In the face of economic turbulence characterised by heightened inflation, skyrocketing interest rates, and volatile oil prices, businesses in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are being urged to focus on resilience and risk management. With several years of economic uncertainty under their belts, these companies are advised to aspire to antifragility – a concept renowned author Nassim Nicholas Taleb defines as an organisation's capacity to survive, adapt, and thrive amid chaos or instability. In the wake of these challenges, 2024 is being labelled as the year of the 'antifragile organisation' as companies strengthen to weather yet another rigorous year.
Keir Garrett, Regional Vice President of Cloudera ANZ, elaborates on the antifragile organisation as "one that improves, evolves, and becomes even stronger in spite of challenges." She adds that businesses are strategically planning to handle ongoing uncertainties, all the while investing in innovation and growth, stating that the use of untapped data resources and treating data as a strategic asset would prove beneficial.
IT solutions persist as a robust investment across various industries in the ANZ region, demonstrating a positive disposition towards the role technology can play in mitigating the fallout during such times. According to Gartner, Australian IT expenditure is set to bloom by 7.8% in 2024 notwithstanding budget restrictions.
Additionally, there is a focus on streamlining costs, improving efficiencies and optimising available resources while maintaining business growth in 2024 notwithstanding the rising IT costs. Garrett urges businesses to contemplate beyond these unstable economic times to avoid myopic business decisions. Opting for a long-term business strategy necessitates resources for infrastructure and upskilling. By gearing its technology, personnel, and processes for the future, a company can easily sway towards innovation, permitting it to be antifragile in both prosperous and recessionary periods.
Garrett hints at the critical role data will play, forecasting that it will become "digital gold" for many organisations in 2024, opening up new revenue streams and promoting innovation. Ensuring data integrity with clarity on data lineage will be critical. Modern data management solutions will speed up time to insights and provide universal access to data and analytics.
Garrett also shared insights on the increasing role of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He remarked, "In 2023, many organisations discovered how AI can be used to drive cost savings and operational efficiencies." The trend for 2024 is expected to pivot towards 'operationalising' the technology to drive innovation and create new revenue streams. However, he cautioned that the performance of AI/Machine Learning models depends on the quality of the input data, stressing the need for secure and consistent data across the organisation.
Finally, businesses should prioritise aligning AI deployment with business strategy rather than rushing into adopting technology for the fear of being left behind, warned Garrett. Investing in trusted data can help accelerate innovation and achieve greater success over time. She emphasized that an organisation can only be truly antifragile if its technology, people, and processes work in harmony. In Garrett's words, "A resilient organisation resists shocks and stays the same; an antifragile organisation improves, evolves and becomes stronger."