Y2K early starters set to leapfrog competition

Asia-Pacific companies that have addressed the year 2000 issue have an opportunity to leapfrog their competitors, says analyst Paul Gadd, commenting on a global survey of chief information executives. Gadd says organisations wouldn't be looking at emerging technologies if they were still grappling with the year 2000. 'There's significant growth predicted over the next two years and the worry for other countries is whether they will miss the boat by not doing it - or have they already missed it?'

Asia-Pacific companies that have addressed the year 2000 issue have an opportunity to leapfrog their competitors, says analyst Paul Gadd.

He was commenting on the Deloitte and Touche Consulting Group 1998 global survey of chief information executives. It questioned 1000 chief executives in six major industries in 25 countries, including New Zealand.

Gadd, Deloitte Consulting partner and head of its Technology Transformation practice in New Zealand, says those surveyed in the Asia-Pacific say they will be making considerable investment in IT. The top technologies for investment included workflow, image/document management and the Internet.

Gadd says organisations wouldn't be looking at emerging technologies if they were still grappling with the year 2000. "There's significant growth predicted over the next two years and the worry for other countries is whether they will miss the boat by not doing it — or have they already missed it?"

He says the survey reinforces the perception that many organisations have "broken the back" of the year 2000 problem and are now looking at the next wave. "If they seize the opportunity they can leapfrog over their competitors — those that are still tinkering around with fixing year 2000 problems with the clock ticking." He says Deloitte's has a number of clients who in June or July will have finished all their year 2000 work and who can take advantage of others who are still in "fix-it" mode. "They are now positioning themselves for putting technology to competitive use."

With the Internet and the global economy, such organisations can take advantage of competitors both in New Zealand and overseas. "They have the opportunity, but whether they take that or not only time will tell."

The study found that across all countries surveyed, e-commerce is poised for 300% growth over two years.

The survey says that industries such as consumer business, energy, financial services, health care, manufacturing and the public sector are aggressively embracing the new medium.

Gadd says that until now businesses have been hesitant to adopt e-commerce because of security concerns or the perception that their customers simply aren't using it to buy products and services.

"Now companies are coming to the realisation that security will always be an issue, but that it's less of a concern than missing out on a vital new channel that could provide a tremendous competitive advantage."

Gadd says the survey finds CIOs grappling in a world of rapid and radical change both in terms of technology and the fundamental ways business will use it.

"While e-commerce is an important breakthrough that is reshaping the business landscape, information technologies such as data warehousing, workflow management and new architectures will also pay a critical role in determining whose IT strategy is best-suited to the challenges of the 21st century."

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