23 July, 2021
A new approach to connectivity
Local interests are looking to build digital connectivity in the bush.
A REGIONAL development group has sought to conduct a "Digital Health Check" study, and with it comes new plans to modernising the bush.
The Digital Health Check is a study conducted by RAPAD (Remote Area Planning and Development Board) that seeks to benchmark the digital health of businesses, industry organisations, and government services.
Some key insights the “health check” may find, in businesses, are the skills and training of staff, data collection and analytics, and cybersecurity.
The digital health check is currently in the consultation process, and businesses who have partaken will be receiving specified advice.
Over 100 businesses and government organisations from across the Central West region were invited to participate in the first round of consultation, which closes July 16.
Chairman of RAPAD Tony Rayner said he encourages any local businesses and organisations who would like, but haven’t been invited yet, to participate in the study to reach out to RAPAD at CDO@rapad.com.au to request an invitation.
Gavin Deeprose is the Associate Director at GWI, a Brisbane company that claims expertise in solving business problems concerning data and technology, and the acting chief digital officer of RAPAD.
He said the purpose of the digital health check was to study the digital maturity of different businesses and organisations across the region.
“We’ll publish an individualised report for any organisation in consultation as a bit of a thank you for their time for being included,” he said.
“Effectively what that’ll do is given them a profile of how digital investment could drive better value for their organisation.
“What it’ll do is, let’s say you own a gym, it’ll say where you meet or exceed industry requirements.
“We do so to effectively create a benchmark for industry participants both within the region and will then do - given the opportunity – participants will compare themselves with the best practices across the nation.”
Mr Deeprose said the consultation for businesses who may not be as digitally mature, gives them practical steps forward.
“It’s designed to be appropriate for the region, the methods we’ve designed are concrete and practical,” he said.
“They should help the region take that one step forward.
“We’re not talking big leap, too hard to achieve; it’s not pie-in-the-sky, it’s practical.”
RAPAD engaged GWI in a service model rather than Mr Deeprose only as a Chief Digital officer, this model allows GWI to work with RAPAD in several fields.
“What it means is we can marshal experts in various fields, to take the initiative on a number of different initiatives,” Mr Deeprose said.
“The program will work with RAPAD and its relationship with councils is quite complex.
“We’re doing a whole bunch of things from internal IT work to securing work to more public-facing projects like the Digital Health Check.”
GWI’s work will come into line with RAPAD’s goals of generating economic growth in the region, boosting digital innovation, entrepreneurship, and enterprise.
Mr Deeprose said RAPAD has long accepted and looked to boost the digital engagement and capabilities of the region.
“[The health check is] a pathway for improved economic outcomes, and improved social outcomes for people across the region, as Chief Digital Officer, it is my job to help make that happen,” he said.
“One of the reasons we are doing a digital health check is, we want to put some evidence around our evaluations [of businesses].
“Is it the customer experience? Is it digital literacy? [that a business needs to work on].”
The larger plan for RAPAD is twofold, one is to work with stakeholders to identify areas that need improvement, and the second is to sell the message – on behalf of the region - into Government and into other organisations that connectivity should be a priority for them when making investment decisions.
“It might take 20 hours to drive out to Longreach or a couple of hours to fly if you’re unlucky, but you’re 20 milliseconds away from Hong Kong or Singapore via the internet,” he said.
“So, businesses in the regions with the right digital infrastructure have access to a much bigger world.”
Mr Deeprose said the response to the Digital Health Check, so far, has been encouraging.
“The world is an ever-digitalising place, and with that comes benefits like reducing the tyranny of distance,” he said.