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Costs, government regulation holding back Kiwi SMB tech dreams

By Heather Wright, Tue 27 Oct 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cost and government regulation are two key barriers to Kiwi small and medium businesses fully embracing technology changes according to a new survey.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor Digital Nation survey shows 47% of the more than 1000 SME business operators interviewed for the survey have acquired new computer hardware or software in the last year.

However, 33% say cost is a major barrier to adopting technological innovation, while 19% are concerned government regulation is holding them back and 12% cite a lack of appropriately skilled staff as a barrier.

Sixty per cent said the pace of technology development is ‘about right’, but 21% of business operators outside of the main centres feel they are struggling to keep up with the latest innovations in technology.

Tim Reed, MYOB New Zealand chief executive, says keeping pace with rapidly changing technology is ‘the new normal’ for businesses, which stand to gain considerable benefits from the latest innovations.

“The latest innovations, from the cloud to business intelligence, are transforming the way we do business,” Reed says. “While it can take some effort to keep pace with emerging and evolving technologies – especially if they are not yet commonplace in your sector – it is worth the investment.”

Reed says benefits include improved productivity and efficiency, greater ability to reach and interact with new customers and having access to real-time information to support better decision making.

The report shows half of local SMEs now have an online presence – and over the last 12 months, 40% of businesses with an online presence increased revenue compared to just 25% of those without a website.

Key benefits of being online, according to those surveyed, included generating more enquiries and leads, making it easier for customers to do business, and increased interaction with customers. Thirty-four per cent also said being online allowed them to be more competitive.

“After tracking the technology adoption of New Zealand SMEs for over three years, we can quite clearly say that businesses that are online and keeping pace with technology are doing better across every performance measure, “ Reed says.

There’s bad news in the survey for internet providers, with satisfaction with internet access – speed and reliability – slipping from 49% in March 2015 to 40% in September. Levels of dissatisfaction have climbed from 29% to 34% during the same period.

Reed says the issues deserve national attention.

“From ensuring the availability of skilled, trained staff to driving the roll-out of UFB harder – particularly in the regions – this is something that deserves national attention from Government, business agencies and technology and telecommunications providers,” Reed says.

“Making it as easy as possible for businesses to adopt technology will have a profound effect in creating a diverse competitive and internationally-engaged New Zealand economy,” he adds.

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