The latest Digital Readiness Report (December 2019) by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) saw a drop in businesses digital confidence since 2016. The report aimed to get a better understanding of how businesses in Queensland are using technology to increase brand awareness, connect with their customers and grow their businesses. Further, the report explored the greater opportunities and limitations businesses are facing when implementing digital technology.The report uncovered four key insights, all of which paint an interesting picture about Queensland businesses digital readiness as we move into the new decade.1. Businesses are using social media, but most don't know if it's working.2. The National Broadband Network (NBN) is fuelling cloud-based businesses.3. More businesses are covering data management and data security risks, with 77% of respondents confident that their data is secure.4. Businesses are less optimistic about their ability to get an advantage from implementing technology in their business, with a drop in optimism from 90% to 78% since 2016.In this article, we will explore and attempt to understand the underlying factors driving this reduction in digital confidence, and discuss how we may use technology to combat the reduction.
What is digital confidence?
The Brisbane Digital Confidence Index report conducted by QUT in partnership with Brisbane Marketing in 2018 defines digital confidence as, "trusting that expectations will be met to overcome constraints in the digital economy". The report goes on to state that without confidence in our digital economy, driving successful outcomes becomes difficult. This is a cyclical loop, if confidence in our digital economy starts to falter, we will no longer believe our expectations will be met causing confidence to fall further and the cycle repeats.
Since CCIQ last released their Digital Readiness Report in 2016, we have seen a reduction in digital confidence by a staggering 20%, to only 78% in 2019. So if digital confidence is largely driven by our trust in exceeding the constraints of our digital economy, what could be causing this drop? There is one metric in the CCIQ report that could have an impact, that is the National Broadband Network.
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is the driving force behind digital readiness
The Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) is one of the largest infrastructure projects Australia has ever undertaken. The NBN aimed to build the framework required to power Australia's digital economy, providing both urban and rural businesses and consumers with world class internet. The sentiment surrounding the NBN has however shifted quite drastically since it was first announced.
Areas that were part of the early rollout of the NBN were fortunate enough to get access to the Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, others have been relegated to "mixed technologies". These technologies have experienced sub-par performance, with many reporting lower than advertised speeds and reliability. This is especially prevalent in rural and remote communities, where in many cases they have been downgraded to fixed wireless or satellite technologies, both of which have significantly poorer performance when compared to even their mixed technology urban counterparts.
This has driven a digital divide between not only urban centres with access to FTTP and those who don't, but more importantly, urban and rural communities. What was supposed to close the digital divide in Australia and provide us with tools for our digital economy to flourish, has widened this gap even further than before.
We can see a shift in public opinion from the business community reflected in the Digital Readiness Report. From the 2016 report, 70% of respondents believed the NBN represented a good investment of taxpayers money. In the most recent 2019 report, that figure is now only 36%. If business owners are now seeing the "backbone" of Australia's digital economy no longer a worthy investment, it could be one of the factors causing the drop in digital confidence over the past 3 years.
How to improve your digital readiness with software
Over the next 12 months, Queensland businesses are planning their digital investment primarily on new or updating software as well as focusing more on the cloud according CCIQs findings. This is indicative that despite the drop in overall digital confidence, organisations are still wanting to invest in new technologies. If investment in these areas results in positive outcomes for business, we could also expect an increase in digital confidence. This means businesses must be very prescriptive in how they target their investment to ensure the best digital and business outcomes are achieved.
When considering investing in a software solution, businesses will often assume a commercial off-the-shelf solution (COTS) is always the best solution. Whilst a COTS solution can be beneficial in some circumstances, they can also carry a lot of risk, and if you're not careful, very expensive.
Imagine you decide to invest in a COTS solution. You pick a solution that seems to fit your business needs, and offers you a range of additional features, at additional cost. Over the next two years, your business needs grows. In order to ensure the COT's solution continues to meet the demands of your business, you are required to spend a significant portion of your capital to maintain and further customise the software to meet your requirements. What was once a simple off-the-shelf product is now highly customised in an attempt to suit your business. While COTS has many benefits (i.e. extensive feature sets), the long term costs associated with an off-the-shelf solution are often overlooked.
The benefits of using custom software to improve your digital readiness
If you're looking to invest in new software, or need to upgrade an existing system, you may have realised that COTS isn't necessarily the best solution for what you're trying to achieve.
Custom software enables you to address many of the shortfalls of a COTS solution. The most instrumental benefit to building your own custom software solution is you own what you're building. There are no licence fees, no worrying about which tier is appropriate for your business and you aren't at the mercy of the COTS provider if something were to happen the solution. You are in complete control.
Rather than using a COTS solution, custom software allows you to build a feature set that fits your business requirements exactly. As your business grows your investment in your custom software solutions stays the same, in contrast with COTS which grows. This gives you far more control over how much you're spending on the software you deploy in your business. When implementing software into your business, it's important to consider how you will be using the software you deploy so you can make the right decision between building something custom or buying an off-the-shelf solution. Doing so will ensure you're getting the most value out of your investment and can improve your organisation's digital readiness.
Start building custom software
If you're interested in improving your digital readiness and exploring custom software solutions further, your next step is to consider which firm is right for you. WorkingMouse is a professional services company specialising in bespoke web and mobile software development. We use the Codebots technology and our unique agile process, the Way of Working, to de-risk projects and deliver solutions tailored to the needs of your users. Codebots is our in house platform engineering tool that modernises enterprise software delivery for digital transformation and legacy system. The platform, empowers cross-functional software teams with reusable tools and capbilities through model driven engineering and DevOps.
Contact us now for a consultation or find out more about solutions we've helped create.