Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Australia's 2020 Goals for a Digital Economy

National Digital Economy Strategy was launched today at CeBit 2011 by  Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy. Additional investments to facilitate the strategy to be announced.

The Government defines the digital economy as a globally connected network of economic and social activities enabled by information and communications technology. The Digial Economy Strategy encompasses goals for eCommerce, eHeath and distance education. 

To measure progress in realising its vision by 2020, the government has set the following goals. Worthy goals that can clearly propel our nation as a leading digital economy.  It will now take courage and the discipline to implement these strategies to fruition by 2020. 

Lacking in Vision

I have discussed below what I feel is however significantly lacking from the core of its strategy. The strategy to build an army of Australian firms that lead this digital world. The goals outlined will essentially make us good consumers of a digital world, my vision however is to see our nations firms playing a significant role in the creations of the digital world in helping create companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, eBay. It is important for government to drive that strategy as a core to building a digital economy. More on this after the summary below.
Australia ranks in the top five OECD countries in the portion of households that connect to broadband at home.
Australia ranks in the top five OECD countries in relation to the portion of businesses, and not for profit organisations, using online opportunities to drive productivity improvements, expand their customer base and enable jobs growth.
The majority of Australian households, businesses and other organisations will have access to smart technology to better manage their energy use.
As identified in the National E-Health Strategy endorsed by the federal, state and territory governments, 90 per cent of high priority consumers such as older Australians, mothers and babies and those with a chronic disease, or their carers, can access individual electronic health records.
By July 2015, 495 000 telehealth consultations will have been delivered providing remote access to specialists for patients in rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas, and by 2020, 25 per cent of all specialists will be participating in delivering telehealth consultations to remote patients.
Australian schools, TAFEs, universities and higher education institutions will have the connectivity to develop and collaborate on innovative and flexible educational services and resources to extend online learning resources to the home and workplace; and the facilities to offer students and learners, who cannot access courses via traditional means, the opportunity for online virtual learning.
Australia will have at least doubled its level of teleworking so that at least 12 per cent of Australian employees report having a teleworking arrangement with their employer.
Four out of five Australians will choose to engage with the government through the internet or other type of online service.
Digital divide
The gap between households and businesses in capital cities and those in regional areas will have narrowed significantly.
All noble intentions, lets hope the government has the courage and the discipline to imprlement these strategies to realise these objectives by 2020.
Still lacking as part of this core vision and the strategy is a vision to help build Australian technology firms and talent to create enterprises that will lead the world in the digital economy taking advantage of the nations significant brand equity and creative talent.   The US has done this successfully through building its IT Industrial Cluster, the Silicon Valley, that help build companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Adobe, YouTube, HP, etc etc... creating a trillion dollar export market.
Even Nations like India and  Ireland have built huge national capabilities with strong vision. Unfortunately the ministers vision is clearly lacking on this part! Australian companies given the national focus, supported by a Industrial/IT Cluster in its true sense (Michael Porter, Competitive Advantage of Nations) can take this nations talent to achieve in new vistas, not seen before but completely within the Australian capability.

(Summary of goals courtesy - Australian CIO Magazine 31 May 2011)

Dinesh De Silva is CEO of Nexgroup Asia Pacific, he and his team are available to speak to media , organisations or groups as a keynote / guest speaker on above. Contact him +612 8003 3342, via twitter @dineshdesilva or www.nexgroup.com.au 

NexGroup Asia Pacific, is a World Class Outsourcing business, providing Software development & Accounting, Finance and Legal BPO Services.

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