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Australian companies need to shift from being fast followers to first movers says Deloitte

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26 May 2014: The competitiveness of Australian companies will depend on a range of factors, but will ultimately come down to how quickly and efficiently we can innovate and adapt to the needs of customers in new markets, says Deloitte in its recently released report Australian Business Trends 2014: How Australian business can capitalise on the latest global trends.

This report examines how Australian businesses can capitalise on the latest global trends facing business in order to benefit from new technologies and an accompanying explosion in the movement of goods, services, capital, people, ideas, cultures and values.
“Australia is well placed to capitalise on this changing economic landscape, especially due to its proximity to the growth markets of Asia,” says Selwyn D’Souza, lead Strategy partner at Deloitte.

“A billion people are expected to enter the ‘middle class’ globally over the next two decades, and this spread of prosperity will offer a raft of opportunities for businesses who move first, and challenges for those that lag behind.”
The report has three core themes which Deloitte believes are the areas that company executives and decision-makers will need to focus on in the future, to help provide first mover advantage.

New Consumers

The growth in consumption in the Asia-Pacific region will offer huge opportunities to Australian companies, especially across the financial services, retail and telecommunications industries. In a highly competitive Australian market, the next wave of growth is likely to come from emerging Asian markets and their burgeoning middle classes.

“Strengthening our already strong relationships with the new global giants such as China and India will become more important than ever as we seek to establish a stronger presence in their markets and their companies continue to enter ours.”
Cross-sectoral collaboration between business, government and non-profit organisations will become increasingly important for Australian businesses looking to increase their social impact.

“For business/non-profit partnerships to be more effective Australian businesses will need to take a longer-term view and manage expectations of return on investment and profit growth for sustained success,” said Mr D’Souza. “It will be the forward-looking Australian businesses that proactively take opportunities to innovate and serve the needs of low-income consumers in the Asia-Pacific region which will enjoy the benefits of increased market share, profit growth and brand differentiation.”

New Collaborations

The rapid growth of second and third-tier cities in Asia is likely to offer big opportunities for Australian companies to do business there. Capabilities that were once exclusive to large businesses are now available on open markets, enabling organisations to capitalise on the increased adoption of digital technologies.

“Businesses can benefit from leveraging infrastructure developments such as the NBN, and the remote pools of talent, to stimulate invention in regional industries and locations,” added Mr D’Souza.

New Leadership

There are plenty of examples of organisations expanding their C-suites by creating new executive positions to cater for the rapidly changing business environment.

In Australia, the development of the C-suite has mirrored the global experience. There has been an acute appreciation of the requirement for deep levels of expertise in an increasing array of functions, creating new positions such as Chief Customer Officer, Chief Risk Officer and Chief Data Officer, among other specialist roles.

“The creation of these new C-suite roles demonstrates the increasing need for functional expertise in digital, customer insight, innovation and transformation at the leadership table,” concluded Mr D’Souza.

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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May 2014 

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