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The Transformative Power of Digital Innovation

In each of the past three years, Harvey Nash Australia has hosted a digital innovation event, bringing together some of Australia's brightest minds to explore the impact of digital on our jobs, our businesses and our lives. This, our fourth year, was another standout event.

With participation from more than 150 business, technology and digital leaders, our discussion was led by an outstanding panel of experts:

Faye Ilhan, Chief Digital Officer, Dan Murphy's
Karen Stocks, Managing Director, Twitter Australia
Craig Rees, Group Product Manager (Platforms), Atlassian

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From left: Anna Frazzetto, CDTO and SVP, Harvey Nash; Faye Ilhan, CDO, Dan Murphy's; Craig Rees, Group Product Manager (Platforms), Altassian; Karen Stocks, Managing Director, Twitter Australia; Simon Wassall, European Managing Director, Harvey Nash plc; Bridget Gray, Managing Director, Harvey Nash Australia.

View all photos from the event here

To kick off the event, we shared some of the trends Harvey Nash has been tracking in its research.

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Some of the topics our panel explored included the challenges of finding people with the skills needed to drive digital innovation, new approaches to the workforce, uncovering the true value of data and boundaryless transformation.

Talent acquisition is a persistent challenge. There are significant shortages in home-grown data skills and other areas of digital expertise. A possible solution is relocation--send some of our top talent to Europe or the U.S. to gain the knowledge needed to lead transformation efforts here or persuade the best to come to Australia from other places to increase the breadth of our local knowledge base.

Working with Millennials requires new approaches. While the youngest generation brings new ideas and a new energy to the workplace, the best way to tap into their potential is to transform traditional management styles in order to harness what Millennials can bring to the table. Ask yourself: How can my culture evolve to ensure the right dynamics for Millennials? This kind of exploration can lead to optimized performance across multiple generations.

The value of data is not in its abundance but in how you use it to optimize the customer experience. The overwhelming focus on data as the driver of digital transformation can be misleading, cautions Faye Ilhan, chief digital officer, Dan Murphy's. The ultimate goal is to use data to solve a problem for your customer. That requires a healthy balance between technology and customer experience. For Dan Murphy's, that lesson became abundantly clear when they discovered that a focus on barcode data to track and predict buying habits was trumped by actual consumer behavior.

Customers don't select beverages based on barcodes; they snap pictures of labels to identify favorite products and Tweet them. The bottom line: make the data relevant to people. Instead of trying to understand a hundred trends, focus on the top five where you can really make a difference for your customer.

Digital strategy has no boundaries. It is meant to transform your business across the board. While the concept of digital transformation may have been born in media and advertising, it has now crossed into all industries. Within every business, it impacts every function and prompts the need for a health check: What does my organization look like today and how can I leapfrog my competition? Hence the rise of the CDO.

Craig Rees, group product manager (platforms), Atlassian, advises that this kind of universal transformation requires strong leadership and a culture that embraces risk without fear of failure. This goes well beyond evaluating a tech strategy. It pervades an organization as all teams look at ways to get bigger, better, faster.

Additional commentary from two of our panelists was captured here: Faye Ilhan, Chief Digital Officer, Dan Murphy's and Craig Rees, Group Product Manager (Platforms), Atlassian. Take a look!

It was a great evening with lots of energy and enthusiasm ensuring a lively discussion about the transformative power of digital innovation. What was abundantly clear is that Australia has a thriving digital community, focused on setting the pace for innovation, although the source of innovation is no longer exclusive to a few people in IT or R&D; it is now an enterprise priority for any organization that expects to lead in the future. We are all the beneficiaries of this trend, as digital has made innovation much more accessible to everybody. What are your thoughts? We'd love to hear from you!

Anna Frazzetto, Chief Digital Technology Officer & Bridget Gray, Managing Director, Harvey Nash plc