The AIIA matters more than ever

After three wonderful years, I close 2022 having completed my term as Chair of the Australian Information Industry Association.  Serving as the AIIA Chair for the past three years has been a huge honour.  I am constantly inspired by the contribution of our members across the breadth of the Australian technology sector to great policy and industry outcomes that are growing Australia’s technology capability at a record rate.

Thank-you to Ron Gauci who was CEO for most of my term, Simon Bush as the current CEO, my Deputy Chairs Mark Nicholls and Angela Fox as well as the whole AIIA board and state councils.  And a huge congratulations to Angela Fox who was elected by the board as my successor, I hope she enjoys the role as much as I did.

The last three years have been an exciting ride that has seen a doubling of membership, a revamp of the association and more engagement of AIIA members in the development of good government policy than ever before.  Most importantly for any board, it saw the successful transition of CEOs.

The AIIA matters. The organisation has a proud 40 plus 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.

We also need the Australian digital economy to be a more active participant in Asia Pacific.  In an era where longitude matters more than latitude, Australian innovators need to look to the North first and we need to help industry to source leading technology from there as well.  We should work to be part of our region’s digital ecosystem that spans some of the most exciting economies in the world.  Over the past three years, the AIIA has engaged across the region through more delegations and forums than ever before.

The AIIA can help realise Australia’s potential in an exciting future by facilitating the right conversations across borders, between members, with government and engaging across industries. 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 should 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 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 press release announcing AIIA’s new Chair here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *