Tuesday, 07 May 2019 12:01

Digital transformation will fuel need for thousands of new IT jobs: study Featured

Digital transformation will fuel need for thousands of new IT jobs: study Image Sujin Jetkasettakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The growth of digital transformation in Australia will drive the need for 35,000 new IT jobs, with almost one in five Australian organisations creating new internal roles to meet the growing demand, it is claimed.

According to a study of Australian business leaders, undertaken by technology analyst Telsyte for IT services company DXC Technology, 35,000 new IT jobs will be needed in 2019, with almost one in five Australian organisations creating new internal roles to meet the growth of digital transformation.

And with roles such as data architect and business intelligence analyst in huge demand, the figure of 35,000 rises to over a third for those in banking and finance, administration, support and professional services.

The study also reveals that more than one in five organisations are set to create artificial intelligence-specific roles, with almost half of the organisations surveyed seeing AI and employees working together to complete tasks and more jobs being created (57%) than taken away by digital transformation.

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The study — Beyond Disruption: Australian organisations race to digital transformation success —  provides insights into the digital challenges and opportunities of 447 Australian organisations.

And the study also revealed that while 41% of Australian organisations now see an organisation-wide digital strategy as the dominant approach for managing digital transformation, almost the same proportion are still adopting a siloed business-unit approach.

“Rolling out a digital strategy organisation-wide is now considered a superior approach by the majority of organisations as it best places companies to fend off competitors, innovate and deliver long term outcomes,” said Seelan Nayagam, managing director for DXC in Australia and New Zealand.

The study also found that while most organisations start their digital journey as processes of modernising the workplace and workforce, the focus of many digital transformations in Australia has now turned to the customer experience.

More than 60% of large organisations cited customer experience as a top five business priority when it comes to implementing a digital strategy – and nearly two-thirds (61%) of organisations with digital strategies stated they have increased the value they provide for their customers.

The study also showed that on average, organisations believe they have only 2.2 years to integrate digital initiatives to mitigate digital disruption.

“However, this level of urgency is not reflected in how quickly firms are adapting; more than two in three are still taking reactive approaches to digital disruption, notably small and midsized organisations. Large organisations, the study revealed, are twice as aggressive in trying to digitally disrupt their industries and partnering with others to disrupt their markets,” DXC noted.

In considering which technologies to employ for digital transformation, two-thirds of respondents indicated they were already spending or considering investments in 5G and the cellular Internet of things.

And more than one-third of organisations fear “uberisation”, or the use of technology to enable peer-to-peer transactions between clients and providers of services, often bypassing the traditional role of corporations.

DXC says this approach seems to have had a greater effect on certain industries, including wholesale providers, services companies and government organisations, with over half of the organisations surveyed looking at leapfrogging competitors with radical innovations.

In assessing who in an organisation leads the digital transformation strategy, the study showed one in three CEOs are now involved in leading digital transformation strategies, confirming the strategic importance of top leadership in driving change.

However, digital literacy levels among CEOs and upper management remained an issue, with 30% to 40% of CEOs not considered digitally literate, and the study suggesting that the rise of millennial CEOs is likely to increase literacy levels in organisations, and generational changes will be a feature of organisations that are looking for cultural change.

Despite over a quarter (26%) of organisations saying a lack of employee engagement was a likely reason for digital transformation failure, fewer than half were speaking to their employees about digital transformation, disruption or changes due to AI or automation.

According to DXC, the exception seems to be when firms take organisation-wide approaches to digital transformation – where more than three-quarters are providing employees with necessary information.

“Less than one-third of organisations today are providing their employees with digital transformation training, indicating more needs to be done to take employees on the transformation journey,” Nayagam says.

“To achieve success, employee education must be the cornerstone of any digital transformation programme and not regarded as an afterthought.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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