E-commerce poses threats to NZ businesses: KPMG

New Zealand faces three major threats if the business community and government fail to recognise the collapsing of time and distance brought about by electronic networks, says an electronic commerce specialist for KPMG.

New Zealand faces three major threats if the business community and government fail to recognise the collapsing of time and distance brought about by electronic networks, says an electronic commerce specialist for KPMG.

Aaron Kumove, e-commerce specialist for the New Zealand arm of the accountancy and consultancy firm, says the first threat is the breakdown of economic and physical trade barriers, allowing foreign entities to establish a cost-effective physical presence here using the Internet.

The second relates to the Internet-enabled outflow of money from the country, something he believes must be addressed at the highest levels in both public and private sectors.

The third threat is the continuing high numbers of skilled high-tech workers leaving New Zealand. “These people can earn significantly higher sums and be involved in state-of-the art projects, giving learning and career enhancements not readily available here,” he says.

Kumove’s warning comes after a KPMG survey revealed that New Zealand and Australian businesses believe e-commerce is a “must do”, but very few have allocated resources to it. The survey, of the top 1000 businesses in New Zealand and top 3000 in Australia, found while many have undertaken planning initiatives for e-commerce, a large proportion are stalling at the resource allocation and integration stage of the process.

Respondents were asked to allocate activities against time lines across a range of e-commerce initiatives, with results showing a huge amount of activity planned in the next 12 to 24 months.

q 41% will be implementing an extranet within two years; 27% within a year.

q 30% will be implementing EDI within two years; 19% within a year.

q 32% will be implementing electronic signatures within two years;15% within a year

q 29% will set up an intranet within two years; 25% within a year.

q 28% will put up a Web site within two years; 22% within a year.

q 22% will implement smartcard activities within two years; 8% within a year.

New Zealand survey responses totalled over 160.

Compaq to offer e-commerce consulting service

By Andrea Malcolm

COMPAQ SERVICES IS taking on other systems integrators by offering consulting and planning services for designing e-commerce network infrastructures.

While people tend to think of Compaq as a PC manufacturer, the majority of staff in New Zealand are employed by the services division — 220 out of 320.

Debbie Joy, Compaq’s director of network technologies for Asia-Pacific, says the services division (formerly Digital’s network and systems integration services) is offering to come in at the beginning of a project when the customer is first considering how they get to a non-stop Internet computing environment.

“We like to come in before the RFP [request for proposal] because by the time the RFP is written the architecture has been decided on,” she says.

As part of the planning and consulting process Compaq Services offers a CIO workshop to help companies understand their business strategy and map it to their IT strategy. “In the past, networks have had a lot of piecemeal components with no overarching approach,” says Joy. “You have to enable the infrastructure first, then you can layer the applications on top.

“People have to realise that the network infrastructure is not just a cost centre but the enabler for e-commerce. We can’t continue building network as point solutions to requests from the business units.”

After the CIO workshop, companies can either do a quick-fix or implement new technology. If they decide to go with new technology, customers can do small pilots to show an immediate return on investment.

Joy says Compaq Services is not limited to Compaq equipment.

Asia-Pacific’s need for telecomms to leap: study

A RECENT DELOITTE Consulting report predicts that Asia-Pacific’s demand for tele-communications services will increase at more than three times the rate of the US and Western Europe demand over the next 10 years — mostly in wireless communications.

The report, “Worldwide Demand for Tele-phone Service: A Post-crash Guide for Global Telecom SuperCarriers”, estimates landline and wireless growth to 2005 in 48 countries. Saturated markets in North America and Europe, it says, will drive “supercarriers” to look outside their traditional markets. Although Asia-Pacific accounts for around 60% of the world’s population, it has only 20% of the world’s phones.

Deloitte’s report forecasts that the percentage of wireless telephone traffic will jump from 2% to 30% globally, driven in part by the deployment of satellite technology. Cheaper and faster to construct and operate than landlines, wireless technology is often the most viable option for emerging market countries.

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