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Going digital turns out to be Australian business leaders' top concern for 2019
Last Updated: 2018-12-05 16:55 | Xinhua
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Digital transformation is the top issue that Australia's high-flying business leaders will be worrying about in 2019, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

In total, global auditing firm KPMG asked 220 C-level leaders from a wide range of industries in Australia and New Zealand what are the most significant issues facing them in 2019.

While concerns over tax reform, climate change, healthcare and security may seem like issues that could keep business executives up at night, it turned out what really worries them most is all things going digital.

The No.1 concern out of the top 10 issues was deemed to be "digital transformation" and how to deal with it. The topic of "innovation and disruption" was ranked second.

Under immense pressure to constantly upgrade and innovate, organizations saw a mandate for digital transformation, innovation, and changing their business models to better meet increasing customer needs and expectations to become more nimble and responsive, said KPMG Acuity Partner Amanda Hicks.

"At the same time, they recognize this needs to be done in a period of potentially increasing regulation, political uncertainty, and with continued cost pressures. It can be seen as a difficult balancing act," Hicks said.

"Regulation" and "political paralysis" were ranked third and forth on the list respectively, with many of the country's business leaders alarmed at the growing polarization of Australia's political landscape at a time when difficult and complex reforms are needed.

"It may seem that 2019 is a record peak for regulation. But in actuality, we haven't even begun to answer the truly huge new regulatory question of our time: how to deal with the Industrial Revolution 4.0," according to the report.

"New tech, especially in the fields of big data, machine learning and AI is booming, and regulation has not even come close to keeping pace. The medium-term challenge will be to refocus our regulatory concerns on the impact new tech is having, and will have," the report said.

While more traditional business concerns such as "customer centricity," "cost competitiveness" and "public trust" came in on the list at fifth, sixth and seventh position, two more digital issues landed in eighth and ninth spot.

"Cybersecurity and data privacy" along with "big data" continue to present major challenges for the corporate world.

Rounding out the list at No.10 was the topic of "infrastructure and liveable cities," with many fearing Australia's wide-open cities are becoming clogged with too many people and insufficient management systems.

"Transport congestion in our major cities is now overlaid by a waste "crisis" and challenges in efficiently providing electricity, water and human services to support growing, ageing populations," according to the report.

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