Australia has long been renowned for having a resilient economy, and it’s seen a big shift over the past decade.
Local and federal governments are now significantly investing in technology through various initiatives, helping our local economy flourish, especially via innovation. A multitude of technology incubators and coworking spaces are emerging all over the region, signaling that our technology landscape is poised to make a tremendous global impact.
For example, Sydney-based graphic design software company Canva has raised US$70 million, amassing a total funding amount of $166 million USD and establishing itself as a unicorn. Melbourne-founded payments app Airwallex has also become a unicorn, with a more than $1 billion USD valuation following its latest fundraising efforts of US$100 million.
And there aren’t any signs of a slowdown, as the latest Venture Pulse report shows that Australian startups have received a total of US$1.23 billion in the 2018-19 financial year – a record high. There’s no doubt that we’re going to see more unicorns like Canva and Airwallex in the coming years because Australian investors expect to see greater fundraising amounts raised by later-stage companies.
What are some significant trends driving the Australian technology scene, and how can technology companies continue to quickly innovate to not only meet consumer demand but scale their businesses in our healthy economy? I’m eyeing these three developments:
A tech-driven C-suite
It starts at the top. Business leaders, especially those in the C-suite, understand that strategic objectives need to be enabled and addressed by technology.
That’s because the rapid pace of change and disruption in business mandates real-time technology innovation. Business leaders must ensure that they’ve created versatile products, strategic integrations, in-house management abilities, compelling insights and reporting functionalities, and innovative roadmaps.
These are the keys to not only creating market-leading companies but also capturing the attention of investors and consumers.
As we’re seeing here in Australia, many burgeoning startups are already innovating with these requirements.
A shift from customisation to configuration
Organizations have realized that their needs are rapidly changing, and therefore, technology needs to support managing these changes through configuring extensible platforms.
Customers are demanding that technology must be flexible for implementation, so users can quickly adopt solutions and immediately start seeing value from them. Enterprises are now offering “phased approaches” to drive accelerated adoption and usage, while future-proofing additional requirements at later dates.
The faster customers can adopt technology, the faster companies must create new solutions, and the faster the overall ecosystem needs to innovate to exceed consumer expectations. It’s a healthy recipe that leaves our region well positioned for continued disruption.
A heavy focus on customer experience
Technology solutions can no longer play silo roles in organisations for specific business functions. They must be part of larger technology strategies that tell more compelling customer stories. In other words, technology must be all about customers.
Today’s technology must create exceptional customer experiences to generate greater conversions and loyalty.
Consumers want technology that’s designed specifically for them and their various use cases, putting them at the center of the solutions. For example, Canva is a simple tool that consumers can use to meet their graphic design needs. Its user interface is sleek and easy to navigate, making it extremely consumer friendly to use. As we’re seeing more technology companies flourish in Australia, the more they put their customers at the focus of their products, the more we’ll see them heavily impact the global technology sphere.
It’s incredibly exciting to be part of the thriving Australian technology ecosystem, which is only going to continue to advance in the coming years.
For startups to be successful, they must root their leadership in a technology-first philosophy, enable their customers to quickly adopt their solutions, and put their customers at the epicenter of their services.
If they can achieve these three objectives, they can scale their businesses and become global phenomena. It’s a remarkable time for entrepreneurs and technology leaders here in Australia, and it’s only going to get even better for us.
- Jonathon Coleman is general manager, Asia-Pacific, for JRNI, the leading customer engagement platform for omnichannel conversion.