“The Future Of…” series asks a variety of UOW experts and researchers the same five questions, to provide insight in to the potential future states of our lives, communities and world.

Dr Shahriar Akter is Associate Professor of Digital Marketing, Analytics & Innovation at the Sydney Business School. He was awarded his PhD from the University of NSW Business School Australia, with a doctoral fellowship in research methods from University of Oxford. He has been published in leading business and management journals and has appeared in more than 1800 citations since 2013. He was awarded Paper of the Year Award in 2018 by the Electronic Markets Journal for his research on big data analytics.

What are you researching or working on in 2018?

The exponential growth of the digital economy is clearly visible when you consider the dramatic rise of innovative e-commerce firms like Amazon, Alibaba, Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, eBay, Facebook or, Kogan (Australia).

These firms are constantly leveraging their competitive advantages using analytics through multiple channels, such as web, mobile or apps.

To capture this revolution of big data analytics in digital marketplaces, I'm investigating the following projects along with a team of my PhD students:

  • Data driven service innovation and productivity
  • Consumer privacy and security in the data driven digital marketplace
  • Multichannel services marketing to deliver seamless service experience.

In regards to your field of study or expertise what are some of the most innovative or exciting things emerging over the next few years?

Digital transformation (or, the DX economy) is emerging as a new research area in business and management. The drivers of digital transformation, such as AI (human like intellectual capacities of machine to make rational decisions in different situations), machine learning (computing huge amount of data about consumer behavior to deliver advertisement in real time), deep learning ( the powerful and complex use of algorithm set in CRM, HRM, financial analysis, supplier management & fraud detection) and blockchain (distributed digital ledgers that enable and record secure online transactions) are going to be explored in great details in the upcoming days.

What should people be wary or cautious of within the innovation or entrepreneurial space over the next few years?

Our world is more connected than ever before thanks to real time data. At the same time, purpose, variety and pace of data risk increases in a more diverse and exponential rate because 90 per cent of the world’s data has been generated within the last two years. Things are getting more complex to manage and we now have risks associated with cyber security. Australian businesses are constantly being threatened by savvy, resource-rich, risk-taking gangs of hackers. Cyber security for business data is going to be a major concern for digital business platforms in the future.

Where do you believe major opportunities lie for youth thinking about future career options?

The rise of digital economy, big data analytics, and other decision-oriented technologies will create major job opportunities in business studies, such as marketing, accounting, finance, human resources management and operations. For example, a business student can do major in marketing in order to develop expertise in web and social media marketing, digital innovation or, customer analytics to gain a competitive advantage in the job market.

In regards to your field of study or expertise, what is the best piece of advice you could offer to our readers?

Digital innovation will play a key role in Australia’s economy in the next decade. We need to be more competitive in developing innovation based on transformative business models. I look forward to seeing what great startups emerge from Australia and the commercialisation of disruptive products and services, the scaling up high-growth digital firms and the development of cutting edge talent that helps tackle global challenges.

For more from Dr Shahriah Akter you can visit his UOW Scholars profile, which links to his papers and publications.

He also presented at UOW’s Uni in the Brewery event in 2017. View it here.