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According to the Brookings Institution report, Australia has a strong record of supporting an open, competitive digital economy. McKinsey estimates that digitization could contribute between $A140 billion and A$250 billion to Australia’s GDP by 2025. According to Accenture, Australia’s digital share of GDP in 2015 was 30 percent and this could grow to 34 percent by 2020. Proximity to Asia, including free-trade agreements with China, Japan, Korea, and other countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), makes Australia an attractive hub for digital trade.

Australian ICT businesses define themselves as ‘fast followers’, in terms of rapid and scalable disruptive innovation. Online systems are enhancing companies’ ability to accelerate innovation internally, and to gain input from external experts. Externally, companies are seeking ideas and even funding from the crowd, using knowledge-sharing and collaboration tools to accelerate discussions and develop ideas.

The Australia government has identified six industry sectors with competitive strength:

  • Advanced manufacturing.
  • Food and agribusiness.
  • Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals.
  • Mining equipment, technology, and services.
  • Energy.

To support these sectors, the government has established six independent and industry-led industry “Growth Centers” to improve sector competitiveness, their capacity for innovation, and their productivity.

The diagram below shows Australia’s position in the World ICT sector and the current market situation.

Digital Opportunities in South Australia

In 2015 Deloitte predicts that two-thirds of South Australian businesses will face a significant change to their business operations as a direct result of digital disruption over the next five years. The digitalisation of business processes is a function of business evolution, rather than technology. Even as extensions of existing technologies, ICT innovations are powerful, pervasive and have multiple indirect impacts.

The three primary responses South Australian business implement to meet digital disruption, include:

  • Developing a digital presence to exploit the economic benefits of effectively managing digital channels.
  • Recalibrating cost structures, making changes in terms of people, supply chain, and overheads to better control costs and compete with digitally sophisticated, low-cost competition.
  • Replenishing revenue streams, building new sources of revenue across segments, geographies, and business models.

According to Austrade, digital opportunities open doors previously blocked by barriers to entry and inflexible business category boundaries for innovations in the following spheres:

  • Artificial intelligence.
  • Automation.
  • Big data.
  • Blockchain.
  • Cloud computing.
  • Cybersecurity.
  • Immersive simulation.
  • Internet of Things.