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Smart tech = greater confidence?

22 Mar 2013

Kiwi businesses feel more positive about their future if they embrace new technology, suggesting a shift in attitude among New Zealanders.

A major survey of over 1,000 Kiwi businesses, commissioned by The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery as part of their BizRewards programme, searched for views about technology, office environments, growth prospects and common business issues.

“This major survey has given us a very clear snapshot of the mood of these businesses which form the backbone of our economy," says Mark Powell, CEO, The Warehouse. "We’ve looked at their attitudes to technology, staff retention, office environment and prospects for growth."

With tax time approaching and financial year end for most businesses, many purchase office equipment including bigger ticket items such as computers, thereby starting the new financial year with less cost.

“These findings enable us to further enhance the support we provide to tens of thousands of businesses through our BizRewards programme - which ensures Kiwi companies get the maximum benefit from their investment,” Powell says.

The survey shows the most popular items of technology are desktop computers (65%), laptops (57%), desk phones (57%) and smartphones (46%) while computers (33%), tablets (22%) and smartphones (20%) are the items people would most like to upgrade.

Interestingly, those that use tablets regularly at work are more optimistic about their businesses growing than those who don’t.

“That may well be because the connectivity offered by tablets enables productivity to increase, with staff having the ability to work anywhere rather than being tied to a desk,” Powell says.

“The pace of change has been so rapid since the internet kicked off in New Zealand 20 years ago and shows more than ever the need for ultra-fast broadband to be completed nationwide as fast as possible, particularly in rural areas.

“Up-to-date technology and office equipment are crucial for business success and it’s also important to have a quality environment to work in, particularly if you want to keep good staff."

Other findings from the survey show:

- Northland businesses are the highest users of tablets (35%), possibly because location and distance require them to be mobile and connected. They’re followed by Auckland (29%) and Manawatu/Wanganui (25%).

- Southland businesses are the lowest users of tablets (5%) but are most likely to want to upgrade their technology. Canterbury is also low for tablet use (12%) as is the Bay Of Plenty (15%).

- West Coast, Northland and Southland are happiest with their office decor with those in Otago and Taranaki are the least happy.

- Half the businesses surveyed said they felt their business would be held back in some way if they didn’t upgrade their technology this year.

- A worrying 48% expected their business to decline in 2013.

- Industries most likely to have problems locating paperwork due to disorganised offices are science and technology (75%), accounting (65%) and customer service (60%). The tidiest were in media, logistics and IT.

- Most businesses (58%) prefer to buy new equipment in store, rather than online.

The areas SMEs would like to improve on in the next year are managing cash flow (44%), networking more (39%), accessing new technology (38%) and retaining staff (18%).

They see their key issues for 2013 as being increasing sales (33%), maintaining profit margins (32%) and attracting and keeping good staff (12%).

Does new technology equal greater business confidence? Tell us your thoughts below