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Chancilors Lecture at Swinburne – The Place of Industry in 21st Century Australia

A few weeks ago I went along to my old University, Swinburne, for the Chancellors Lecture. It was an interesting talk from Innes Willox, from the Australian Industry Group on what the future of Australian business was likely to be.

He had a lot of good insights about the next 10 years or 20 years of Australia. The key points of note for me was that can’t hope to compete on resources, can’t hope to compete on anything that gets commoditized and primarily labour costs are high in Australia compared to competing countries.

The key takeaway for me was the answer isn’t to reduce what you pay people, or to reduce the number of people and you can still keep them in Australia. The answer is to increase the productivity (value gained per dollar spent) per person in order to remain competitive.

This is especially true in any industry that has a defensible position, you need the people because their knowledge and experience is the key advantage you have … putting these advantages to better use is where your real investment should lie.

For me this highlighted one thing above all else, business process automation and the adoption of specific business defining technologies is going to be a key factor in keeping Australian businesses from being commoditized out of existence.

In fact I would go as far as to say that next to branding, targeted matching of business and technology is going to be the key survival trait and key differentiater for the next generation of Australian business.

Making technology fit exactly to your business reduces the wastage (of peoples time as well as materials) and also provides the tooling required to keep your key people being as effective to your business as they possibly can.

Reorganising and automating business processes using the right mix of technologies (like websites and tablet devices) can give you a 50% to 80% saving in time and effort which translates directly to an increase in your competitiveness and bottom line.

Click here to download the full lecture (483MB).

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