-up Mobiddiction, has seen firsthand the shift in thinking and the way Australians have embraced change.
When the company first launched in 2011, the focus was on digital development but now more than half the business entails consulting on how others can use new technology to benefit the bottom line.
“In the last 12 months we’ve seen a huge uptake on how to improve efficiencies using automation,” the Mobiddiction director told AAP.
Digital solutions to business operations, such as automation, have become so popular that Mobiddiction so far hasn’t spent “a single dollar” on advertising, he said.
“If you’re not thinking about that now, it’s going to be too late,” he said.
But the changes come with challenges, primarily around data security and management.
Aside from legal consequences, companies face data leaks and losing customers if they don’t take the right steps to securing digital information.
“I get surprised when I look at big business these days who aren’t considering the repercussions,” he said.
While emerging technologies will cost many people their jobs, Mr Vasavada said new types of businesses and jobs will be created at the same time.
More than 2000 executives across 19 countries, including 134 Australians, were surveyed for the 2019 Deloitte report, titled Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Faces of Progress.