Australia is ripe for leadership in demonstrating the benefits of a vibrant digital economy. However, to maximize the potential it is going to require leaders to take a more strategic approach in the management of innovative information and available communication technologies (ICTs). That said, it seems apparent that service providers in Australia are well positioned to provide the infrastructure and services the country’s businesses will require to allow Australia to be a true leader in the global digital economy by 2020. How so?
An Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) white paper, Plugging Into the Digital Economy pulls data from a recent research report, Smart.Digtial.Connected to highlight the unique positioning for Australian service providers that will allow them to prove the case. With the provision of next-generation applications, networks and services, they can/should be foundational facilitators of the rapidly transformation of the country to an immersive digital economy— creating new market opportunities and with them significant profits for themselves and their ecosystem partners along with sustainable differentiated value coming from improved customer experiences.
The Alcatel-Lucent research, part of their Market and Consumer Insight (MCI) activities, was revealing. It showed the benefits as well as the potential for service providers:
- 76 percent of businesses based in Australia believe there has been a positive impact from the digital economy on business efficiency and productivity.
- Yet, only 25 percent consider themselves to be enthusiastic leaders in the drive toward a digital economy
- There is significant opportunity for an expansion of the broadband infrastructureas 80 percent of businesses already leverage broadband availability
- Not surprisingly mobile e-mail is an expanding opportunity with 71 percent already on board.
The research also found that low adoption rates currently exist for newer digital economy applications and services, including social media. In addition: only 36 percent of Australian businesses are currently engaging in the social conversation; teleworking applications have been embraced by only 18 percent; and cloud-based software solutions are currently being used by just 16 percent of businesses.
The good news for service providers is:
- 93 percent of Australian businesses believe that making the digital economy is an important focus in their ongoing business strategy and essential to long-term success.
- 76 percent believe that digital economy participation will be significantly increased by a national broadband infrastructure.
- 80 percent are seeking consultations from telecommunications services providers to develop a business model that fits the digital future.
The message here is that to capitalize on these opportunities, service providers must realign their strategies and position themselves specifically thoroughly educate businesses on not just the value of moving quickly to broadband connectivity but to engage the service providers in discussion about capabilities that exploit fully the value of the pipes.
As Alcatel-Lucent points out this education process, along with executing against customer requirements is complex and service providers cannot do it alone. They are going to need the expertise of companies like Alcatel-Lucent which not only provide basic infrastructure and upgrades such as VDSL2 vectoring (which brings existing copper plant up to truly next generation broadband speeds), but have deep knowledge in business process optimization and creating business models that can adapt and exploit changing markets efficiently and effectively.
At the end of the day, Australian service providers by virtue of being the vehicles by which business “plug in” to the digital economy are well positioned to be catalysts for the country to be a global leader of that economy if they play their cards right. They can do so with a little help from their friends.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein