As the year comes to a close, I’m very proud to share that I have been selected to be the new chair of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). I am even more excited by the calibre of the incoming board and state councils. The commitment that so many member organisations are making to their peak industry body augers well for the future of Australia!
The AIIA matters. The organisation has a proud 40-year history as the peak body of the information and communications technology industry, but its most important work lies in the future. We all need the Australian economy to transition to be more oriented around digital and technology so that we are full participants in the global transformation that has been dubbed the fourth industrial revolution.
The AIIA can help realise Australia’s potential in this exciting future by facilitating the right conversations between members, government and across industry. There is no better time for this to happen as we navigate a fascinating time in technology. The information economy is maturing, and we are actively debating topics that probably should be have been discussed years ago.
The fourth industrial revolution means that software is well and truly out of the back office and embedded in everything we all do every day. There is a massive convergence of many technologies that were previously irrelevant to the majority of Australians, from space through to agriculture, from big data through to electric vehicles and from artificial intelligence through to the mainstream news media.
Regulators are trying to catch-up with changes to the way we live and work, workers have to learn new skills for the jobs of tomorrow and almost every industry has to turn the way they do business on its head.
To support this transition, the technology sector and the AIIA needs to be an active participant in growing productivity, which the Australian Bureau of Statistics identifies as having stalled and creating jobs for the future. As a sector, we have amazing capabilities, but we need to be better at arguing for their adoption both in business and government and at ensuring the benefits are realised.
When I talk to the AIIA’s members there is a common theme. While we compete enthusiastically in our respective markets, our major challenge is not winning individual projects or selling our products but rather providing confidence to all users of technology to make the right investments and see them through to realise the benefits. All too often, too much time is spent in planning for a new technology only to see it fail at the last investment hurdle.
If a project doesn’t stack-up, then it is the fault of our sector for even putting it on the table. But, if the envisioned benefit is real then then the failure to win the needed investment or leadership commitment is more likely through our sector failing to provide the necessary confidence.
That is why all of us need to lift our commitment to skills and professionalism as well as make sure we are taking the industry forward. As individuals we need to be members of our professional association (the Australian Computer Society) and as organisations we need to be members of our peak body (the Australian Information Industry Association). No one professional or organisation can drive this change on their own. No one professional or organisation will realise the opportunity without the whole country looking firmly to the future.
You can read the full press release here and I hope you will join me on this journey in 2020!