Data holds claim as the most persistent challenge across marketing agendas. It lives in excess and constantly grows, requiring regular orchestration and vigilance over how it is governed, organised, and understood. The days of third-party data reliance are dwindling, and technology continues to advance, challenging leaders to rethink their approach to their existing data frameworks to maximise first-party data usage. For many, this undertaking has already begun, positioning first-movers as leaders across the digital marketplace.

XPON, in partnership with Connect Media, gathered the marketing minds shaping the Australian business landscape to explore this undertaking. It was an evening of great discussion and insight, breaking down the challenges shared between leaders as they navigate their data challenges and digital journeys. 


The healthcare industry has reached a critical inflection point. The pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities puncturing hospitals and practices around the country, making it clear that our current systems are no longer fit for purpose. Leaders also are experiencing an upward battle with retaining a burnt-out workforce, all the while still navigating increasing skills shortages and hesitancy from new generations to take up the mantle of responsibility.  

Change- culturally, socially and operationally- across the entire sector, is vital. 

Despite this overwhelming appetite for change, reform is costly. The volatility of our current economic climate has amplified this reality, challenging healthcare professionals to push the creative boundaries of strategy to bring about new and innovative systems of difference. This process is long and incremental, requiring immense forward planning, analysing short-, medium- and longer-term implications. Leaders are challenged to consider what are the core, fundamental characteristics needed to redesign future services, keeping in-mind the influence of external pressures.  

Across three states, over three different events, Philips and Deloitte, in partnership with Connect Media, brought leading healthcare professionals together to confront this current state of industry. National and Local Chief Officers, Directors and Managers, all with diverse health backgrounds, gathered at closed roundtables in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. These roundtables were forums for candid discussion, drawing together different points of view from across the sector, delving into the core challenges shaping modern healthcare delivery: future reform and workforce shortages. The purpose, to collectively strategize practical solutions to build a more resilient healthcare system with those leading the charge.  

These conversations were recorded, transcribed and summarised into this Whitepaper. Within its pages you will find a reflection of the discussions, insights, questions, and ultimately solutions, that fuelled each event as healthcare leaders confronted the presented theme. Attendees were granted anonymity in return for their honesty and candour. Here is an insight into what they had to say. 


Creativity: it can solve almost any problem and is often the most important contributor to a brand’s success. It is an empowerment mechanism, possessing the ability to push people towards an innate capacity for innovation. Businesses know the immense value of creativity within the workplace. Yet, as ongoing economic challenges continue to tighten budgets and strengthen external pressures, enabling creativity has become a back-burner priority. Marketing leaders are charged with strategizing the business case for integrated and intentional creativity, aligning seemingly contradictory imperatives and bringing new customers into the fold.

On Wednesday 7th September, in partnership with Connect Media, hosted an executive gathering of marketing leaders from a diverse cross-section of industries. This Roundtable provided a platform for candid discussion, where attendees confronted the challenges and opportunities underlining creative management within business.  


The profound volatility of the current economic climate has impacted almost every aspect of our operating environment. Cost pressures are rising, labour markets tightening and sustainability commitments carry more of an intensified weight. What’s more, the global players of growth and demand have shifted, and continue to do so, amplifying the already complex nature of post-pandemic supply. Though businesses are better prepared to face these headwinds, leaders of industry will be defined by their ability to strategically position themselves for advantage; a task that has fallen into the remit of CFOs.  

Fortunately, finance leaders are inherently aware that through crisis emerges potential for opportunity. KPMG Partner and Senior Economist, Sarah Hunter, expressed it plainly: “Now is the time to take advantage.” 

On the 13th October 2022, Oracle and KPMG, in partnership with Connect Media, hosted an executive gathering of senior finance leaders from across all sectors of the national economy to discuss this uptake of an advantage-driven mentality. Their conversation interrogated the expanding mantle of CFOs in the face of a tumultuous economy as they continue to step up as strategic partners and digital enablers.  


Mathew Nelson, Chief Sustainability Officer, EY Oceania, at the Sustainability Leaders Summit 2022.


The Rise of The Chief Sustainability Officer: How CSOs Are Fast Joining the Ranks of CFOs and COOs to Drive Business Value and Sustainable Impact

Mathew Nelson, EY Oceania Chief Sustainability Officer, has over 20 years’ experience in providing advisory and assurance services related to ESG and climate change and has previously held roles as Oceania, APAC and Global Leader for EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services business.  Mat will be speaking on ‘The rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer: How CSOs are fast joining the ranks of CFOs and COOs to drive business value and sustainable impact’. He will be talking to why CSOs are central to the everyday conversations held and decisions made at the executive leadership level, and why both credibility and capability is important to this role.


 Dr Stefanos Fotiou is responsible for the planning and implementation of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s work on natural resources management, climate change, sustainable urban development, and the green economy. From decarbonisation through to the cities of the future, we sat down with Stefanos to sharpen our approach to the epidemic political and industrial challenges that threaten our sustainability outlook.


As Director of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge, Professor Steve Evans plays a central role informing and influencing the UK’s transformation towards a sustainable industrial system. We spoke with Professor Steve Evans to get a better understanding of his work and the industrial transition afoot towards more sustainable operating models.


 The ongoing pandemic has had a consequential impact on all sectors of the national economy, but perhaps none more than the airline industry. As Group Executive, Government, Industry, International, Sustainability at QANTAS Airways, Andrew Parker has visibility over the disruption that has unfolded and the potential for sustainable change moving forward. We sat down with Andrew to discuss what is on the horizon for the nation’s carrier. 


To download this Insights Piece as a printable .PDF, click here.
To watch the full Panel Discussion, click here.
To help define the next steps of your data journey, connect with Databricks’ technologists here.


Businesses are placing renewed attention on the value of responsive analytical capabilities. National and global Retailers alike are leaning on data analytics to help drive better decision-making and advance customer outcomes, strengthening their businesses against the current volatile economic landscape. We recently convened a virtual panel to hear how leading national Retailers are approaching data transformation. Moderated by Bede Hackney, Country Manager, Databricks Australia & NZ, our conversation unearthed the unique strategies that Retailers are pursuing to enable responsive, data-informed decision making.


The pandemic restricted the movement of people and forced huge swathes of the economy into retreat. In response, the nation’s Retail community mobilised rapidly, channelling tremendous growth in e-commerce platforms to facilitate safe consumer spending. Looking ahead, our optimism or pessimism on the continued health of our communities, on the trajectory of consumer confidence, and on the strength of our industry is not misinformed, it’s simply not informed.

Volatility inherently corrupts our ability to forecast with any precision. Without historical data to lean on, thought-leaders are taking advantage of new types of dynamic information to shape a contextual perspective. Sole reliance on internal data is slackening as Retailers widen their gaze to accommodate external data sets and incorporate unstructured and semi-structured sources of data. By adopting a more holistic data perspective, one that is informed not just by internal data but by reconciling external sources of data in a unified and intuitive platform, Retailers can enhance their resilience and responsiveness



Retailers are confronting their global supply chain dependencies in response to the pandemic, reassessing the weight of individual component costs in the broader scheme of end-to-end value optimisation. But the process of anticipating and mitigating the factors arresting the movement of goods hinges on sharing data with key players in our supply and distribution networks to achieve greater transparency and responsiveness. Beyond addressing our assumptions on what data is of relevance, we need to consider the varied use cases for data assets we have already collected.

Preceding the pandemic, Retailers had been building their capability to collect data from physical environments with the intent of understanding in-store traffic patterns to optimise product placement layouts and ultimately affect cart size. Now, the same environmental data is being directed towards improving employee and customer health and safety protections by removing bottlenecks and managing in-store movement.



Hindsight is the weapon of emerging businesses – you don’t need to encounter and overcome the trials faced by your established competitors when you have the historical data to circumvent them. New companies pre-emptively adopt a data-first mindset, diffusing the resource-draining data engineering undertaken by traditional players.

JB Hi-Fi faced a number of significant challenges on the road to building an intuitive and responsive data functionality. Data had accrued in siloed systems, while different access methods, formats, and authentication controls meant that anyone attempting to report against the data contended with a spider web of connectivity. The on-premises data warehouse solution was both scale and cost prohibitive, while reporting mechanisms anchored to Excel were flat, non-interactive, and non-dynamic in the content they delivered.

In response, the business created an environment structure modelled on swim lanes of data ingestion, one for each type of collection, with these pipelines parametrised to store definitions about schedules, database tables, and credentials. From there, all data is transformed into Databricks Delta Format, allowing for asset level transactions and increased retrieval time. Microsoft Power BI is augmented with precomputation and business logic implementations within an adjacent Databricks Job to rapidly deliver interactive visualisations and business intelligence reporting capabilities. Together, this environment structure empowers JB HiFi to react rapidly to a changing business landscape.


Dynamic, data-informed decision making is essential for businesses when they encounter volatility. The pandemic has exposed our collective reliance on historical forecasting data, shifting attention towards the value of real-time data to inform rapid responses to changing market forces. Moving forward, Retailers will benefit from looking beyond their own walls to identify and leverage alternative data sources, incorporating structured, semi-structured and unstructured data to reveal broader insights. By adopting a culture of rapid experimentation and focussing on improving outcomes rather than generating insights, Retailers will be able to unlock a new resilience that is embedded with responsiveness.

To learn more about how Databricks can help you realise these capabilities and shape the next steps of your data transformation journey, reach out to a Databricks’ technologists here.