Close Association Between Digital Investment and High Performance

Posted on: Monday, 6 November 2017 at 8:29:34 PM

Article from the AICC(WA)'s Annual EY Signature Event 2017 on Productivity, hosted at EY on 3 November, featuring Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Ai Group speaking on " Secure and productive: industry’s connected future " 

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Event Sponsor:



From L to R - Mr Darren Chua, Advisory Partner and Asia-Pacific Digital Strategy Leader, EY, Mr Tom Goerke, Innovation Centre Director Australia, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd, Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, The Australian Industry Group, Mr John Cluer, Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA) and Mr Mark Stickells, Director, Business Development and Innovation, The University of Western Australia


Mr Darren Chua, Advisory Partner and Asia-Pacific Digital Strategy Leader, EY welcomed guests to the AICC(WA)’s Annual Signature Event for 2017 on Productivity, with the observation that cyber is both the biggest risk, and the biggest opportunity in the world of digital business. Collaboration and business intelligence provide to balance the tension between security and productivity.

On the 100th anniversary of of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade battle at Beer Sheva, Mr John Cluer AICC(WA) Chief Executive recounted the conquest, where at dusk on 31 October, 1917, the Australian brigade stormed through the Turkish defence to capture Beer Sheva. This marked a turning point in removing Ottoman rule from Palestine which changed the course of history and was a precursor to the formation of the State of Israel. Mr Cluer also mentioned that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced during his Israel visit that Australia is to upgrade co-operation with Israel on defence and national security.

In the context of the signature event theme of productivity, Mr Cluer also drew attention to a new Bankwest survey seeking to harvest and share the insights, perspectives and confidence levels of WA’s business leaders. In their Future of Business Survey Bankwest are asking business leaders how they see the state of the economy, how it is impacting their business decisions and how they are planning for the future in these uncertain economic times. To have your say;

Link to the Bankwest survey here.

Sharing an account of his recent AICC delegation to Israel, Mr Mark Stickells, Director, Business Development and Innovation at The UWA, spoke of the extensive personal engagement through the delegation, beyond Business to Business facilitation. He spoke of high quality networking that was enriched by the culture and heritage of Israel. Mr Stickells also complemented the AICC(WA) on investing into young business leadership, specifically through the engagement of Student Edge representatives in attendance.

Mr Tom Goerke, Innovation Centre Director Australia, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd

Start-Up Nation Central, cited by the Australian Cyber Security Magazine confirmed Israel has emerged as one of the world’s leading centres for cybersecurity solutions. “With $581 million in investments in 2016, constituting 15 per cent of worldwide investments in cybersecurity firms, investors have discovered that many of the hundreds of cybersecurity firms in Israel – both mature companies and new start-ups – offer solutions to many of the cyber-threats that have overwhelmed financial institutions, online services, manufacturers, and any other organisation that relies on digital platforms,”

This was reinforced by Cisco Systems Australia event sponsor representative Mr Tom Goerke, Innovation Centre Director at Cisco, who noted that his organisation has the third highest attempted cyber attacks in the world, behind only the US Government and Microsoft. Introducing the keynote address, Mr Goerke said that Cisco’s management of critical infrastructure in Australia, and their contribution to the digitalisation of assets in diverse industry sectors places critical attention on the role of cyber security in the context of productivity to their operations.

His reputation preceding him, Mr Innes Willox, Ai Group CEO introduced his topic by saying “To be truly productive, industry first needs to be secure, both within itself and within its supply chains. As Australian industry becomes more international in its outlook, more integrated into the businesses of others offshore and more diverse in terms of its relationships, the need for certainty of security is greater.”

Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, The Australian Industry Group


Identifying the weakest link in the supply chain as businesses who do not take cyber security seriously, the potential anchor to business productivity are the ones that can bring down themselves and anyone with which they do business or hold sensitive data. He shared examples to show that Australia is not immune, inclusive of a small engineering firm with 50 employees and one IT staff member who was compromised through poor cyber hygiene practices, implicating sensitive defence projects.

“Large or small, everyone is a potential target and nobody can presume themselves safe.” Mr Innes spoke about increasing vulnerability due to digitalisation, the mobile revolution and Internet of Things (IOT). The Fourth Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet) is seeing digital technologies converge with the physical world. There are currently more than 8 billion connected devices in the world, rapidly growing, increasing the risk of failure points.

Mr Innes also identified competitive drivers. “Since the turn of this century, more than 50% of the companies that dominated in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt , been acquired or ceased to exist. The commercial disruption has been accelerated by the speed, volume and complexity of digital change.”

The global cyber security market was estimated to be worth $US75 billion in 2015 and is predicted to rise to $US170 billion by 2020. Cyber crime already costs the Australian economy approximately $1billion per annum.

AI Group research has shown a link between digital investment into cyber security and revenue growth. To enhance productivity in the wake of cyber threats, Mr Innes offered key areas of focus, including;

  • Developing and retaining skilled staff
  • Ensuring strong leadership that sets the right culture to drive change
  • Facilitating local and global partnerships in both business and government
  • Ensuring good Governance and a boardroom focus


In sharing his experience, Mr Innes emphasised three salient points. Poor cyber security costs money, it can impact a company’s “social license” to operate, and that STEM education in schools is an urgent priority. On this last point, Mr Innes emphasised collaboration across all sectors, the development of STEM teachers, the inclusion of VET education pathways, and a Government sector contribution through the funding of research and innovation.

Mr Tom Goerke, Innovation Centre Director Australia, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd and Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, The Australian Industry Group

From L to R - Mr Tom Goerke, Innovation Centre Director Australia, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd, Mr Darren Chua, Advisory Partner and Asia-Pacific Digital Strategy Leader, EY, Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, The Australian Industry Group and Dr Vanessa Guthrie, Chair, Minerals Council of Australia


Mr Innes concluded by drawing on the shared and common interests Australia has with Israel. “We may be separated by vast distances, but digital trade and cyber security threats are not constrained by borders or oceans. The agreement between our Australian and Israeli Prime Ministers to expand business and collaborate more on cyber security was a good start. I look forward to our joint defence industry delegation trip in Israel in May 2018 and hope to see you there.”

From L to R - Mr Clive Stein, Director, Capital C Consulting, Mr Stephen Quantrill, Executive Chairman, McRae Investments Pty Ltd and Mr Mark Majzner, Outreach, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA)


From top clockwise - Mr John Clegg, Scientific Aerospace, Mr Mike Tan, Manager, Cisco Systems Australia Pty Ltd Mr David Parker, Director - Government & Public Affairs, Quadrant Energy and Ms Maud Eijkenboom, Program Director, SPARK Co-Lab

About Mr Innes Willox

Innes Willox is Chief Executive of the Australian Industry Group, a leading industry organisation representing businesses in a broad range of sectors including manufacturing, construction, transport, defence, ICT and labour hire. Innes was appointed Chief Executive in May 2012.

His current appointments include: 

  • Director of Australian Super
  • Director of the Innovative Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre
  • Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Skilled Migration
  • Chair of the Migration Council of Australia
  • Board Member of Australian American Leadership Dialogue
  • Member of RMIT College of Business Industry Advisory Board

Innes served as the Australian Consul General to Los Angeles from 2006 to 2008, where he represented wide-ranging Australian interests on the west coast of the United States, including in the areas of trade, finance, culture, bio-technology, environment and energy sectors.

He was Chief of Staff to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, from 2004 to 2006.

Earlier, Innes held a number of private sector and government positions including Manager of Global Public Affairs for Singapore Airlines based in Singapore (2000-04).

Innes began his working career as a journalist. His positions included Chief of Staff at The Age newspaper in Melbourne and Chief Political Correspondent for The Age in the Canberra Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Innes was educated at Melbourne High School; Monash University (BA History and Politics); and Edinburgh Business School. He is on the Board of Windermere – Victoria’s oldest family and child services agency. He is based in Melbourne and is a lifetime supporter of the Collingwood Football Club.





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