Following an in-depth survey of 186 Australian Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) representing organisations responsible for 25% of Australia’s GDP, local research and advisory organisation, ADAPT, has today released the results of its 2022 Digital Edge study.


Business priorities underscore need for employee experience uplift

The skills shortage remains front-and-centre for Australia’s digital leaders. Attracting and retaining talent is currently the top business priority listed by 89% of CDOs, with a lack of internal digital skills being quoted as the number one internal barrier to IT initiatives (79%). In order to improve internal IT capability by attracting new staff and retaining top talent, respondents are seeking to digitise workflows (75%), improve operational effectiveness (72%), and create a data-driven organisation (71%).

Shane Hill, Principal Research Analyst at ADAPT, says the findings come as little surprise:

Employees are still struggling to find the right information at the right time and with the required speed. This is creating additional burden and risk of avoidable attrition.

CDOs must remove procedural burden and provide meaningful work to employees if they are to avoid compounding these chronic skills shortages.”


Chief Digital Officers must resist “slash and burn” approach to IT spending

47% of Chief Digital Officers and IT leaders quote a lack of funding as an internal barrier to the execution of IT initiatives.

With a belief rising inflation and interest rates will place further pressure on budgets and a company’s top-performing employees in the short term before an expected easing-off in 2023, Mr. Hill warns against inaction from IT departments, which is likely to leave organisations financially worse-off:

Technology leaders must challenge the losses that will arise if CEOs and CFOs demand that IT budgets be slashed and burned. Rising inflation and tightening monetary policy driving interest rate increases actually deepen the need for smart, rapid modernisation.

Being smart about the programs to accelerate and those to cut back will provide advantage against competitors who opt to delay these upgrades until a time when the cost of such actions will increase.”


Investment a key pillar to improving customer experience

Australian IT leaders continue to invest in the delivery of seamless, personalised and differentiated experiences to improve customer retention and acquisition. To this end, digital leaders are investing in the following initiatives over the next 12 months:

The improvement of customer experience across digital & physical channels (40%), building out digital ecosystems & platform strategies (30%), the creation of new digital products and services (28%), improving customer analytics (26%), and integrating customer data across digital channels (25%).

According to Hill:

Brand loyalty as we know it is dead, customers no longer care about brands, they want experiences that are simple and easy to navigate.

The data shows leading organisations are listening by building a culture, backed by investment dollars, that encourages new ways of working, processing innovation, and the reimagination of customer engagement workflows.”


Challenges to customer experience remain

Despite ongoing investment, CDOs and their CIO counterparts continue to cite a number of key challenges to delivering world-class customer experiences relating to; inconsistent customer data across systems (82%), an inconsistent customer experience across channels (69%), balancing customer privacy and customer experience (40%), a lack of personalisation (38%), and challenges understanding customer expectations (38%).

Mr. Hill believes the antidote to the increasing cost of customer acquisition (quoted by 26% of respondents) is to embrace digital delivery models and support channels to meet the needs of existing customers:

Against the backdrop of rising prices, uncertain supply chains, and elevated demand, Chief Digital Officers must deliver a step change in the way that they meet customer expectations.

Meeting customer expectations requires a redoubling of investments into digital platforms that offer convenience, value and trust to customers, while capturing the data required to further enrich these experiences.”


About ADAPT Research & Advisory

Equipped with over 10 years of unrivalled local data and a vision to make Australia more commercially competitive and productive, ADAPT’s Research & Advisory services deliver powerful insights to help organisations formulate innovative tactics and execute on strategic plans for business success.

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