The Andrews Labor government released the 2015-16 Victorian Budget: For Families on Tuesday 5 May.
The Victorian branch of the Australian Computer Society welcomes the $60 million set aside in the budget for start-ups as this is most definitely a priority.
Everyone knows how hard it is to start up a new business and figures from ABS will attest to the fact that the overwhelming majority of new businesses will fail in their first five years.
BRW's Australian Young Rich list of 2014 shows that seven of the top 10 self-made millionaires and billionaires have one thing in common – they all started a technology-based business.
ACS Victoria also welcomes the government's focus on innovation and technology through the creation and funding of the $200 million Future Industries Fund.
The fund will offer grants of up to $1 million to companies that specialise in high-growth sectors.
This targeted sector strategies approach is a much-needed attempt to capitalise on six of the most promising areas of growth potential in the state.
But the fund could have an even greater effect with a broader focus.
Digital transformation is required to achieve results such as new revenue streams, reduced expenses or improved service delivery to citizens.
For the record, creating an internet home page is not digital transformation. It extends deeper, transforming the way that customers procure, are billed, take delivery of and use their product or service.
Capgemini Consulting and the MIT Sloan School of Management found in a recent study that large companies investing in tech-enabled initiatives increase their revenue.
Companies in the US are digitising their organisations faster than companies in Australia according to a study of 300 firms by Russell Reynolds Associates. The study found that 24% of US organisations have appointed a digital board director compared to just 2% in Australia. We are in a race and risk being left behind.
How many Australian companies include a Chief Information Officer in their strategic business discussions? Research from both academia and business this year suggests the gap between the business and IT divisions still exists. This does not bode well for individual businesses or the broader Victorian economy.
Victorian businesses are either not digitising or under-digitising.
Victorian businesses can't digitise because of a basic lack of understanding at board director and executive level about how pervasive technology enables key business capabilities and creates competitive advantage leading to above-average profit.
All directors need to become digitally competent to allow them to see broader opportunities for their organisations and make decisions about policy directions that will help them evolve. We don't want our leaders mistaking hybrid clouds for community clouds when authorising multi-million dollar technology procurements.
The federal government recently announced the establishment of a Digital Transformation Office to focus on e-government initiatives. Certainly the Victorian government could take a similar approach to transform digitally like any other Victorian organisation and lead the way.
Benefits come in multiples
There is not a single industry in the world now that is not affected by technology in some way, shape or form. Farmers can track where cows are, how often they eat and how much, leading to early detection of sickness. Tractors can be automatically driven using GPS when ploughing. Athletes can track their fitness to within a heartbeat.
A dollar spent on technology has a multiplying effect as its value extends to all industries.
The direction and impact of the Future Industries Fund will be maximised through greater collaboration with professional associations and industry engagement.
It could be used to fund the development of digital literacy for business professionals across all Victorian industries, not just selected sectors.
This would enable digital transformation and shoot Victorian businesses to the forefront of global competition to ensure Victoria's long-term prosperity.