Navigating the Choppy Seas of Digital Disruption

​Oceania CACS Opening Keynote

Oceania CACS is one of the most important events on the ISACA annual calendar. This year's Oceania CACS, had over 200 register attendees and boasted representatives from US, Afghanistan, Tunisia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Germany at Oceania CACS 2016 was led by the PNG chapter of ISACA but held on the Gold Coast.

The opening keynote was given by ISACA CEO, Matt Loeb.

Disruption is normal, says Loeb. Citing Alvin Tofler, in hist book "Future Shock" he said change driven by technology is normal. Business, society and people are being changed by technology.

Loeb says that recent research points to just half the world's population has internet access and many of those people have two or more connected devices. So, digital disruption will continue to move forward.

"We live in a digital era. The time we live in now is not that differnt to the Indsutrial Revolution," he says.

However, more than half of businesses are not looking at the potentials for disruption and over 30% of board members believe company revenues will be under threat by digital disruption by 2020 according to a recent MIT study published in the Harvard Business Review. Fewer than two-thirds felt digital should be a priority now.

Unlike older business models, Loeb says the digital world is about ecosystems where platforms are critical and customer service supported by third party products and integration are key. And the ability to connect everything to the Internet will be a major driver of disruption.

Loeb says "The importance of security, audit, technology, governance, risk and compliance requires emphasis on these critical fields".

Companies need a more holistic view of their enterprises, customers, strategies and desired outcomes in order to navigate "the choppy seas" of disruption.

Loeb says "Compliance is foundational to digital transformation. It cannot be a chore - it has to be a core competence".

Interestingly, while many security experts see too much focus compliance, as a series of checkboxes, as a detriment to good security practice. However, this requires and change in attitude. Often, security to delegated to the technology function with compliance a board or c-suite concern. But this needs to change.

Keeping up with the technologies isn't enough, he says. Loeb suggests a knowledge of how emerging technology can impact the business rather. Understanding how things work together, rather than deep, technical domain expertise is critical. He says companies need to invest in being a step ahead.

"It's about staying relevant through digital disruption".

Data published in the Sloan Management Review, cited by Loeb, says there are some key technologies that need to become second nature to businesses. Analytics, security and the Internet of Things (IoT) need to become second nature for companies that will thrive in an era of disruption.

Risk is often seen as a challenge but Loeb says risks are opportunities an organisation hasn't taken advantage of yet. By becoming comfortable with risk companies can encourage rapid innovation and investments in measured experiments. And having people who can embrace this change are incredibly valuable, offering the opportunities for increased profit and revenue according to research.

However, most organisations are still struggling, says Loeb. But he implored the audience to manage their organisations' move through the maze of digital disruption. He notes that Australia is quite progressive and “stacks up really well” when compared to other countries.

“There’s digital thinking going on, but do we have people who can execute on the vision,” he says. “Australia is ahead of the curve, but some of the challenges of being ahead of the curve need to be met”.

Skills, he says, are a key. But there’s also the need to understand how technology connects physical activities such as logistics and this changes the risks for companies. And that may need new ways to think about governance as well as business execution.

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