KPMG recently surveyed Australian business leaders to explore the key issues keeping them up at night. While the survey yielded a top-10 list of concerns, a number of other key themes emerged across these concerns.
Chief among these was trust. In an era where the notion of trust is being codified into legislation such as Australia’s notifiable data breaches (NDB) scheme and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), finding ways to build trust with various stakeholders is essential.
Customer-centricity is another key theme that must receive more than just lip service. Leaders must put customers at the heart of everything they do.
The third theme is the significant need for innovation. While this isn’t a new concept, it is persistently important and continues to mature and gain complexity. Leaders are starting to realise that innovation is the only way to add value in the organisation, whether it’s through encouraging innovation from employees or implementing innovative solutions to achieve transformation and growth.
There are five ways you can address these challenges and drive value in your organisation:
Most organisations are already aware of the importance of corporate citizenship and have initiatives in place around recycling, minimising environmental impact, and doing business sustainably. For organisations with a good base level of corporate citizenship in place, another action to consider is helping to eradicate modern slavery and exploitation. This can be done, in part, through ethical sourcing.
It’s essential to focus on the entire supply chain and operations to develop a true ethical sourcing approach. This includes logistics and back-end equipment. However, this can be easier said than done. One report found that none of the companies in Australia that were examined could prove they had fully investigated whether the materials used in their products had been obtained using slave labour or some other form of exploitation.
With growing public support for companies that can demonstrate their credentials around ethical sourcing, improving your procedures in this area can drive significant value. This extends beyond simply vetting your supply chain but also providing evidence that all business assets and services, from professional services to photocopiers, have been sourced ethically.
Konica Minolta has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact since 2008. The company is committed to ensuring human rights due diligence, and became a member of the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition (EICC) in 2013, incorporating the EICC Code as its Supplier Code of Conduct. In 2016, the Australian business became a part of the Global Compact Network in Australia, demonstrating commitment to cascade international obligations in a local context.
Building trust with customers and other stakeholders depends on being able to prove that their data is safe in your hands. As well as being subject to legislation, the way you manage data has a significant impact on your reputation. A successful data breach can cause customers to quickly lose faith in your business.
It’s therefore important to put the right information management systems in place to avoid data silos and hidden data. The right enterprise content management (ECM) approach can help ensure you know where your data is at all times and can comply with legislative requirements and customer expectations.
Managing data extends to being in control of hardcopies as much as digital versions. You can do this by managing print permissions to ensure unauthorised people can’t print out documents they’re not entitled to access. You can also use pull-printing to avoid the all-too-common scenario of confidential information sitting on the printer output tray because the person has forgotten to collect it. Pull-printing requires the user to enter a code or swipe a card at the printer before their job will be released, so there is no delay between the document printing out and the person collecting it safely.
If your business is process-heavy with cumbersome systems that make it hard to access information, then your ability to put customers first is severely compromised. You can address this by automating your systems wherever possible, creating streamlined processes that let you concentrate on delivering an exceptional customer experience instead of pushing paper. This can help you become nimbler and more responsive to changing customer demands.
Innovation is crucial to meet business challenges head on and turn them into advantages for your business. In large enterprises, innovation can be hard to nurture because longevity and size create inertia that can be hard to overcome. You can become more innovative by creating a culture of innovation that lets teams behave more like start-ups and less like large enterprises.
Strong leadership is absolutely crucial to fostering a culture of innovation. Without a firm guiding hand and clear support, innovative initiatives will die off. And, innovation shouldn’t just be the job of one person or team. Your organisation should be diverse enough to encompass varying opinions and perspectives. Then, you can harness that diversity and make innovation everyone’s job to maximise the volume and quality of ideas that can be considered.
While innovation unquestionably drives value, it’s important to remember that innovative initiatives also need to be funded and supported at the highest levels of the business for them to make a measurable impact.
Digital transformation and shiny new technologies can be distracting for organisations that are looking for ways to innovate for increased competitiveness. With finite resources and infinite possibilities, directing your attention to the right technologies can be tough.
Artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) all have enormous potential to dramatically improve business efficiencies, uncover new revenue streams, and sharpen your competitive edge. Start by understanding your business and industry, and the specific challenges you face. You can then determine how these technologies can fit into your existing plans and transform your operations for the better.
Working with the right partners can help ensure you achieve a strong return on investment. This can help prove to shareholders and other stakeholders that new and emerging technologies will deliver value, clearing the path for future investments.
 KPMG survey
 Ethical Electronics Guide: 2016 Electronics Industry Trends; Nimbalker, Gershon et al.; Baptist World Aid Australia; February 2016.
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