The growth rate of the digital environment means that 3 billion people, or more than 50% of the global population, should have access to the World Wide Web by 2016. And, down under, is one of the most popular places for techno-savvy people to indulge their love of all things digital. New data reveals that Australia has the highest rate of mobile device penetration, with 60% of the population owning smart phones. A further 38% have and use tablets. On a consumer level technology is very much integrated into a part of daily life but businesses have been a little slower to make the shift.
The country’s national broadband network is anticipated to empower businesses to take greater advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital revolution. It is also expected to work against you if you don’t ride the wave, because everybody else is going to be getting on it. It appears as though some companies are making enquiries into digital strategies but experts say they are still a little slow on the uptake and they may have misjudged the rate at which things are changing. It can be fixed with a simple change of strategy and supplementing slower areas of growth with newly emerging ones that show potential.
Despite the criticisms that have been lodged against the national broadband network, there are other factors that have contributed to what has been called the digital divide down under, or the difference in access to the internet. According to some it has a lot to do with where you live, whether you have access to the fruits of modern technology. Between 2006 and 2011 household internet access went up by 16 percentage points. And, the figures from the 2011 census reflect that 79% of local households had access. To put this in perspective of population growth, the figure is estimated to have increased to between 85% and 90% in some areas. Parts of the country where new houses and contemporary developments have been built have seen an increase in the proportion of homes with access.
The homes that the Internet is used the most in include: young families where both spouses are working full time, families where there are still teenagers living in the home, professionals couples and singles.
One of the case studies of how businesses have used digital technology to move with the times involved a Japanese newspaper that lost revenue because of a decline in print sales. However, with the implementation of an effective digital strategy, the paper managed to eclipse its previous sales records. Another example involves a famous hotel chain that decided developing a digital portal would add value to the service it offered its guests. Other companies are making the move to a virtual office, as a means to adapt to a global market and lower their running costs. The moral of the story is to investigate the available technology completely and to find those areas where it can enhance your product or service offering most significantly.
On local soil businesses are vying for control of digital mailboxes and the digital wave is only expected to get bigger as technology start ups find their footing in the local market. The banks have started to investigate it to find ways to use the technology to get them competitive advantage.
What local business needs to take cognizance of is how to implement their strategies sensitively and how to introduce them into their current business cultures. Any new introduction is going to take some time for employees to accept and learn. And similarly, businesses will need to invest in the relevant training to ensure that all staff are equipped for the change.