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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Borders Will Not Stop the Merging of the Digital Divide

By Dan Petrie

The re-opening of state borders, while politically charged, has revealed one key learning, that at no time in history has the digital embrace been more important and being online been so critical.

In assessing the series of digital transformation pieces produced by the Brisbane West Chamber of Commerce in 2020 it is instructive to know that e-commerce transactions have brought forward ways of doing business by close to a decade according to the National Retailers Association.

The modern day business is digital to the point where you don't need a printer to sign documents as Adobe PDF can assist in that regard, the data retained in a business is accessible via a phone and the forms for business are provided by a suite of local and international providers.

The days of CD-roms and in-house servers are gone and mobility is now the key in navigating the digital economy.

In the space of less than a decade, the way work and business is conducted has fundamentally shifted to the point that what has been done for decades is being shifted to a combination of online and good old fashioned customer service.

In assessing the impact of Coronavirus and in particular the closure of state borders, it is important to note that overall activity was heavily impacted and while working from home and cafes has helped breach part of that gap, Australia as a whole is an interconnected federation.

Digital transformation, whether it be running Microsoft 365, Google, Adobe, Xero accounting software and storing key files in the cloud is essentially about complementing the running of the business so that it can function more efficiently.

While communications, administration and compliance has predominantly moved online, there are only so many Zoom calls one can stand before craving collaboration.

Interestingly, when the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the state would open its border to Victoria and Greater Sydney, online travel bookings went up by 300% according to media reports.

So the upshot from the great work from home experiment is that increasingly as businesses and consumers we have become more sophisticated in our commercial lives whilst wanting to maintain the human connection.

Borders did in fact close in 2020 but the digital transformation which took place as a result of COVID proved the arbitrary lines on a map did little to stop the online economy. 


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