Interview: Rod Bassi, Acer
In our annual Leaders in Technology series, we ask the experts what the year ahead holds. Today we talk ‘working from home’ with Acer’s Rod Bassi.
How have Australian workplaces coped with COVID? Will things go back to normal?
No organisation has been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, Acer Australia has coped well in our ability to keep our operation running throughout this calendar year. Acer is unique in being the only hardware technology vendor that assembles its commercial grade products in Australia at our Homebush West facility. As demand for computer hardware rapidly grew in the April to June period in particular, driven by ‘working from home’ and ‘learning from home’, Acer was able to supply this unprecedented demand into the government, education and consumer retail sectors.
Normality returning in 2021 will largely depend on the business sector. I would say the education sector, particularly primary and secondary, will see a resumption of normal practices. However, the commercial and government sectors will have to adapt to a hybrid model of working in the office and from home due to key learnings throughout COVID-19 of the benefits and efficiencies of giving flexibility to employees.
Which new technologies will reach critical mass in 2021?
Acer believes artificial intelligence, whilst it has been growing in recent times, will continue to expand rapidly as more organisations understand and embrace its benefits. From an Acer perspective, globally we are working on AI solutions to bring to market, and closer to home in Australia we are working with subject matter experts at the University of Technology Sydney.
What more can governments do to counter cyber attacks?
The key must be a strong federal government policy on the subject with robust frameworks and governance. Australia has the ability to be a world leader in this matter, and there is sufficient industry expertise for government to consult with to be fully informed on best current and long-term practice.
How will IT improve operational efficiency in 2021, and who should lead the charge?
The one key learning from the COVID-19 experience has been organisations managing organisational efficiency in the working-from-home environment. At Acer we have been running rostering teams to work in alternating weeks in order to ensure adequate social distancing. Many of our partners and clients have been actioning similar practices throughout this year as it has become apparent that it is possible to still function normally and in many cases with improved efficiencies. However, moving into 2021 and beyond as we enter a return-to-normal stage, organisations large and small will inevitably change manage their traditional practices to bring greater impacts on their organisational efficiencies.
How can IT be more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and privacy conscious?
Acer believes IT needs to lead the environmental charge for best practices. It commences with designing environmentally efficient and socially conscious products, from packaging right down to the way products function. Organisations need to also have e-waste practices that are socially conscious and factor in the privacy of data, particularly at disposal stage. Acer currently offers these types of services for our commercial and government clients.
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