Delivering on Turnbull's innovation mandate

By Gordon Clubb, Managing Director, Genesys ANZ
Wednesday, 18 November, 2015

Delivering on Turnbull's innovation mandate

Our new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a long-time advocate for forward thinking in government, has already put the business community on notice — this government will be an ‘innovation government’, he has proclaimed. In his first speech following since becoming PM, he said disruption was Australia’s friend and innovation will move the economy forward.

However, innovation is not simply a buzzword used to sell a new government to the public; if policies match the rhetoric, it will have consequences on the local competitive landscape as the government moves to further support technological advancement.

More than ever before, Australian businesses will need to be ready to compete with newer companies that put customer experience at the heart of their strategies by embracing the change in the digital landscape.

A prime example of this new age of companies is Alibaba, a global online retailer that — unlike Amazon — has no inventory. Instead, the Chinese-based retailer operates a platform for other retailers to connect and engage with potential customers to sell their goods.

In many ways, defining what digital means to organisations, as well as having guiding principles on the accountability of key internal teams, is key to digital transformation.

However, as we see more organisations adapting to technological disruptions, we are also witnessing a renewed barrage of disruptive technologies that has a direct effect on the behaviour of both the employees within a business and consumers.

For example, a recent study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, and sponsored by Genesys, showed that with the emergence of digital customer experience (CX) tools, less than half of Australian senior business leaders believe face-to-face communication with consumers will be a very important CX channel in three years’ time (down from 60% today).

As customers are engaging businesses in the digital domain first, customer experience strategies that don’t start with a digitally driven end in mind need to be overhauled in order to meet customers where they are.

Going digital in customer experience is no longer seen as business innovation so much as it is business imperative.

Over recent years we have witnessed that business imperative underscored by a number of disruptive business models, such as Uber and Airbnb, and we are seeing this locally too.

Home-grown shopping website The Iconic, which began as a small idea between two co-workers, has exploded since its launch in 2011, selling thousands of items of clothing to internet shoppers daily.

Despite this rapid growth and continued market success, the company is focused on ensuring it remains agile and able to meet the demands of its ever-growing client base.

By developing a strong understanding of how its consumers wish to interact with the brand and the company, The Iconic continues to see strong growth.

An example of this is how the company understands its consumer. It’s calculated that 60% of The Iconic’s business comes through mobile devices, meaning this is a key method consumers wish to use. Indeed, after it was launched, a new, centralised and integrated mobile app was downloaded around 10,000 times per day.

It also encouraged customer growth with web traffic through its site, reaching three million visits per day. The company sees the use of technology as a key factor in framing how the business progresses as it ensures it remains a leader in its space.

The Iconic is a new entrant into the retail market but is solely based online, an exception to the common landscape, and therefore it has a unique perspective on how to communicate with its consumers.

Commonly, organisations can easily embrace digital change because it is how they were created; it is in their corporate DNA. The central challenge sits with more traditional firms that combine a physical and online presence, and which are adopting more modern, digitalised communication strategies.

All organisations have a unique view on how best to communicate with their customers but we have witnessed a broad change in the way customers seek to interact with one another and the brands with whom they associate.

As the modern economy becomes more and more digitalised, it has become a rule of thumb that a good digital customer experience is simply good business.

Moreover, with the recent change in the Australian political landscape, digital transformation is becoming more than just a private sector mantra but rather an opportunity for organisations to embrace modernisation by way of government support.

The government is focused on becoming an example of best practice for companies looking to advance their customer experience acting as a testing platform for disruptive technologies.

Business has a key role to play in ensuring it is robust enough to withstand constant disruption. Investment in skills is an area of focus for the government and must become one for business locally.

A recent Deloitte Access report found that Australia will need a further 100,000 ICT professionals by 2020. This will require more than simply a tertiary degree, as a key component of an effective ICT professional is the ability to place new technology within a business context.

It is important that businesses in Australia acknowledge the role they play in ensuring graduates are capable of making meaningful contributions to the advancement of customer experience by understanding how each unique business and consumer will require a unique communication strategy.

Prime Minister Turnbull already has a long history of supporting technological innovation, with a key role in starting up the Digital Transformation Office (DTO), a new department dedicated to ensuring that all government functions are accessible online.

Change remains a continuing inevitability and with renewed government support around modernising how we communicate, the speed by which businesses will be forced to adapt is sure to accelerate.

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