by Byron Connolly

Financial sector leads digital tech adoption

Feb 20, 20143 mins
Financial Services IndustryRisk Management

Australian firms are using digital technology to improve their global competitiveness and the financial services sector appears to be leading the charge, according to a new report.

Deliotte on Thursday unveiled the results of its Australian Shift Index, which found that we have a good track record for technology adoption, and we are more competitive due to new technology and knowledge flows. It also claimed that we have shifted from an industrial and agricultural economy to a creative, service-based economy.

The financial services sector stood out in its ability to adapt quickly to the shift in consumer preferences, the report said.

Satisfaction with the big four banks is 91 per cent and in the six months to December last year, 5.198 million Australians conducted Internet banking using an app on a mobile phone or tablet, which is equivalent to 27 per cent of the population aged over 14, the report said.

The index highlighted the significant rise in consumer use of mobile apps launched by our banks. ING Direct experienced a 280 per cent rise in mobile transactions in 2012; more than 50 per cent of Commonwealth Bank’s customers access its NetBank online platform with a mobile device or use its other mobile apps.

It mentioned the expected introduction to Australia of the Square payment system, which will allow millions of Australian smartphone users to take card payments from each other, as well as the new payments platform for low-value transactions to promote competition.

The index also said our economy is strong and demonstrates better asset profitability than the United States.

“Our country’s consistent track record on policy reform has resulted in a high level of economic freedom and a steady increase in the volume, diversity and complexity of our knowledge flows,” the index said.

“The gradient of the Australian Impact Index is higher than that of the US, showing us that Australian society is currently adapting to new technologies and knowledge flows more quickly than our peers in the US.”

However, there is a big gap between our technological capabilities and the way we currently use technology to solve problems, the index said.

“The trend set by the Australian Impact Index lags behind trends for technology adoption and knowledge flows, indicating we have yet to realise the full economic potential of technological advances.

“In short, the shift is well underway in this country. While Australia is well prepared, the nation’s continued prosperity hinges on our ability to use technological prowess to find new solutions to old problems,” the index said.