THE BACHELOR OF DIGITAL BUSINESS IS TRAINING THE BUSINESS LEADERS OF THE FUTURE
Digital innovation is transforming the business world at an unprecedented rate, and while it is an exciting time in many ways, keeping up with that rapid change is a daunting prospect for many people working in the sector.
Increasingly, the skills modern professionals require now lie at the intersection of technology and business, including working with artificial intelligence, analysing big data and understanding how online interactivity is changing the relationship between service providers and their clients.
Recognising the need for the business workforce to keep pace with industries shaped by digital disruption and emerging technologies, Fortune 500 professional services company Accenture and the University of South Australia (UniSA) recently launched a joint venture to help transform the provision of business education and digital skills in Australia.
The Innovation Academy in Digital Business combines the best of Accenture’s global practice and expertise with UniSA’s proven leadership in transformative, industry-informed business education and research.
UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the Academy delivers bespoke innovative curriculum and training programs, drawing on the skills and expertise of Accenture’s global workforce and UniSA’s established position in online education.
“UniSA is delighted to be working with Accenture to bring the Innovation Academy to life,” Prof Lloyd says.
“The Academy is educating a new breed of business professionals, informed by best practice and insight from one of the world’s leading technology and strategic consulting companies.
“Our students are gaining invaluable skills, and are not just studying with the best, they’re learning from the best as well.”
EDUCATION TAILOR-MADE FOR INDUSTRY
The Innovation Academy is addressing known and emerging skills gaps to enhance productivity in Australia’s strategic growth areas.
The Bachelor of Digital Business is the first degree to emerge from the Academy, and the degree’s program director Dr Sarah Chua says 25 per cent of the content has been co-developed and designed by digital specialists from both partners, who also deliver the program.
“Students learn everything from the fundamentals of data security and technology, to how to apply emerging technologies to solve current and future business challenges,” Dr Chua says.
“The world really will be theirs for the taking, as this program distinctively positions students to excel in wherever their career will take them,” Dr Chua says.
Accenture Operations Lead Australia & New Zealand, Jordan Griffiths, says Bachelor of Digital Business students will graduate with highly in demand credentials.
“We are thrilled to be working with UniSA and believe the Innovation Academy will transform how we think about digital business education, locally and globally.
“The Academy will give students real-world applicability to their studies as well as contributing to the upskilling of Australia, by developing talent that is equipped for the technology-driven future.”
AUSTRALIAN INNOVATION FOR A GLOBAL AUDIENCE
While the Innovation Academy has a strong focus on boosting Australian business, Accenture’s global scale and reputation, coupled with UniSA’s expertise in quality education delivery means the Bachelor of Digital Business is designed to produce graduates who will meet skills shortages worldwide.
UniSA Chief Academic Services Officer, Tom Steer, recently launched the degree in Malaysia and India, and he says the relevance of the content and interest in the degree from industry and prospective students is universal.
“This degree is designed to meet changing workforce needs across the globe,” Steer says. “Not only that, but it will also produce future business leaders capable of leveraging digital technologies to create real business value in the new digital economy.
“Because there is industry content from day one of the degree, it has the potential to be a game-changer in producing job-ready graduates who will transition seamlessly into employment, armed with practical knowledge and the ability to solve real-world problems.
“We look forward to welcoming our next cohort of students in the Bachelor of Digital Business, both online and on-campus here in Adelaide early in the year.”
BUILDING A BRIDGE BETWEEN INDUSTRY AND ACADEMIA
UNISA’S NEW ENTERPRISE HUB PROVIDES BUSINESSES WITH STRAIGHTFORWARD ACCESS TO THE UNIVERSITY’S FULL RANGE OF SERVICES
Universities have a lot to offer industry – research and technical expertise; technology commercialisation; start-up mentoring and incubation; executive education and business development; student internships, placements, and graduate recruitment.
Despite this, many people acknowledge that partnerships between industry and academia can be difficult to establish and maintain. Too often, the path from industry-based needs to university-based solutions is complex and obscure, reliant on individual relationships rather than institutional connections.
This can limit the scope of industry-university partnerships to single disciplines or researchers, when industry partners often have needs that cross the spectrum of services offered by universities.
Recognising this, the University of South Australia (UniSA) recently undertook a major restructure of its industry engagement process, launching a new public facing entity aimed at providing businesses, communities, and organisations access to the full range of UniSA services.
Called the Enterprise Hub, the new entity brings all UniSA’s industry relevant services together in one place, providing a single point of contact that delivers partnership information in a language that makes sense to industry.
UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, says the Enterprise Hub’s aim is to make the University accessible to a wide range of community partners.
“The Enterprise Hub provides a physical and virtual door to enter into collaboration with UniSA, whether you’re a startup, a not-for-profit or social enterprise, a large-scale business or a business wanting to scale up,” Prof Hughes-Warrington says.
“It is a one-stop-shop where our experts across all disciplines can help companies to grow and entrepreneurs to develop a great idea.”
EMBRACING INDUSTRY AND OPPORTUNITY
For UniSA, the Enterprise Hub is a logical next step for an institution that’s always had industry at its heart. UniSA recently ranked number one in Australia for industry research income, building on a long tradition of focusing academia on practical outcomes that stretches back to the 1800s with the creation of the SA School of Art and the SA School of Mines and Industries.
Head of Enterprise Hub operations, Director: Enterprise Partnerships, Peter Stevens, estimates he’s spoken with hundreds of industry partners since initial consultation on the project in 2020 and, overwhelmingly, feedback on the new initiative has been positive. “Right from the start, this initiative took an outside-in view,” Stevens says.
“Our partners don’t operate in academic structures or language. We need to look at the way our partners view us, not the way we view ourselves –defining success and value in industry terms.
“There are countless opportunities when you start to engage with partners based on what they need, rather than what you have.”
By working so closely with industry, according to terms that industry is comfortable with, UniSA is not only better able to provide the services that help grow Australian businesses, the University also gains valuable insight into specific business needs and industry trends, providing new opportunities for academic staff.
“No other university institution – at least that I’m aware of – has taken such a holistic approach to this problem,” Stevens says.
“The cultural values that sit at the core of our University – partnerships, engagement with industry, access and equity – this is what we’re trying to bring to life with the Enterprise Hub.”
In addition to providing a new focus for the full range of UniSA’s expertise, the Hub also brings together a number of the University’s previously existing industry services, including UniSA Ventures and The Innovation and Collaboration Centre.
Prof Hughes-Warrington says the Enterprise Hub’s primary goal is to help South Australia accelerate its trajectory of growth, attracting the best and brightest from industry to the state, and increasing the likelihood they’ll invest here, employ here, and help to grow the economy.