Digital Business

Changing privacy regulations challenge all e-commerce advertisers

By Georgina Wall

ANTICIPATED regulatory change across the Australian digital landscape is set to impact the way in which consumer privacy is treated in an online setting.

It is predicted that these changes will bring the Australian digital landscape into closer alignment with rules that have already been introduced elsewhere, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), reducing identification and measurement capabilities within the e-commerce sector.

This, alongside increasing consumer recognition of the ways personal data is being used, will have significant impacts on the way brands and advertisers can reach and target audiences across the e-commerce landscape.

End users are increasingly being offered greater control of the data they are required to share and how it is used, causing concern for advertisers and brands alike.


The pandemic accelerated changes to the way consumers shop, driving e-commerce growth. The sector is forecast to continue growing year-on-year and is projected to reach a value of US$35bn by 2025

Anticipated privacy changes will impact the three main categories of e-commerce: direct to consumer (D2C); big marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay; and retailer marketing platforms, such as Citrus and Cartology, in different ways, to varying degrees and at differing stages of the customer journey.

It is inevitable that all advertisers will need to adjust their strategies, but online retailers should also consider how future changes will impact the return on investment.

We are already seeing this change in action as big tech players start to roll out significant privacy changes.

Apple’s latest iPhone data privacy changes have reportedly seen an average drop of almost 40 percent for the average mobile advertiser’s return on investment, resulting in reduced mobile ad spend of up to 25 percent.

Additionally, Google has recently announced a new privacy tool – Google Ads Centre – which allows users to choose which types of ads they want to see and opt out of the ones they do not.


An e-commerce framework is typically built around four key pillars: driving users from the point of initial consideration, through discovery, the sales funnel, and creating advocacy.

Effectively driving consumers through this funnel heavily relies on identification of the target audience, which is where D2C advertisers will likely experience the greatest challenges.

This, combined with the impact of new privacy protocols such as Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention and App Tracking Transparency (ATT), will limit on platform attribution and measurement, and will significantly dilute data aggregation capabilities.

Ultimately, this means that brands and advertisers will be forced to place faith, and budgets, in the hands of the technology and capabilities within the platforms they are buying through.


Share of shelf, the amount of presence that a brand has within its in-store category, relies on being discoverable to audiences that matter.

Some platforms, such as Meta, are making changes to the targeting options to further help protect users’ privacy.

In-platform storefronts, such as Facebook Shops, enable the use of platform signals to counter loss of cross environment tracking capabilities and reduce friction in the user journey. Taking away the need to even visit the retailer site places the larger walled gardens in a prime position to mitigate against ad revenue loss and enables brands and advertisers to leverage in-platform identification to reach relevant consumers.


As technologies continue to evolve shopping formats, the product feed – the heart of an e-commerce campaign – will become increasingly reliant on the identification of users.

Given the commercial impact to walled gardens, key players such as Google and Meta are heavily investing into the automation area of product development, using platform engagement signals to create user profiles.

This investment is likely to mean that efficiency and scale will likely be looked after in the long term, however with fewer personal attributes being shared, the personalisation element will be heavily impacted.

This means that as soon as a user leaves a platform, they will effectively be an entirely different person for retailers to identify on their next visit. This creates a highly fragmented user journey, making it more difficult for retailers to connect and convert, from the point of discovery, through the funnel to the point of sale.

Ultimately, with amends to the Privacy Act 1988 and Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enhancing Online Privacy and Other Measures) Bill under way, there is no doubt further change is coming. Retailers and advertisers need to remain agile to reduce the potential impact to online revenue streams.

Maximising use of platform tools and technologies will continue to be key in delivering a frictionless consumer journey, driving efficiency and not sacrificing scale. Whether driving traffic to a website, virtual storefront or marketplace page, ensuring that the user experience remains seamless and connected is critical for success.

Ensuring strong foundations – having a well-optimised product feed, keeping on top of platform hygiene, and integrating a robust data strategy – are all key ingredients in delivering a recipe for the success of digital campaigns within an ever-evolving technical and legislative landscape.


  • The author, Georgina Wall, is the general manager for product and partnerships at Resolution Digital.


Use AI to build organisational collaboration says Dataiku

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is everywhere. The challenge for companies, which often operate as a collection of silos, is how to get the different departments to share their AI. How does marketing work with the projections of sales?

Enter Datatiku, the global company with its centralised data platform that moves businesses along their data journey from analytics at scale to enterprise AI.

Grant Case, the regional vice president for Asia-Pacific (APAC) of Dataiku, said AI now made collaboration essential for businesses.

“Data scientists, data analysts, engineers, executives are going to have to come together to build out these AI products themselves,” Mr Case told Talking Business

“And that’s really the genesis for Dataiku as an organisation and our mission has been for almost 10 years now, as we have begun to grow, coming from Paris, and now a worldwide organisastion.”

Dataiku has a workforce of 1100 in places like Singapore, Japan, Korea, the Middle East and in Australia in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

Dataiku provides the platform for AI products in organisations.


The key, Mr Case said, was to get different departments talking to each other and sharing AI data.

“When it comes to an organisation, finance has to be able to talk to marketing, it has to be able to talk to sales,” he said.

“So what we have done is build a platform that will construct data products and AI capabilities, such as machine learning models, and start to share those across the organisation itself.

“So an analyst who has perhaps no concept of coding but has a little bit of statistics background and knowledge can start to build out their own pipelines with data and start to create their own insights. The flipside of that is that data scientists can start coming together and helping those individuals build out those machine learning models that may be even more complex later on.

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is ensure whoever is working within your organisation, no matter what their maturity is around analytics and AI, we think they have value as part of that chain of command.”


Mr Case said the “collaborative capability” was the key for Dataiku customers.

“If I am working as a sales manager, I need to understand what my marketing campaigns are,” he said. “If I’m the marketing manager, I need to understand what sort of attribution model that are bringing my sales leads.

“So we, as a platform, help both of these individuals to share those data sets that are accessible to them, make their own comments and commentary, build their insights so that ultimately, we believe, everybody has to be on the field in order to make these new data products, this new AI, come to life within an organisation.”

Mr Case said giving people skills to work with AI is part of the job creation process around AI.

“Part of the upskilling process as we talk to customers is basically bringing these people along,” he said.

Mr Case said there were only few hundred, or a low thousand data scientists in Australia – which meant more were needed to be trained to do that sort of work.

“Part of that is the upskilling process,” Mr Case said.

“We spend a lot of time with customers helping them understand not just AI technology in general but how do you start to upskill those individuals within your organisation that don’t know necessarily anything about AI.”

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


AI can enhance creativity in business

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

CREATIVE USE of artificial intelligence (AI) can change every kind of business, from fast moving consumer goods companies to retailers to banks, according to Thoughtworks director of data and AI practice, David Colls.

He said creative AI could be used to generate content, new products and strategic ideas.

“It there’s one thing AI is good at, it’s scaling to big numbers and I think that there’s an opportunity to use the best of people’s creative insights and talent and AI’s ability to search through big spaces and generate novel concepts,” Mr Colls told Talking Business

“And there are a lot of drivers for innovation at the moment. Ongoing adoption of new digital technologies, responding to climate change, responding to public health and the COVID pandemic and other economic factors, so the more you can explore these areas of uncertainty, the more opportunity you might unlock.”

As an example, he cited the way the Finnish part of Thoughtworks had transformed the business of Swedish distillery Mackmyra using AI.

The AI team looked at all the decisions that went into making whisky, like the grain, the time, the peat, the selection of the cask and process, and then looked at how consumers perceived different whiskies. Then they created a new whisky to capture the market.

The AI was actually creating a new product by exploring the space that had not occurred to the human distillers.

“You can look at any product in the same way that the team did at Mackmyra as a series of design decisions or design parameters and then you can try and characterise its performance in the market as a test or as a model that can be run,” Mr Colls said

AI can assist supply chains too

He said AI could be particularly useful in the digital space and for supply chains and customer service and the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space.

This could not only be applied to physical products but to services as well, he said, examining the service characteristics and customer experience. This would be particularly good for retailers. 

“If you look at a retail product catalogue, you can identify areas where there are potentially gaps in the catalogue with these sorts of techniques,” Mr Colls said.

“We might have a range of shoes, there might be another style that’s emerging in another part of the catalogue, say jackets and it might be that the AI able to identify some common thread between two different elements of the product portfolio.”

Mr Colls said AI would also be good for banks and insurers

Using AI to design call centre experiences

Thoughtworks had also worked in the area of designing call centre experiences

Mr Colls said AI could boost employee morale and ensure companies retain workers, where AI is used by staff to do their work.

“In this creative space, it can be like working with another creative partner who has particular abilities in a design space,” Mr Colls said.

“You can use these tools to help you come up with more ideas that you might not have thought of yourself.

“You might use them to help you develop those ideas faster and to improve productivity. You can use it to test ideas, to get fast feedback on ideas that might otherwise take some time to validate,” he said.

“It provides a number of avenues for development and growth and ongoing learning which is very important for people.”  


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

How business leaders can use ‘data democratisation’ to build success

CONNECTING data is one of the biggest barriers to business innovation right now, according to InterSystems regional director, Andrew Aho.

Mr Aho has special insights into the value of what he calls ‘data democratisation’ having seen it in action through InterSystems experience in the field. InterSystems is a creative data technology provider dedicated to helping customers solve the most critical scalability, interoperability, and speed problems.

InterSystems has found that while the finance industry is now using data management technologies to break down siloes, improve data quality, and deliver more meaningful insights across their organisations, there is also a need to democratise this data. This is achieved by making it much easier to share knowledge and letting users interpret and capitalise on insights regardless of their technical skillset. 

“The secret to creating an efficient organisation that delivers relevant insights to its teams and great service to its clients is all in the data,” Mr Aho said. “Employing a data management platform that supports the democratisation of data is critical for businesses looking to keep their staff well informed across all departments.”
The implementation of advanced architecture, such as smart data fabrics, makes enterprise data available across many roles in an organisation, whether the user is technical or non-technical. This ensures that team members can produce relevant, trusted insights and ultimately make better business decisions.

Data democratisation brings about several key benefits for future-focused organisations including:

Addressing the customer data management challenge

Recent research showed that, while 95 percent of CEOs surveyed across Australia believed their organisations’ long-term success and durability would rest upon better use of customer and client data, just seven percent believed their customer data was sufficiently comprehensive to enable this.(1)  
Data management continues to be a key concern for organisations globally who are looking to create a 360-degree view of their customers’ habits and needs. Democratising this information through the implementation of the right technology will immediately begin to address these concerns internally and provide business leaders with a more solid understanding of their customer data.

Unlocking legacy siloes

Data siloes remain an issue across industries for many reasons. An organisation that wants to evolve from existing legacy systems can risk leaving data behind, or team members may house documents in private servers or in emails instead of public spaces, creating impenetrable siloes. Incorporating data management technology based on a cloud platform means data can be updated in real time and accessible at a moment’s notice, ensuring that all members of the team, regardless of their technical abilities, can access critical organisational information.

Driving innovation

Democratised data empowers team members to use the most relevant information in their day-to-day activities, inspiring ideas to innovate and unlock new organisational capabilities. This helps business leaders more effectively keep pace with market changes, as well as identify and capitalise on untapped opportunities for the business.  

In a market where financial service organisations are searching for a competitive edge, being able to access all elements of customer data through management architectures like smart data fabrics can be seen as a silver bullet to success.

“Smart data fabrics can amylase, transform and harmonise data from multiple sources on demand to make it usable and actionable,” Mr Aho said. “These systems work to keep organisations compliant, as well as improve efficiency by allowing data to be accessed freely by internal parties, while maintaining data security and integrity across the organisation.

“As technology continues to develop, it will be critical for organisations to evolve and embrace these changes to better establish a digital foothold in the future of the financial industry”.



How blockchain benefits boardrooms – for real

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

HOW DOES one improve governance at Australian companies? Ben Nowlan, the co-founder and CEO Shaparency, an online ecosystem that automates and digitises the process of board meetings and shareholder management, believes it can all be automated and done with blockchain.

“We take everything from a board meeting … the minutes, voting resolution, right through to shareholder management, communications and reports and we’ve digitised that into our platform,” Mr Nowlan told Talking Business.

“The key part for Shaparency, where the paying points are and why this is such a growing market, is that less than 15 percent of boards globally use any kind of board technology. So we focus on them becoming digital first and governance will be the outcome.”

Mr Nowlan said blockchain becomes another layer of security by making certain elements of the proceedings tamper proof and immutable.

 “Document signature, digital notices, voting and proxy voting, that’s where the blockchain really comes into play,” he said.

“Blockchain provides an extra ledger beyond the data base. The data will be transcribed into the ledger … if documents were edited, it would record the versions of those documents. If a signature was done by someone else, we would know in the platform because we have the ID of who that person is. And we also make it easier to vote and proxy vote.” 

Mr Nowlan said boards were still fundamentally paper-based. Part of this also reflects the make-up of Australia’s directors.

“The average age of a board member in Australia is a 61 year old white male,” he said.

“Less than 50 percent of board members in Australia have any idea of the technology disruption in their own space. These are the sorts of people that are coming to board meetings and printing off reams of paper, reluctant to change.”

Mr Nowlan said technology existed to allow board meetings to be more digitally enhanced and COVID had “put a rocket fuel” under the system.

“Australia is actually one of the first countries in the world, when COVID hit, they quickly updated the Corporations Act to include digital notices and meetings could be run virtually. That’s a world first,” Mr Nowlan said.

He said a company’s messaging tools enhanced communications of board proceedings with shareholders.

Mr Nowlan said one of the big challenges for boards in adopting any kind of technology was the generational fear of technology and an inherent comfort with printing paper.

“Blockchain technology can take all of that away once there is a real understanding of how it will work when it comes to board technology,” he said.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us when it comes to educating people to use technology in the boardrooms and, when it comes to blockchain, there is an extra layer complexity.”

Mr Nowlan said he built and funded Shaparency during the lockdown in 2020.  He had been in France during that time and had seen the impact there.

Mr Nowlan had, at the time, stepped down from running a small retail tech company and he decided to build Shaparency as he suspected these digital platform would be needed when so much of Australia was in lockdown.

He and his team raised capital and he had a small team operating to create it.

“We hadn’t seen each other in four months,” Mr Nowlan said.

They built partnerships and signed up customers in seven different countries.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


Could e-invoicing save small businesses up to $40k a year each?

ENTERPRISE application company SAP SE is reporting significant financial gains among its small business clients who have switched to e-invoicing.

Most Australian small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) could save tens of thousands of dollars a year by transitioning to e-invoicing, according to SAP’s new report – The connected SMB: Embracing digital strategies to fuel growth.

The research found Australian SMBs processed an average of 168 invoices each month. With a Deloitte study estimating that e-invoicing could deliver savings of up to $20 per invoice, Australia’s SMBs could save up to $40,320 a year.

SAP’s Australia and New Zealand SMB segment leader, Sofiane Ainine said the benefits were clear, with 75 percent of those who have transitioned saying the biggest impact had been time and money saved. 

“Running an SMB comes with its challenges but switching to digital processes has been key to the survival of many businesses during the pandemic,” Mr Ainine said. “It frees up time and money to focus on other priorities like developing new products and finding new customers.

“Now is the time for SMBs to review their adoption of technology. This will help them through the current crisis and set them up for future growth.”

More than half of the survey respondents said e-invoicing had also improved the accuracy of record keeping (56 percent) and was more secure (53 percent). 

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson said, “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology adoption in helping small businesses innovate – increasing efficiency and productivity, attracting new customers in different markets, improving customer and employee experiences. This helps them create more jobs.

“It’s encouraging that the research in this SAP report shows SMBs accelerating digital technology adoption. Technologies like e-invoicing improve process efficiency and, importantly, will see small businesses paid more quickly for the products and services they provide.”  


The SAP research suggests that the fear of switching to e-invoicing is bigger than the challenge of implementing it, according to SAP, with 88 percent of SMBs that had made the jump saying it was easy, and almost one in five (18%) making the transition without external support.

SAP’s Mr Ainine said some businesses would still need help to get there, with integrating the process into computer systems (36%) and understanding what software to use (31%) perceived as the biggest challenges. 

Nearly half (46%) of SMBs are mostly digital in their invoicing and recordkeeping. Of this group, 26 percent sought advice from their internal IT department, followed by an external IT company (24%), their accountant (26%), a consultant (22%) or government (18%). 

“SMB owners shouldn’t feel like they are alone on this journey,” Mr Ainine said. “There are many sources of support ready to help them overcome hurdles and make the most of opportunities by sharing experiences and advising on the best approaches for their business.

“It’s about taking it one step at a time, learning what works and implementing digital initiatives that align to their goals.”  


The past 18 months has fast-tracked the transition to digital processes for many SMBs and increased their appetite for transformation. The SAP research found most SMBs who used e-invoicing (75%) were looking to digitise other business processes. Payroll was the top focus (72%), followed by forecasting (42%), debt collection (38%), customer experience (33%), and talent management (28%). 

Over half (54%) of SMBs said they would digitise all account and account management processes within the next two years, with 44 percent planning to do so within the next 12 months.

To help them get there, more than half (57%) of business owners/managers agreed that increased government support in the form of information, services, subsidies and grants would help their business continue to drive forward digital initiatives and change.  


Mining equipment manufacturer Geographe needed to update its business technology in support of its strategic vision to expand into new markets and refine its product sets around continued innovation. 

Implementing an intelligent ERP system built on SAP S/4HANA Cloud has helped the business reduce lead times by as much as 50 percent, according to Geographe CEO, Sam Hyder. He said automated core processes and greater operational efficiencies had reduced some workloads by more than 15 percent.  

“Due to COVID-19, we have moved to hybrid working,” Mr Hyder said. “Having a scalable IT landscape with greater transparency and real-time data helped us become more responsive to customer needs.

“We can now confidently predict customer demand and optimise production, inventory, and our supply chain accordingly.” 

The connected SMB research was commissioned by SAP Australia and undertaken by YouGov to understand where Australian SMBs stood with their current e-invoicing and broader digitisation efforts. The sample was 802 Australian business owners and managers with less than 200 employees. Fieldwork took place between June 29 and September 13, 2021.   

Overcoming the challenges boards face with digital transformation

THE RECENT global shift in how organisations operate and manage day-to-day processes has put digital transformation at the top of many executives’ agendas – but how do business leaders make the transition?

It’s essential for businesses to keep up with an accelerated pace of change to stay competitive. This includes improving the customer and employee experience and prioritising innovation.

Consequently, boards are re-evaluating the transformation journey and looking to embrace a more digital mindset. This means moving beyond simply digitalising existing processes and doing things differently on a fundamental level. 

However, this creates key challenges for boards, which will need to be overcome for transformation projects to be successful, according to RSM Australia.

Andrew Sykes, national leader for technology at RSM Australia, said, “The digital transformation plans that looked exciting and effective 18 months ago are no longer on the agenda for organisations. 

“Instead, organisations of all sizes are looking more closely at how they can leverage people and processes, as well as technology, to achieve organisational goals.”

RSM Australia has identified five key challenges boards may face when embracing digital transformation:

1. Board members may not be technology experts

It is important for board members to get the right information regarding digital transformation so they can offer guidance and directives to ensure the transformation delivers value. This means getting advice from the right people, which can include various stakeholders within the business as well as younger members of the team that may be highly technologically capable.

Mr Sykes said, “While the chief technology officer or chief information officer is undoubtedly best-placed to lead transformation efforts, their voice is by no means the only one that should be heard when mapping out the journey.

“It’s important to get input from experts across the business that can provide insights into how transformation can resolve a range of business challenges. Line-of-business leaders, for example, have invaluable insights that can drive transformation efforts to become more successful, faster.

“And, while more experienced members of the board are usually the ones to guide organisational strategy, when it comes to new and emerging technology, younger staff members can often provide exceptional value. Decision-makers should consider leveraging the knowledge and experience that younger team members may be able to provide; after all, they represent the future of both the company and the market in which it operates.”

2. Technology may not have been a focus for the organisation in the past

In many organisations, technology evolves as an afterthought or as a piecemeal approach to specific challenges. For digital transformation to succeed, it’s important to shift board members’ mindsets towards making technology an integral part of every business activity and decision. It may be advisable to form a technology or transformation committee to account for all the various moving parts that are inherent in a digital transformation.

Andrew Sykes said, “Boards should ensure that technology is a deliberate and considered part of the business strategy. Allocating transformation efforts to the audit committee or the governance committee, as is often the case, can introduce blind spots that compromise the transformation’s success. A separate committee can overcome this challenge.”

3. Boards may not be prepared for the pace of change

While many organisational change projects can take months and years, boards should be prepared for fast-changing digital transformation projects. This means it’s essential to keep on top of the project’s short- and long-term goals and ask executives to demonstrate how current activities align to those goals.

Andrew Sykes said, “Boards should expect the transformation journey to move quickly and be prepared to ask lots of questions about how transformation activities will provide benefits, including the anticipated time to value. This can help keep projects on track.”

4. Transformation projects may stall or be derailed without board support

It’s essential for the board to provide strong leadership around transformation to ensure it delivers on its promise for the business. As with any initiative, the success of digital transformation will depend on buy-in and vocal support from the top down, and this starts with the board.

Andrew Sykes said, “If the board makes it clear that a successful digital transformation is a key priority, this will help managers allocate time and resources to transformation initiatives. This may require a cultural shift, which can be tough for boards that aren’t used to failures. However, failing fast and moving forward is an important feature of successful transformations, so the board will need to reinforce this type of culture.”

5. Talent is hard to find

Board members tend to view a lack of talent as one of the biggest barriers to digital transformation. In fact, people are one of the most important factors in the success or failure of digital transformation projects. Boards can help to overcome this challenge by formulating individual development plans for critical employees.

Mr Sykes said, “Making sure strong internal staff members have the training they need to maximise the value of transformational technology is crucial to the success of transformation initiatives. Too often, organisations put training last on the list; instead, it should be near the top. Great training and development programs can significantly impact the success of digital transformations.

“Digital transformation has rapidly become one of the most important priorities for board members. As the economic landscape and operating environment continue to evolve, businesses are increasingly relying on successful digital transformation projects to keep them agile, responsive, flexible, and competitive. Boards must play their role in this by embracing digital transformation and acting decisively to support and promote transformation initiatives.”


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