Discovering digital transformation’s critical success factors
Image: Getty
Share on LinkedIn

Discovering digital transformation’s critical success factors

Stuart Corner — July 2018
Initiatives showcased at the Fujitsu World Tour stop in Sydney highlighted the close link between co-creation and success in rapidly digitizing industries.

Organizations are moving from the vision and planning phases of digital transformation to practice and execution. But to deliver successful and timely outcomes, most are relying on the formation of collaborative partnerships with technology partners.

Mike Foster, CEO of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand
That’s a pattern being observed first-hand by Mike Foster, CEO of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand. At the recent Fujitsu World Tour in Sydney, part of a 28-city global roadshow by the ICT giant, companies from different industry sectors — retail, transportation, healthcare, public sector and more — outlined their digital journeys and one of the common factors for their success: co-creation. Foster cited some prime examples from the event’s showcase of projects and technologies:

In a pilot program dubbed Digital Owl, the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage is using video-mounted drones to survey inaccessible areas that are home to rare plant species. Drawing on video image analytics and spatial mapping expertise from Fujitsu, the conservationists and technologists have jointly created a system that has already been able to pinpoint the location of endangered flora. As part of the project, Fujitsu is now feeding the vast quantities of data gathered into an AI engine to build algorithms that can dramatically increase the speed at which areas can be surveyed and threatened species identified and protected. (See Battling extinction with drones and AI-powered analytics.) 

A local council in the State of Victoria is the test bed for a ‘smart drains’ solution designed to reduce flooding caused by drains overflowing during stormy weather. The solution — jointly developed by integrated services company Downer, Fujitsu and spatial technology specialist EYEfi — is being piloted at Yarra Ranges Council and has involves the deployment of sonar and camera sensors in drains, with data fed in near real-time to a cloud-based system for live monitoring and analysis. The trial project is designed to reduce the risk of flooding affecting residents and local businesses while negating the need for manual drain inspections, with a view to a much wider deployment across Australia.

A collaboration between scuba-diving operators on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and TOMS International, a specialist in marine tourist security and safety, is using Fujitsu’s PalmSecure biometric technology to authenticate the identity and track the presence of divers, snorkelers and swimmers on boat trips by recognizing their palm vein patterns. A display allows boat captains to know who is on the boat and in the water at all times — information that is critical for passenger safety.

Such projects, which bringing together people, information and infrastructure, demonstrate the creation of real, human-centric value from ICT, observed Foster. “Connected digital technologies,” he said, “enable a cyclic process of value creation. [They] connect everything, collect data, analyze the data, create value, and optimally control the process securely.”

The importance of co-creation in delivering successful digital transformation was a view reinforced by customers in several of the event’s discussion panels and presentations.
Digitally flipping McDonald’s


Matt Cottee, manager for IT restaurant technology at McDonald’s Australia, outlined how the restaurant group has undertaken “a steep digital transformation introduction” in recent years, driven in part by new competitive pressures. McDonald’s has for long invested heavily to create operating environments that are consistent across all its restaurants. But with more than 80% of its 971 restaurants across Australia owned and operated by local franchisees, the digital transformation of branches inevitably presented a co-creational challenge.

“We have over 220 business owners who run [multiple] restaurants that we need to consult with and take on this journey. We have over 100,000 crew and [a network of] suppliers we have to bring along too. So, [when approaching digital transformation] there was a very significant corporate change and communications process we had to go through,” he said.

“We want to use technology to augment, support and enhance what we are really good at in our restaurants — serving what customers want — without introducing change that creates friction,” said Cottee. “Over the past five years, we have made a number of different technology changes. We are now coming to the point where we have to consolidate those and ensure they are manageable and easy to control. The R&D, testing and validation of procedures in our restaurants is extremely extensive and we want to use technology to enhance that.”

That means being willing to experiment and fail fast with new technologies, he said. With that in mind, he offered a key piece of advice to those starting out on their digital transformation journey. “Understand your organization’s capabilities and skills. Have bold courageous conversations about what you are good at and what you’re not, and where you need to source externally with partners like Fujitsu to help complement the overall goal.”
Enriching hospital customer experience


The need for a consolidation phase as part of the overall transformational journey was a point picked up on by Carrie Marr, CEO of the Clinical Excellence Commission of New South Wales Health, which oversees 17 government health organizations in the Australian state and has a workforce of 140,000.

As hospitals become increasingly digital, Marr said, one of the challenges has been to link different data repositories. “We have lots of great systems that were never created to be connected, and now we want them to be so we can make the most of all the data we have,” she said.

“In a digital hospital environment you are always trying to service the interests of two main customers: clinicians and patients plus their families and communities. They both need very different things. Clinicians want access to data that is current and integrated so they can see trends and enhance care; patients and families want access to an experience of care and service that is patient-centered.”

Digital co-creation, she said, was proving valuable. “We are finding that healthcare systems that are co-designed from an early stage —with patients, families, clinicians and non-clinical team members — are [able to use] really innovative ideas.”
Auckland Transport’s digital ride


That was a theme underscored by Roger Jones, chief technology officer of Auckland Transport (AT) when discussing his organization’s digital journey.

As the government transport body for New Zealand’s largest city, AT has an unusually large remit. It is responsible for infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, as well as bus, ferry and train operations, cycleways and footpaths and even for garbage bins on public roads.

With such a wide canvas to apply digital, Jones is clear that AT increasingly needs to rely on trusted technology partners. “We can’t produce all the applications we need. We are not a software development company but we do understand the data we have. We need third parties, start-ups, even people at home to develop [its value],” Jones said.

AT started opening up large parts of that transportation data 14 months ago and has seen “some stunning results” as different groups have developed applications that exploit it in all sorts of ways.
Digitally magnified co-creation

Co-creation is hardly a new concept, highlighted Dr Joseph Reger, Fujitsu CTO, in his keynote presentation. But the digital element magnifies all the challenges involved and all the opportunities that flow from overcoming them.

He identified three facets of digital co-creation:
• the pace of change
• combining technology and business knowledge
• and the transformation of entire industries.

“Real digital transformation is not easy. It requires vendors and customers to work together with shared goals, and don’t believe any vendor that tells you otherwise,” said Reger.

The current pace of change strengthens the case that co-creation is the only way organizations can align game-changing technologies, such as IoT, AI and (in the next decade or so) quantum computing, with their business knowledge and goals, Reger said. And, ultimately, that will determine their future success, he said.


First published July 2018
Share on LinkedIn

    Your choice regarding cookies on this site

    Our website uses cookies for analytical purposes and to give you the best possible experience.

    Click on Accept to agree or Preferences to view and choose your cookie settings.

    This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

    Some cookies are necessary in order to deliver the best user experience while others provide analytics or allow retargeting in order to display advertisements that are relevant to you.

    For a full list of our cookies and how we use them, please visit our Cookie Policy

    Essential Cookies

    These cookies enable the website to function to the best of its ability and provide the best user experience for you. They can still be disabled via your browser settings.

    Analytical Cookies

    We use analytical cookies such as those used by Google Analytics to give us information about the way our users interact with - this helps us to make improvements to the site to enhance your experience.

    For a full list of analytical cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy

    Social Media Cookies

    We use cookies that track visits from social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn - these cookies allow us to re-target users with relevant advertisements from

    For a full list of social media cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy