Disruption shapes digital economy

PwC investigated the way digital disruption is changing the way companies approach IT investment, finding there’s increasing executive involvement.


The battle for technological supremacy between small, agile startups and larger corporations centres around their respective abilities to harness disruption and innovation.

With the world’s entrepreneurs looking to kickstart the next Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and big businesses investigating the way technology can enhance their mobility, it’s essential that digital economies support these desires.

Disruptive technology refers to the trends, solutions and products that are at the forefront of innovation, often working against the grain of traditional IT infrastructure or solutions. Examples of these include cloud computing and the internet of things, two evolving technology solutions that are causing existing companies to reevaluate the way they operate and providing new business opportunities for startups.

Global disruption rankings reveal technology leaders

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) investigated the way countries across the world are reacting to disruptive technology trends, revealing the digital economies that are best prepared to manage these concerns.

The organisation surveyed around 2,000 executives in 51 different countries to collate a global perspective on digital investment. One of the key takeaways of the survey is that the people tasked with leading these investments are changing. According to the survey, IT expenditure is now aligning with business objectives in more cases, leading to more involvement from executives.

PwC found that nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of companies view CEOs as essential leaders of digital change. PwC Advisory Principal and Chief Technologist Chris Curran believes this is due to businesses struggling to define performance metrics for these investments.

“Everyone talks about digital, but few understand the specific leadership behaviours that drive performance,” he explained.

“We are seeing signs this is changing, with leading digital practitioners looking to how today’s investments can improve tomorrow’s business results. This is a critical mindset, especially as digital technologies become more pervasive.”

Government support boost potential

Startups and larger companies will approach the concept of digital disruption in different ways, with newer businesses often relying on collaboration from their peers and support from other organisations.

The Queensland government has realised the importance of a stable economic landscape for startups to flourish, creating its own support network for these businesses. Due to this discovery, the state has produced the Advance Queensland Business Development Fund worth $40 million to startup companies in the region.

The desire for the fund was born out of the need for a state-backed venture capital equivalent to ensure emerging tech companies have dependable access to resources. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk believes this will lead to significant growth for the affected businesses.

“Our Business Development Fund will ensure both start-up and established businesses have the funding they need and are supported by a co-investor who will provide invaluable expertise and advice to mentor and grow these ventures,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We need to create more small to medium enterprises in our state that can hopefully grow into business powerhouses.”

The initiative is intended to encourage investment from private companies, with the promise that their contributions will be matched by the state government, creating a healthy business environment for startups in the region.

Startups are able to have venture capital investments matched by government contributions. This starts at $125,000 and stretches upwards to $2.5 million, giving budding tech companies that option to secure up to $5 million in funding once all contributions are matched.

Innovation will continue to play a significant part in the way investments are handed out, encouraging startups to embrace the disruptive technology that could put them at the forefront of their respective industries.

The government cites a similar scheme from New Zealand as an example of the success it could achieve, revealing it secured over $140 million in private funding for 166 unique businesses.