Telecoms costs and continuity worry Kiwi companies

Continued supply of broadband is a "major worry" for 15% of the companies surveyed, while telecoms supply greatly worries 13%

Business is worried about both the cost and continuity of broadband and telecoms services, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

These concerns top those about transport and fuel when it comes to assessing whether the business is sustainable or not. Continued supply of broadband is a “major worry” for 15% of the companies surveyed, while telecoms supply greatly worries 13%. These worries exceed those about the sustainability of other services, even land transport, with 11% seriously worried about this and 10% worried about fuel.

Concern about broadband and other telecoms costs is even higher, with 14% seriously worried about broadband costs and 16% about telecoms costs.

“Both are top-of-the-mind infrastructure-related issues with the impending [structural] separation of Telecom,” says PWC. But when it comes to costs, fuel is the big worry, far outstripping telecoms concerns, with 31% of Kiwi companies seriously worried about future fuel costs.

The report, “Behind the Walls & Inside the Minds of Kiwi Companies”, was compiled in collaboration with the EMA (formerly the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association) and the University of Auckland.

The report also looks at productivity issues, exploring how companies define and measure it, and what they are doing to improve it. Low productivity is often flagged by both industry commentators and politicians as a major negative influence on the local economy.

“Ongoing process improvement” is seen as the best way of increasing productivity, but surprisingly little effort has been made here, with only 14% of respondents saying they had looked to process improvement, although 78% claimed to be concerned about it.

ICT, and the design of ICT-assisted processes to improve productivity, would be a major factor here but the report doesn’t measure its impact separately.

“Businesses know what to do, but are struggling to execute,” PWC says. “They recognise they would benefit greatly from an assessment of ongoing process improvement opportunities, but the issue is that businesses just don’t do it.”

Perhaps this is because they would find the results difficult to measure and attribute to any changes made, PWC suggests.

In contrast, management policies were seen as being strongly connected with productivity by 74% of the companies surveyed — 77% said they are trying to improve management.

However, the report’s authors say such improvements are likely to have only a small effect compared with the difference process improvements would make.

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