One of the reasons I decided to leave the exciting world of startups and join the world of business consulting was after reading a report in late 2012 from the Australian arm of Deloitte titled “Digital Disruption – Short Fuse, Big Bang?”. In the report, they looked at how a range of Australian industries will be impacted by digital disruption, and it was fascinating reading. I blogged about it in detail in this post, and even received a RT from the Deloitte Australia team – thanks!

The report reinforced my own view that Digital is hitting such a tipping point that it is now disrupting whole industries. My work running the social business practice at IBM is just one part of the whole digital disruption piece. The notion of a social business, and collaboration within the enterprise together with other digital forces will totally disrupt some industries in 2015.

What was fascinating about the report is that it was also applicable for the UK market (minus the reference to mining).

As I was scanning my news feeds over the Christmas break, I came across an article in the Australian Financial Review that looked at how the farming industry is being disrupted by digital at an even faster rate than the Deloitte study in 2012 predicted.

Quoting from the article that talks about how people in Orange, a rural town in New South Wales now use technology supplied by a company called Phocas.

Imagine a salesman about to visit a customer and who wants to study last month’s order and figure out what needs to be replaced. Until recently, that information was stored in Lever-Arch folders stuffed with computer printouts.

Now, they do it on an iPad, using software that’s been built and maintained by Phocas’s country staff.

In one sense, Phocas has made redundant the jobs of people who once managed those cumbersome folders – but it has also brought to life new skills and productivity.

The company is also a prime example of why rapid technological change need not be feared – even if it is happening far more quickly than many expected.

According to the AFR article, among those caught by surprise were consultants at Deloitte, who warned two years ago in their report Digital Disruption – Short Fuse, Big Bang? that two-thirds of the Australian economy – both public and private – would experience “significant” digital disruption within the next five years.

“The stark reality is that it has been more like five months for 65 per cent of the economy – including Deloitte’s own professional services sector – to realise we are in the crosshairs of digital disruption,” the firm said early in 2014.

More recently, a report by the Australian arm of EY titled “Digital Australia: State of the nation” (available to download and view below) paints a worrying picture for Australia.

Quoting from the EY report

The share of consumers who believe Australia’s digital economy is more advanced than other leading countries is just 14 per cent — a fraction of the 40 per cent who believe it is less advanced. Less than a third of Australians believe we on par with other developed countries and 16 per cent do not know what to think about our digital status. This highlights the very virtual and intangible nature of the digital world and the fact that the goalposts are moving every day.

Could a whole nation such as Australia be disrupted by digital? Watch out for a deeper review of this study in an upcoming post.

Digital disruption is real. Companies and Governments need to prepare and transform now.