An eBanz survey of New Zealand companies suggests they are not so far behind in the e-race, after all.
The survey also shows local confidence in e-commerce is improving.
Tuanz chairman Ernie Newman says barriers to e-commerce are being removed and new e-business products are coming on stream.
"The message is considerable progress is being made. We will see quite an upsurge of activity in the next year or so.
"There is definitely a better signal coming through this time," he says.
Newman says Y2K issues were a diversion for IT staff, but as Y2K proved to be a non-event, they are now focusing on e-business issues.
The eBanz survey found 68% of Kiwi firms think e-business is critical to their futures. The same number are also greatly developing their e-business capabilities over the next five years, while only 2% are not.
Half the firms surveyed also say e-commerce should improve their revenue growth.
Some 96% already operate internal LAN and email; and 86 % operate Web sites, with a further 13% planning them.
A third of firms have electronic invoicing and just over 40% are planning it.
However, the survey found almost half of companies say lack of capital is a constraint to e-business and a similar number report staff constraints.
Furthermore, almost half of the firms feel they are falling behind their overseas rivals, leading to a view the government should do more to help business.
A quarter say government should get involved by giving "an explicit kick start" to e-commerce, while just over half want the government to lead by example by ensuring its agencies are ahead in e-business, rather than involving itself with private sector uptake. A fifth see no specific role for government.
Elsewhere, the survey says a third of e-businesses say they are in front of their rivals in e-commerce, while half are at the same level. Companies are keenest to use e-commerce to beat their rivals, with 61% saying this, while 23 % fear being left behind.
Almost 200 firms took part in the survey by accessing the eBanz Web site.