Communication Lines

July 2013


Many NZ Businesses Still Missing Out on Benefits of the Digital Economy

From MYOB:

MYOB is calling for vastly improved education and support for New Zealand’s SMEs in the wake of new research about their online technology usage. The findings highlight the breadth of opportunities offered by the digital economy and that many local businesses are unknowingly missing out on them.

According to the latest MYOB Business Monitor, a survey of 1,000+ SMEs with anywhere between 0-200 employees, only 16% of New Zealand businesses used cloud computing and only 34% of SMEs operated a business website.

MYOB New Zealand general manager – business division, James Scollay, says there is tremendous scope for SMEs to increase revenue, strengthen customer relationships and improve productivity through using online technologies.

“There is an immense need in this country for government and business leaders to work together with our business community to share knowledge about the benefits of embracing online tools. And it must happen now. Even the simplest tips can make the world of difference to a business and every business is important – they provide the livelihood for hundreds of thousands of local families and contribute greatly to the domestic economy,” he says.

“Our research found that business owners using cloud technology say it enhances their data security and improves their productivity, while those with a website earn more, sell more and have better relationships with their clients. Activities such as building an online presence, enabling teleworkers, using online accounting software, building a social media presence and so on really should be easy to implement for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“The majority of local businesses are missing out on these benefits. Clearly we need to think about how to better support business operators in taking up these technologies.”
According to the MYOB Business Monitor, businesses that have a business website are almost 10% more likely to have reported a revenue increase in the last year than those without. Those that have embraced cloud computing are 16% more likely to have seen a rise. Further, both groups are more likely to anticipate revenue increases throughout 2013.

In contrast to the findings, internet usage among consumers is well established, with 86% of New Zealanders using the internet daily1 and 80% searching online before buying a product or service2.

“This really highlights the stark difference between businesses’ adoption of the internet and the demands of their customers,” says Mr Scollay.

Despite the growing range of cloud computing options available for business, New Zealand SMEs remained unsure of the technology. 84% of the country’s businesses were either still not using it or unsure if they were using it.

“It is clear that business owners and managers do not feel confident enough to take up the technology, with over half needing more support or information to make the change,” Mr Scollay says.

“Understandably, the issue of security is top of mind for many local business operators. In reality, the systems and processes available from leading cloud providers are likely to be significantly more secure than SMEs’ own systems.”

“Cloud computing supports improved productivity and security, while opening up a range of accessible tools for better business management and geographical freedom.  Having a website increases your chances of attracting new clients, giving access to both the local and international market.  Most importantly, it gives businesses a dynamic presence online – where most of their customers are shopping,” says Mr Scollay.

“As part of a small economy that’s geographically distant from the rest of the world, it’s vitally important that local businesses look to gain every possible advantage. Few opportunities are as potentially transformational as the internet.”

According to MYOB’s survey the most popular reasons for businesses using cloud computing are:

  1. Ability to work from whatever locations they want, or need, to work from (68%)
  2. Data is better protected and safer online rather than on their own server (49%)
  3. Enables one or more staff members to work remotely (42%)
  4. Enables accounting software to receive direct feeds of bank transactions (36%)
  5. Enables employees and the business owner/manager to be more productive (29%)
1The State of Broadband 2012, Broadband Commission
2Consumer Commerce Barometer NZ, April 2010

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