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June 29, 2023

Sign up to a future-proof business degree

AI and other technologies are rapidly transforming Australia into a landscape of digital organisations – making this new UniSA business degree essential.

  • This article was produced in collaboration with the University of South Australia.

A new Bachelor of Digital Business degree from UniSA will ensure graduates are equipped to thrive in a digital-first workforce and future, says its program director Dr Sarah Chua.


Find out about UniSA’s Bachelor of Digital Business degree here.

“The world will really be theirs for the taking as this program distinctively positions students to excel in wherever their career will take them,” Sarah says.

“The new degree works to address the growing skills gap in Australia as all industries will continue to be shaped by ongoing digital disruption and emerging technologies.

“Graduates of the Bachelor of Digital Business will be equipped with a transferrable skillset, which uniquely prepares them to manage and thrive in a rapidly advancing digital landscape.”

In 2022, UniSA is ranked no. 1 in South Australia and Top 10 in Australia for Business and Management*, and the degree is the first to come out of the Innovation Academy in Business – a joint partnership between UniSA and Global IT and consulting firm Accenture, which is the first and only one of its kind in Australia.

Jordan Griffiths, Accenture Operations Lead Australia & New Zealand, says he’s “thrilled to be working with UniSA” and he believes 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 up-skilling of Australia, by developing talent that is equipped for the technology-driven future,” he says.

And while the digital future may appear to be a few years away, in reality, it is already here.

“With the rapid adoption of AI and other new technologies across all areas of business, people now need an enhanced skillset to be effective in their roles,” says Accenture Adelaide Senior Manager, Caryn Moseley.

This is relevant to everyone, not just those working in a startup or scale-up where digital-first thinking is obligatory. It is possible the greater job opportunities will be within established businesses needing or undergoing digital transformation.

Preparing graduates to future-proof their careers is at the forefront of UniSA’s Bachelor of Digital Business. The degree will equip students with an understanding of how current and emerging technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning, are transforming business operations.

Providing a strong foundation in ‘traditional’ business essentials, it will help students develop keys skills, such as analytical thinking, creative thinking and entrepreneurship, plus a host of essential soft skills, and prepare graduates to be flexible in their work, industries and problem-solving.

The thinking is that, while technical skills such as computer programming, encryption and cybersecurity will underpin the future, this new business skillset will be equally important in bringing about innovation and improving the lives of people globally.

Knowing how blockchain, AI and machine learning can revolutionise business will be key.

Even now, AI is beginning to be adapted and adopted into people’s work – used as a tool, rather than to replace people – regardless of the industry they choose to work in.

It is hard to escape the fact that generative AI has also exploded in use. Applications such as ChatGPT and Midjourney have precipitated a rapid adoption of the technology, with an estimated 100 million users signing up to ChatGPT successor GPT-4 in just 60 days.

However, rather than using open-access platforms like these, organisations will need to create their own enterprise AIs with stricter templates and prompts to maintain client confidentiality, set precedents and ensure data security.

Caryn says today’s most visible applications of AI technologies include chatbots, shopping recommendations and ride-share apps, which leverage AI and machine learning technologies to enhance customer experience and decision-making processes.

Having worked at Accenture in the application of IT across diverse sectors, such as mining and resources, utilities and manufacturing, Caryn sees both opportunities and the need for a prepared workforce in the wider business landscape.

Discussing the impact of AI on manufacturing processes, she highlights its significant role in improving output quality, fault detection, waste reduction and product customisation.

“There is potential to improve the way businesses are operating and come out with a lower cost item, or [ones] more specific to a customer’s needs but at a higher cost,” Caryn says.

“There are a lot of opportunities around sustainability as well. For example, helping to determine water usage during product manufacture, and how to reduce the amount of water and chemicals in the product to also have a positive impact on the climate,” she says.

This is in line with the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs survey, which identified the key drivers of business transformation in the next five years as technology adoption and the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, such as the transition to green businesses.

Caryn also points to the current role of AI in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, where the AI facilitates predictive analysis, forecasting and economic insights by adapting and learning from data inputs.

Her colleague, Cassandra Warren, who is a business architecture senior analyst, says she feels the pace of digital change has been blistering since she entered the workforce two years ago.

“It does feel like it’s moving fast at Accenture,” she says. “We have a lot of different technology platforms that we use, and we’re constantly encouraged to make sure we get the latest certifications for them and have that up-to-date knowledge, especially with Cloud certifications.”

A graduate of UniSA, she had a hand in delivering the university’s Metaverse, which offers real-time contact with lecturers and others.

“It’s really cool to see that space… because if the student’s degree is online, they can still get that interaction with people,” Cassandra says.

She feels her degree from UniSA left her well prepared for her current role.

“I had all of those foundational business courses that taught me the overview of business, and then [I learned] those softer skills to be able to work well in teams,” Cassandra says.

“The degree captured quite a holistic approach to business, [while] having that creativity in my thinking really plays into working with our clients and thinking of better ways of doing things.”

Cassandra says she’s keen to grasp new work and project opportunities around applying generative AI for clients.

Accenture’s report A new era of generative AI for everyone forecasts that around 40 per cent of all working hours could be impacted by AI large language models, such as GPT-4.

Generative AI is expected to streamline work and transform tasks, enhancing output and automating others.

This may be by providing summaries or metadata, generating ideas quickly that can then be refined, or acting as a ‘co-pilot’.

While this could spell the end of some language-based jobs – think bank teller and office admin staff – Accenture also expects there to be rapid growth in digital business roles, including digital transformation specialists, data analysts and scientists, business intelligence analysts, and AI and machine-learning specialists.

It’s a transformation that will make digital business roles some of the most exciting jobs in the future.

The Bachelor of Digital Business can prepare students for these roles – helping them develop an understanding of how current and emerging technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning, are revolutionising business.

The degree will also teach in-demand problem-solving approaches and tools, such as design thinking, Agile, and business communication; and fostering a digital-first mindset in order to transform products, services and business operations.

The three-year program offers students industry placements with Accenture in their final year, connecting their university study to real-world industry practice.

The course is delivered on-campus with two intakes each year, in February and July. It is also offered 100 per cent online, with intakes four times each year.

Apply for the July on-campus intake here.

*2022 QS Subject Rankings

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