Home Strategy Australia needs more digitisation: Cisco
Cisco ANZ vice president Ken Boal Cisco ANZ vice president Ken Boal

Cisco's plan to increase the rate of digital transformation is part of an international effort.

Cisco announced last month its $61 million plan to boost digital transformation in Australia.

According to Cisco vice-president and global innovation officer Guy Diedrich, this is part of a broader move to engage with various governments to accelerate the uptake of digitisation.

It started in France, before extending to the UK, Italy, Germany and India, he said.

Cisco ANZ vice-president Ken Boal started working on a local plan four years ago, and the company decided now was the right time to add Australia to the list of 25 countries where Cisco is running such projects, said Diedrich.

Boal explained that Cisco has for some time been working with federal, state and territory governments in areas such as employment, health, education, transport, and other aspects of city infrastructure, and recently decided to "supercharge our efforts" in this regard.

If economic growth is starting to falter in Australia, digitisation is a way to kick things along, he said.

"Australia needs more digitisation," he said, but while the nation's leaders are more committed, the technology is here, but the "skills are not necessarily fully available".

"It's all about public-private partnerships." The Australian government wants to bring universities and industry closer together, and "we're trying to bridge that gap", for example, by working with Flinders University and other organisations to research issues around the use of Wi-Fi in hospitals

The plan also takes in the SMB sector, said Boal. Cisco is working with NBN Co and managed service providers to help 20,000 small businesses a month not merely transition to the NBN, but also transform the way they work.

Boal suggested that Australia would not get the full benefit of digitalisation by enterprises and governments unless SMBs also get on-board. But for that to happen, owners must be convinced of the value of digitisation, and the industry must deliver right-sized products.

"We're open for business on all these programs," he said, emphasising that "Cisco expects a commercial return over the longer term" from these activities: "it''s very much a commercial investment".


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.


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