Kiwi firms' lag on e-business worrying says Deloitte

New Zealand businesses continue to lag the world in the adoption of e-business, says a new survey.

New Zealand businesses continue to lag the world in the adoption of e-business, says a new survey.

Consultants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu says its 2001 annual survey of 445 business “throws up some worrying findings”.

“In an environment where moving fast is critical to survival, New Zealand organisations’ e-business practices have barely moved at all. In many significant areas, indeed we have moved backwards,” it says.

The survey says Kiwi firms are happy to sit back and watch developments overseas and amongst their competitors before deciding what to do themselves.

“New Zealand organisations are struggling to come to terms with the opportunities that e-business presents. A number of significant barriers that existed last year, remain firmly in place. Little is being done to facilitate or encourage businesses to embrace e-business in a meaningful way beyond the mere use of email and websites,” says the executive summary.

The survey found:

  • Fewer than half of kiwi firms has an e-business strategy, particularly larger organisations.
  • 97.4% use email and 58.4% have a website, but B2B and B2C sales are in their infancy, with less than one-in-five firms able to sell online.
  • Just two-fifths can transact electronically, and only a quarter online.
  • Planned e-business investment is slipping with 28.3% saying they will spend nothing on it; 42.7% will spend up to $20,000.
  • Despite previous optimistic surveys, firms now believe New Zealand now lags behind its key trading partners in e-business adoption.
  • Fewer firms believe e-business will impact substantially over the short term.
The survey concludes it is perplexing as Kiwis usually embrace new technology, such as Eftpos and ATMs, but not e-business. Firms see e-business as a legitimate business channel and many believe having a strategy for implementing it is important, yet almost half of firms have no strategy in place.

“This presents a real dilemma…[the survey] suggests that the e-business tidal wave is going to leave a substantial segment of these organisations in its wake,” it says.

However, Deloitte partner Alasdair Macleod says it might not all be doom and gloom as maybe Kiwi firms are not making such as fuss about the e-business ‘hype’ and are simply getting on with it.

Email adoption is universal and most have a website.

“These are the backbones of the networked economy,” Macleod says.

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