The Future of Digital Transformation

9 November 2018

At the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce business lunch in Canberra on 9 November 2018, a distinguished panel including Randall Brugeaud, CEO, Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), Australian Government, David Reeve, CIO, Macquarie University; Lee Hickin, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Australia; Michael McLeod, CEO, Message Stick and Sharmila Tsourdalakis, EGM, Banking & Wealth Technology, Suncorp Group discussed the Future of Digital Transformation.

The discussion was moderated by Jolene Laverty, radio broadcaster with ABC Canberra, MC and facilitator.

The event was sponsored by Optus and Message Stick.

Worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies (hardware, software and services) is expected to hit $1.3 trillion in 2018, and it’s predicted that by 2021, the total amount spent on digitalisation globally will surpass $2.1 trillion.

Technologies such as AI, cloud computing, advanced analytics and the IoT are helping pioneering executives and entrepreneurs to develop new business models and disrupt the established economic order. But it’s not just about the technology: changing business processes and corporate culture are vital to the success of an organisation’s transformation.

Our panel explored the following questions:

  • What have we learned on the digital transformation journey so far?
  • What is the changing impact of technology on the spaces we live, work and play?
  • What technologies lie on the horizon?
  • How are organisations evolving to a digital business model with regards to revising technology strategies, changing organisational structures and processes, and innovating?
  • How do we harness new tools and technologies to provide a unique customer experience and ensure the sustainability of our businesses into the future?


Randall Brugeaud, CEO, Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), Australian Government

Randall Brugeaud was appointed CEO of the Digital Transformation Agency on 1 July 2018. Before his appointment, Randall spent almost 30 years working in a range of public and private sector roles, with a focus on transformation. His public sector experience has spanned large, medium and small organisations and his private sector experience includes more than a decade working with the Boston Consulting Group and a private IT consulting firm, which he founded and operated. Most recently Randall was Deputy Australian Statistician and Chief Operating Officer at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and before that, Chief Information Officer at the former Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Randall holds a Master of Business Administration, a Graduate Diploma in Applied Computing and a Bachelor of Education degree. He is also a Senior Executive Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Lee Hickin, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Australia

As the National Technology Officer (CTO) Lee helps customers on their journey of digital transformation through cloud technologies. Lee focuses on the adoption of intelligent cloud services such as AI, IOT, Machine learning and cognitive services underpinned by core technology strategy and the Microsoft Ethical AI framework. With over 25 years’ experience in the IT industry, Lee has spent 2 years at Amazon Web Services as the APAC Platform technology lead, Microsoft for 11 years in a variety of technical, sales and product management roles and prior to that spent 5 years at RSA Security as a Senior Consultant on Identity management and Authentication Services and 8 years in a variety of roles at IBM, Tivoli and a couple of Start-ups. Lee is a regular speaker on the topic of IOT and digital transformation.

Michael McLeod, CEO, Message Stick

Michael McLeod has been described by a senior Federal politician as one of Australia’s most valuable sons. Michael and his family are part of Australia’s stolen generations. At the age of two, Michael and his siblings were taken from their parents, never to be reunited as a family. Michael grew up on his own in State ward homes and foster homes. He first met his mother at his father’s funeral. By his mid-twenties, he was a chronic alcoholic and heroin addict, and by his early thirties he was homeless, living on the streets of Sydney. A successful rehabilitation program has seen Michael clean and sober for fifteen years. Refusing employment benefits and Aboriginal housing benefits, Michael started his own niche telecommunications business. Today, Message Stick is a growing multimillion dollar services business owned by Aboriginal Australians that engages with large corporations and Government agencies.

Sharmila Tsourdalakis, Executive General Manager, Banking & Wealth Technology, Suncorp

Sharmila has over 20 years’ experience in technology across a variety of industries including mining, construction, fire and electronic services, retail, office, logistics, government and financial services. During this time, Sharmila has held various leadership roles driving technology enablement, digital business transformation, driving new customer experience and insights through data. Sharmila joined Suncorp in January 2017 and leads the Banking & Wealth Technology function, with a focus on technology strategy, platform consolidation, APIs, including the delivery of initiatives to uplift digital customer experiences. Sharmila was also responsible for the technology implementation of digital wallet capability for Suncorp through Google Pay and Apple Pay. Throughout her career, Sharmila has seen the critical value of technology enablement, digital mindset and leading people through change and continuous learning.

David Reeve, CIO, Macquarie University

David Reeve is an accomplished executive with over 20 years of experience in enabling true business transformation through the application of Digital Technologies. His experience spans the globe and crosses industry boundaries which provides him with unique insights into the ways that enterprises operate and their unique abilities to adopt new capabilities. David specialises in insight driven engagement both externally with an organisations clients and customers but also with staff. He has driven the development of new business models enhanced capabilities and created paradigm shifts. He is currently the CIO for Macquarie University helping to create a distinctly different experience for Students, Staff and Researchers across all facets of the institution including its Healthcare capabilities.

Jolene Laverty, radio broadcaster with ABC Canberra, MC and facilitator.