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Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

Mike Doman
Technology Journalist

Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

To make the most of what the digital era has to offer, it’s important to go back to your business foundations and reassess your strategic planning process. We look at why analogue thinking doesn’t translate to digital.

“Going digital” is something many, if not most businesses have now done. At least that’s what they believe. Technology has become so pervasive in business that it’s inextricable from operations, yet for many businesses, the benefits are not being felt as much as they could. In fact, many Australian companies across various industries have been slow to incorporate digital technologies and might be missing out on major business benefits.

Speaking at Telstra’s Vantage event in September 2015, then Digital Transformational Practice Lead for Telstra, Jesper Lowgren, recognised this trend early on. He said the reason benefits weren’t being felt was because many businesses were still thinking analogue, while acting digital.

"Analogue thinking just doesn’t work in a digital world," he said during his presentation.

"The rules are radically different. What's possible is radically different."

A vintage circuit board conducting signals like modern technology conducts business – by connecting with what’s ahead

Competition is different

This different environment, he argued, requires a fundamental shift in the way businesses think and approach their own growth strategy – encompassing how they feel about
other businesses in their market and how they see themselves as a competitive entity. Making that shift can lead to a number of collaboration and bottom line benefits.

"[Success] will start...when you find one, two, three, four [businesses] coming together and...everyone is doing what's most important to them."

Process is different

For Jeremy Keane, a hospital and healthcare expert who was previously Managing Director at Generation Health, a health consulting service with over 300 employees, moving from analogue to digital required getting the right people in the room at the right time to ensure the thinking wasn’t just replicating inefficiencies in their analogue process.

"There's probably two major components of our business that are focused on this: one is a people and performance division and the other's the IT division,” Keane says. 

"People in performance are focused on the relevant procedural requirements for each service we deliver [and] adhering to procedure is very important to ensure we're clinically compliant, but also we're compliant with the regulatory authorities.

 "[So we got] people in performance speaking with the IT division to [identify] what solution we can put in place to eradicate some of these somewhat archaic processes of utilising faxes and waiting a week or so for a response."

Rethinking the way they operate has seen significant benefits for the business. The average time saved according to Keane is around 30-45 minutes per case. With the business working through 4000 to 5000 cases each year, the savings add up to a conservative 2000 hours of work time every year.

What's valuable is different

The other thing the digital environment changes is what's valuable in the eyes of business. “In 2019, a small business needs more than just a mobile phone if it wants to excel,” writes Michael Ackland, Telstra’s Group Executive for Consumer and Small Business.

“These days, it’s all about cloud storage, data networks and IP phones, and high-quality hardware and software built for business.”

Change is the reality of the digital age, and it looks unlikely to slow down anytime soon. In order to maximise the promises of the technology, it's important to take a moment and reconsider your business, and the strategic planning process that drives it, right from the beginning.

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