Embracing digital: Do you have the skills on board?

Whether you are a tech guru or a complete laggard, nobody can deny that the rise of digitalisation has had a profound effect on the way we do business. Innovations that were practically unheard of just a few years ago are assisting workers from all industries in their day-to-day tasks and communications. 

As we enter into the new year, businesses of all sizes in Australia will need to consider carefully if they have the right personnel in their company, or if they need to look into professional recruitment services to prepare for the shifting tides. 

How will the digital space evolve in 2016?

Although we will never know the exact developments that will come to pass in the next 12 months, a few organisations have presented some insights into what the year could have in store for businesses. 

The most significant trends for digital leaders centre around finding ways to make machines smarter.

According to Accenture, the most significant trends for digital leaders centre around finding ways to make machines smarter and disrupting the processes that define a workplace. The concept of The Intelligent Enterprise explores how embedding software intelligence can offer a range of benefits in terms of efficiency and productivity.

The rise of "The Internet of Me" will also usher in a new focus on the end consumer and their needs, which will create more demands for any customer-facing business. While this may seem like a daunting prospect, fast adapters will have the upper hand in attracting new customers to their business

Can small businesses enter the fray?

While many of the more modest-sized enterprises often feel that digital investment bills are just too hefty, this could change thanks to a new program in NSW. 

The Small Biz Connect  scheme will match small businesses with a mentor to guide them through the appropriate technologies to apply to their operations. According to the official website, the program will help give these firms a voice when it comes to digital transformation.

NSW Minister for Small Business John Barilaro explained how these types of companies could benefit from investing in digital technology. 

"Small businesses, particularly those in regional areas, can find new opportunities to start up, scale up and innovate if they make the digital economy work for them," he said.

"Our focus is on delivering the support services to make NSW the easiest state to do business in."

Other measures under this scheme include a toolkit for handling day-to-day tasks, management assistance and even a mobile unit for quick and cost-free advice. 

Should you consider hiring a CDO?

For larger scale businesses, there may come a time in which leadership becomes more vital for staying competitive in a digitalised world.

According to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), only 6 per cent of companies currently have this role in place and 40 per cent hold a role in the C-suite. However, with the demands of digital increasing by the day, these numbers are expected to rise in the next few years.

A CDO can bring a lot of value to a business. A CDO can bring a lot of value to a business.

The report also revealed that customer-focused businesses are more likely to have a CDO on board, which is unsurprising if you consider the huge potential for digital solutions in these areas. 

Jessica Federer, head of digital development at Bayer, highlighted the immense potential that a CDO can bring to a company. 

"They're the ones bringing together digital marketing with digital product supply with digital R&D," she said. "We used to do this in silos, but now we do it by sharing information."

Creating this new role may take some effort, but if a company is serious about digital, it could be a wise move to ensure efforts are met with success.