Australian companies are excellently positioned to benefit from a range of regional and cultural market shifts, provided they take the right strategic planning approach.

New research from Deloitte showed the competitiveness of the nation's firms will depend on various factors, but agility and innovation are key drivers.

Selwyn D'Souza, lead strategy partner at Deloitte, said the country's proximity to burgeoning Asian markets is a huge advantage that businesses must take into consideration.

"Strengthening our already strong relationships with the new global giants such as China and India will become more important than ever as we seek to establish a stronger presence in their markets and their companies continue to enter ours," he explained.

According to Mr D'Souza, a billion people are entering the middle class worldwide over the next 20 years, but organisations must prepare now to avoid lagging behind.

Infrastructure developments, such as the National Broadband Network will provide valuable opportunities, particularly for companies in regional areas or industries.

"It will be the forward-looking Australian businesses that proactively take opportunities to innovate and serve the needs of low-income consumers in the Asia-Pacific region which will enjoy the benefits of increased market share, profit growth and brand differentiation," Mr D'Souza explained.

Deloitte also noted that leadership development will undergo changes across Australia, as businesses look to employ senior executives with functional expertise. This will lead to a proliferation of chief customer officers, chief risk officers and chief data officers.

"The creation of these new C-suite roles demonstrates the increasing need for functional expertise in digital, customer insight, innovation and transformation at the leadership table," Mr D'Souza concluded.

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