The data and digital infrastructure pulse

Is Australia’s data and digital infrastructure ‘on the pulse’?

Becoming data driven in today’s digital world is the foundation to becoming more successful than your competitors. And Australian companies are on the right path according to results in our 2018 APEC survey, saying the number one area they need to improve over the next two years to stay competitive is to accelerate digitisation of business processes.

The respondents also say their number one investing priority to succeed in the digital economy is to ensure cutting edge digitisation is used to benefit customers - jumping up from the second priority in 2017.

In fact, Australian companies rate themselves as highly competitive when it comes to development of digital products and digital customer interactions such as mobile payments, online marketing and remote services.

Investment and safety first

But, there is a but. The existing infrastructure in many Australian companies is worryingly outdated to deliver what a 21st century customer has come to expect: providing a superior experience from knowing and interpreting customer data, and secure infrastructure to keep their data safe.

Customer data is what Australian companies already own, and it’s what they can control. The APEC survey shows their mindfulness that digital acceleration must have data security front and centre.

When asked how they operate in the digital economy, both Australian and APEC organisations said managing data risks such as data integrity, privacy and protection was the number one aspect they were highly competitive in (Australia 33%, APEC 30%).

Becoming data-driven starts by getting your house in order. To benefit from data, you’ll need a strong data foundation starting with these three focus areas:

  • Understanding your data. What data do you have and what data do you need to develop or acquire? This is what you need to create a solid foundation and drive data-driven insights.
  • Organising that data. After you understand and procure the right data, you need to streamline, organise and integrate it - which typically involves data in the cloud, data lakes, and other emerging data storage and integration technologies.
  • Building trust in the data. It needs to be transparent and secure, with good data governance, data quality and data cleansing processes in place.

Data across borders

Respondents said for the nation to stay competitive, Australia’s digital infrastructure is the most important area the country needs to improve to further advance in the digital economy.

They also rated data infrastructure as the least competitive area for themselves while operating in the digital economy (Australia 11% compared with APEC 28%).

Further, when asked to consider their organisation’s cross-border activities, moving data across borders was highlighted as an issue. Locally this concern doubles from 1 in 10 concerned in 2017 to 1 in 5 concerned in 2018.

There has been increasing focus on personal data companies hold. Australia participates in the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system designed to build trust in cross border flows of personal information. New mandatory data breach reporting in Australia began in 2017, with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 which seeks to protect organisations that are proactive and respond quickly and effectively to data breaches and suspected data breaches.

The organisations that comprehend the sensitivity of the personal information they hold are building trust and advocacy across their customer base.

It is the companies investing in their digital infrastructure that will capitalise more effectively on cross border trade - B2B as well as B2C data trust is increasingly seen as a competitive edge.  

Contact us

John Studley

John Studley

Partner, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 3770

Scott Gillespie

Scott Gillespie

National Thought Leadership Leader, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 3229

Kieran McCann

Kieran McCann

Head of Content and Thought Leadership, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (2) 8266 0252

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