Category Archives: Strategy

Have your say in Victoria’s digital economy strategy

The Victorian Government is seeking your input into the development of a strategy to support Victoria’s digital economy. Many of the ideas in our Hume Region Digital Strategy are applicable statewide and we expect many will be represented in the Victorian strategy.

This initiative has been described and explained on www.digital-economy.vic.gov.au as follows:

“The Victorian Government is establishing a conversation with Victorian’s to inform and engage the government’s Digital Economy Strategy. This engagement program will inform the strategy and influence the strategy actions to build the digital capability of Victorian businesses.

The Digital Economy Strategy aims to position Victoria as a strong and innovative digital economy that can capture the substantial benefits and opportunities generated by digital technologies.”

We have discussed and written about many aspects of the digital economy on this blog and we encourage those of you who have contributed to and followed the digitalhume.com.au blog to submit ideas. This will ensure the views of businesses and the community in the Hume Region is well-represented.

You can submit your ideas and exchange views with others through the online portal. You will need to sign up to join the conversation, a process that takes about 60 seconds.

The strategy will be broken into seven key themes. You can have your say on each theme. The themes are outlined below:

Digital Inclusion

“Digital inclusion refers to the extent to which all people and groups are able to use and benefit from ICT. It includes not only access to the internet, but also the availability of hardware and software, content and services, and training in digital literacy skills.”

This is a great chance for you to provide feedback on what you feel are barriers to entry for digital, whether it be in a personal or business capacity. As more services and social interactions move online, it’s important that everyone is kept involved and engaged to prevent large knowledge gaps.

Have your say on digital inclusion

Productive and Competitive SMEs

Research has shown that digital engagement is a key factor to success for SMEs and large business alike. Businesses who lack access to digital resources may find themselves falling behind in a digital economy.

Have your input about how digital has been affecting your business, what information and resources you need to keep up or voice your concerns.

Have your say on Productive and Competitive SMEs

Digital Infrastructure

“The Victorian Government is continuing to consider ways to support Victorians to access the telecommunications infrastructure and services they need. We want your views on issues that are affecting you and on some of the suggestions we’ve received about how to improve access to digital communications.”

Have your say on Digital Inclusion

Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Digital technologies provide a huge opportunity for Victorian businesses to change their business models, access wider customer markets and improve their offerings. What do you need as a business to improve through digital innovation? How can the Victorian Government encourage digital innovation and entrepreneurship?

Have your say on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A Skilled Workforce

The digital economy means that businesses must acquire new skills and expertise. Whether you are building skills internally, hiring new staff or outsourcing tasks, it is important that businesses have access to the knowledge they need. Have you had trouble finding the right expertise, need advice on where to look or what you need?

Have your say on a Skilled Workforce

Telecommuting

Digital technologies provide a great opportunity for businesses to reap the benefits of telecommuting or ‘teleworking’. Telecommuting is the ability of employees to work and communicate remotely from their work location, for example at home or on the move.

Many businesses are already utilising this opportunity to ensure they have a more flexible workforce and better retention of skills. For individuals living in a region like Hume telecommuting also provides great opportunities to work remotely for larger businesses based in the major cities.. Tell Business Victoria how you’re making the most of teleworking or what’s stopping you from getting started.

Have your say on Telecommuting

Leadership in Government

“Achieving these goals is a challenging task. In the coming decades, Victoria’s rapidly growing and ageing population means that our public sector will have to deliver more services to more people from a relatively smaller revenue base. We will have to be much smarter and more innovative about how we design and deliver these services. The substantial cost reductions and flexibility offered by cloud computing may provide the key to developing new, cost-effective delivery models that enable us to keep up with demand while matching customer expectations and safeguarding privacy.”

Provide feedback on how government can provide services to best meet your needs. Do you want to be involvement in improvements and initiatives? Tell them about your experiences.

Have your say on Leadership in Government

You can also follow and join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #DigitalEconomyVic

The ‘Internet Advantage’ for SMEs

According to a report from the Boston Consulting Group a surprising number of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) worldwide are “leaving an enormous opportunity untapped”.

Across 11 of the G-20 countries, SMEs using high levels of digital technology have experienced revenue growth that was up to 22 percent higher than that achieved by SMEs with low or no use of the web over a three year period.

Sales at what BCG refer to as “high-web companies” increased six times as fast as revenues at firms with no internet presence. This is partly due to the fact high-web companies are twice as likely to have access to national or international customer bases outside of their local market.

The Boston Consulting group have highlighted five ‘levers’ that explain the advantages high-web SME’s receive that businesses in the Hume region may also capitalise on.

1. Geographic Expansion: The internet creates a borderless world for many SME’s, enabling them to compete with much larger, multinational companies by accessing markets that were previously out of reach.

2. Enhanced Marketing: Online marketing delivers expanded reach and measurable returns. It also yields valuable data about consumers and their preferences, enabling targeted and personalised advertising and offers.

3. Improved Customer Interactions: Social media make it possible for companies to engage in real-time dialog with customers not only to boost sales but also to build loyalty and even to help create, refine and enhance products and services.

4. Leveraging The Cloud: SMEs can access sophisticated, often cloud-based, tools to enhance a wide range of functions, including customer relationship management, information management, and customer payments. As a result, these companies can grow quickly without requiring large investments in infrastructure.

5. Easier and Quicker Staff Recruitment: The recruiting options available today are more powerful and less expensive that ever before, and they enable SMEs to tap a global talent market.

So what’s stopping SME’s tapping into these under-utilised levers? Barriers are generally identified as poor access to technology, lack of capabilities, lack of resources and doubt over the potential returns.

The good news is that none of these levers are out of reach for the average Australian business. Almost all basic tools are available in a free format and there are countless resources to help you get them working for your business.

A great place to start is to take the digital diagnostic on this website (also available through www.digitaldiagnostic.net.au). THe diagnostic takes 5 minutes to complete and will highlight areas where you can start working on your business. The diagnostic tool then links to a series of resources to help you get started on the changes you need to make.

 

 

Shaping success for your enterprise

The fourth strategic focus area of the Hume digital strategy is about encouraging digitally enabled business in the Hume region. New research conducted by IBM and the NIEIR (National Institute of Economic and Industry Research) has presented evidence of superior financial performance for digitally advanced enterprises.

The key message is that enterprises cannot afford to stand still as digital technologies continue to redefine the business and government landscape. Several factors, including faster broadband and more sophisticated e-commerce systems, are exposing Australian organisations to unprecedented competition both domestically and abroad.

Organisations who recognise the need for change can build a transformation agenda as set out by the IBM report in five steps below.

1. Establish your position quickly. Establish whether you are a leader or a follower within your market. A good way to look at this is to focus on metrics that indicate your ability to compete in the digital age. e.g. percentage of services or sales delivered online.

2. Clarify timing. How important is it to be a leader in your sector? How quickly are digital technologies impacting your industry and how fast is your organisation’s capacity to change? These are questions you need to consider when timing your digital transformation.

3. Identify levers for action. Review which ‘levers’ are available to your organisation to drive change. They may be how you deal with your customers, how you reinvent your work practices and incentives, how you manage your cost base, how you use technology and assets or how you engage with your stakeholders.

4. Set priorities. While all your levers of change are important, you will need to decide where to focus your efforts and in what time frames. Keep in mind the plans of your competitors and how each set of actions tie back to your transformation objectives. Be sure to track progress once your priorities have been decided.

5. Develop a transformation narrative. Create a ‘story’ that clearly expresses your current position, the need for change and your plan for the future. Undertake the narrative on both a high level and a detailed business level. Describe how time will be managed and set targets.

While the IBM research is targeted at generally larger enterprises, all local businesses can start by completing the online digital readiness diagnostic. The 25 question tool will help you understand where you currently stand and where you need to go.

The full report in detail and other resources are available from IBM for download.

Encouraging Digital Business

The fourth strategic focus of the the Hume Digital Strategy is to encourage digitally enabled business. There is a major opportunity in the region to enhance and learn from the success of existing innovative businesses, to attract further sectors that are knowledge driven, smart and green, and to enable local business to find and form global markets and alliances by:

  • Best-in-class public-private partnering supporting the digital economy, including collaborations between business, governments and TAFE/universities
  • Ensuring all business support activity is digitally informed
  • Promoting skills acquisition and knowledge sharing
  • Creating direct opportunities through procurement
  • Targeting support by local government to promote the economic opportunities of key sectors in each sub region
  • Promoting Hume as the region for digitally enabled businesses in Victoria

Continue reading

Transforming Public Services and Community Engagement using Digital Media

Strategic focus three of the Hume Digital Economy Strategy is to use new digital media to create smarter, better-designed, more accessible public services with reduced costs and higher impact, tailored to local communities and businesses. There are enormous opportunities in the public sector to utilise these technologies. Examples include:

  • Use of social media for engagement, services and services
  • Tele-working
  • Sharing costs and experiences
  • Involving residents in service design and delivery
  • Opening up access to data, and
  • Using digital platforms to improve emergency services

To achieve the goal of improved services and engagement the region will focus on the following actions:

  • Review of the design and delivery of services in a digital era by every public sector organisation in the region
  • Identifying the specific needs in terms of digital infrastructure
  • Reviewing digital skills of staff and how they can potentially use mobile and social technologies
  • Reviewing how smart data can be managed and utilised
  • Finding digital champions within organisations who can promote change
  • Reviewing how fibre networks can be used to deliver services
  • Committing to a regional and partner Open Data Policy
  • Ensuring all not-for-profit organisations, companies and other partners delivering programs for the the public sector have their own digital strategies and digital inclusion policies
  • Review use of online platforms in the context of improving emergency services

Specific actions for individual partners are included in the Digital Hume action plan.

What do you think of the actions above? Do you have any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from others in the region with ideas and initiatives that are already underway.

How to get everyone in the Hume Region online by 2017

The second strategic focus of the Hume Digital Strategy is to get everyone online by 2017. The economic gain from enabling an extra 10 per cent of the population to get online has been estimated by the Federal Government as resulting in a minimum increase of over 0.5 per cent in the areas output or wealth.

Obviously ensuring access for the community is the first step in getting people online which is the first strategic focus of the report. Once the platform is in place we still need to ensure we get region-wide participation and that we develop the skills needed to participate effectively in order to ensure digital readiness. (see Figure below. source: Hume Digital Strategy)

Digital readiness requires access, participation and skills

Digital readiness

The region as a whole must commit to a “broad campaign and program of projects to raise enthusiasm, skills and digital inclusion”. The specific actions outlined in the strategy are:

  • To set a bold target for all online by 2017. The aim is to drive and motivate partners and the community towards the goal of a networked region
  • To develop a tool to assess broadband readiness and the use of digital media
  • To ensure partners make digital inclusion a priority and are digital champions for their area, client or community group
  • Ensuring best practice is shared and activities coordinated
  • Focusing on groups at risk of digital exclusion such as over 60s, the indigenous community, people with a disability, recent migrants and refugees
  • Focusing on businesses that historically have low take up, such as those in agriculture and hospitality sectors, and small business enterprises
  • Focusing on re-skilling and/or up-skilling those in work or seeking to enter the workforce
  • Exploiting libraries and other relevant public infrastructure to act as key digital hubs for access and skills
  • Driving up community acquisition and use of digital skills and demand for broadband through increased digitisation of services and engagement with residents via online platforms and social media, and
  • Ensuring public spaces have WI-FI connectivity/availability

The full Digital Strategy documents can be downloaded here.

Are you involved in getting people online in the region? We’d love to hear your story via our comments and Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Maximising the impact of the NBN in the Hume Region

The recent Hume Digital strategy emphasised that the region needs to maximise the impact of the NBN in order to enable future success. The report acknowledged that there are some big challenges including:

  • Supply gaps and unmet needs in the region
  • Time – it will take up to ten years to roll the NBN out across the region
  • Not all areas will receive 100Mbps

The RDA Hume Committee dedicated to implementing the strategy have committed to:

  • Ensuring good working partnerships between the three tiers of government via the Hume strategy partnership group, NBN Co and other broadband and mobile providers
  • Increasing the use of and access to existing public sector networks
  • Exploring the creation of regional data centres in and for the Hume Region

Some longer-term actions that the region will examine include:

  • Generating innovative solutions for improving wireless broadband supply
  • Aggregating demand for and purchasing of high-speed broadband services to reduce cost and improve quality
  • Exploring how to aggregate demand for and purchasing of of high speed services to reduce costs and improve quality

CASE STUDY: Public Sector Demand Aggregation – HumeNET
The HumeNET fibre, serving the Hume Regional Alliance, formed in 2006 and built on the former HumeNET Ltd and the Hume ICT Alliance, runs HumeNET, a broadband network linking healthcare centres. Service areas encompass acute health, community and primary health, and some local GP network connections. The Hume Rural Health Alliance spans regional hospitals, 14 community health providers and nine health information service providers. One of the local users of HumeNET, the Alexandra District Hospital, is consistently recognised as one of the leaders in the delivery or rural healthcare and has received awards and nominations in the Victorian Healthcare Awards every year since 2006.
As a member of the Hume Rural Health Alliance and long term user of the HumeNET fibre network, the experience of the hospital points to the opportunities associated with high-speed broadband access, but also where there remain important obstacles for further participation and use.

Do you have an opinion on how to maximise the use of the NBN in the region? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

The content from this post was extracted from our Digital Strategy which is available for download here.

Hume Region Digital Strategy

RDA Hume recently released the Digital Strategy for the Hume Region. Over the coming weeks we will be blogging about the five key strategy focus areas which are:

  1. Maximising the impact of the NBN
  2. Striving to get “all online by 2017″
  3. Working towards transforming public services and community engagement
  4. Encouraging digitally enabled business
  5. Marketing Digital Hume

Please join the conversation via Facebook and Twitter.

In the meantime the strategy can be downloaded on our Digital Strategy page.