International trade: How Emerging Tech Is Empowering Aussie Businesses

Picture of Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer
Emma Lo Russo, CEO of Digivizer
International trade How Emerging Tech Is Empowering Aussie Businesses

Recently I spoke at an Export Council of Australia and IP Australia event on the global growth opportunities for Australian businesses, and how emerging technology and digital is empowering Aussie businesses to tap into this potential like never before.

With Australia representing 0.33% of the global population, as CEOs and founders, we need to move beyond dreaming of taking our companies global and instead plan and take action to consider this significantly larger customer, employee and partnership opportunity.  

My experience: building a thriving export business

At Digivizer, we’ve seen firsthand the power of going global. With headquarters in Australia and employees across eight Asian countries and partners totaling fourteen, we serve customers worldwide. Export revenue makes up a quarter of our income and continue to grow, a testament to the success of our international strategy.

Prior to Digivizer, I oversaw the international expansion of Altium, an Australian ASX-listed software company (recently acquired by Reneses) . In that time we transformed their business from 97% domestic revenue to 97% overseas revenue, with a strong presence in North America, Europe, and Asia.

These experiences have given me a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges of international trade. In this article, I want to share from this experience and what I believe to be the key technologies empowering Australian businesses today that will allow them to thrive on the global stage.

The tech stack fueling international success

1. AI: the innovation engine

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way we work. A 2023 Deloitte global survey found that 6 out of 10 marketing leaders used AI in their activities in the previous year. The report also found AI adoption has a big impact on organizations, with marketing leaders stating sales productivity improved by 6% and customer satisfaction by 7%, while marketing overhead costs decreased by 7%.

At Digivizer, our recent AI hackathon produced ingenious solutions, from automated data analysis to generating marketing copy and process efficiencies. What was particularly exciting was seeing our non-engineering team able to build innovative prototypes for testing and proof of concepts, that was then able to be handed over to the engineering team, effectively growing the numbers of who, how and resulting in an expanded team to contribute to product innovation. 

AI can empower your team to achieve more, freeing them to focus on creative storytelling and building stronger customer relationships. 

International trade How Emerging Tech Is Empowering Aussie Businesses

2. Blockchain: building trust and transparency

Blockchain technology ensures secure and transparent cross-border transactions. Imagine smart contracts automating payments or tracking your entire supply chain – from parts to finished product – for complete ownership verification. 

This builds trust and transparency in international collaborations, valuations, and purchases, especially when dealing with new partners in unfamiliar markets. Again creating confidence in your proposition. 

3. The Internet of Things (IoT): optimizing your supply chain

The IoT harnesses low-cost networks, sensors, and processing power to improve supply chain visibility. Imagine real-time tracking of your goods throughout the entire shipping journey, from origin to destination and real-time monitoring to alert when actions are required as preventive measures reducing downtime (moves you from unexpected down time and fire-fighting) 

This translates to optimized trade operations, can take advantage of high-powered analytics, giving you a complete view of your inventory and potential bottlenecks.

4. Digital marketing platforms: scaling your business globally

Digital marketing platforms like LinkedIn (with over 1 billion users over 200 countries), Meta, Google (with 2/3rds of all search done on their platform), and YouTube provide a cost-effective way to reach targeted audiences worldwide. The majority of these platforms are common to all countries which can help you target them through your targeted marketing programs.

By adapting content, targeting, and context to local markets, you can create highly relevant solutions that resonate with potential customers. These platforms also offer a perfect “test and learn” environment for validating at a lower cost, your go-to-market strategy.

5.  The Human Touch: the key ingredient

Technology is a powerful tool, but it can’t replace the value added in the human touch. Building a successful international business requires spending time in your target markets. 

It is important to hire the best local talent to leverage their market knowledge, networks and cultural understanding. Great talent should be considered as an investment not a cost.

6.  The best way to manage your IP globally is to compete, not police it

If you have a product or service that is easy to replicate, you do run the danger of competitors copying or pirating your goods. The best way to compete with this is to have a way to deliver continuous innovation, to build stickiness in product (i.e., value that builds regular and frequent interaction), to embed your solution within broader company ecosystems which creates dependencies and pain in moving, and then ultimately rewards for customers for continued usage and staying with you/your product (and pain if they leave, for eg., they lose all their data, or loyalty points etc.).  

The more value you create for your customers, and the greater the touch points and community that builds around it, the less likely they will look elsewhere (and much harder for a competitor to copy it).  

Key takeaways for global success

  • Embrace emerging technologies: Consider leveraging AI, Blockchain and IoT, to help you innovate, provide greater product and services value and to empower your team to compete on a global scale.
  • Think global: Consider where your future workforce, partners, suppliers and customers are located and look to serve them and make self service easy for them
  • Develop a global mindset: Immerse yourself in different cultures, hire the best local talent, learn from them, and apply those learnings and opportunities to your business.
  • Leverage technology: Use digital platforms to test and reach new markets and serve customers faster and more effectively.

The future is bright for those who are willing to harness the power of technology and a global mindset. By embracing these strategies, Australian businesses can significantly grow and transform themselves into global leaders. 

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