What are the two key barriers preventing NZ SMEs from embracing tech changes?

"The latest innovations - from the cloud, to business intelligence - are transforming the way we do business."

Almost 60 percent of New Zealand’s small to medium-sized enterprises say the pace of technology development is ‘about right’, but cost, government regulation and finding the right staff are making it harder to get the full benefit of innovation.

That’s according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor survey, which also claims that almost half (47 per cent) of the more than 1,000 SME business operators interviewed for the survey have acquired new computer hardware or software in the last year.

Yet perhaps more tellingly, 33 per cent report cost as a major barrier to adopting technological innovation, 19 per cent are concerned government regulation is holding them back, and 12 per cent cite a lack of appropriately skilled staff.

Most respondents in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are comfortable with the pace of change.

However, 21 per cent of business operators outside of the main centres feel they are struggling to keep up with the latest innovations in technology.

Business operators in the transport and logistics industry (26 per cent), the agriculture sector (23 per cent) and manufacturing and wholesale (21 per cent) are also more likely to feel technology is changing too fast.

MYOB New Zealand CEO Tim Reed says keeping pace with rapidly changing technology is ‘the new normal’ for businesses, which stand to gain considerable benefits from the latest innovations.

“The latest innovations - from the cloud, to business intelligence - are transforming the way we do business,” he says.

“While it can take some effort to keep pace with emerging and evolving technologies - especially if they are not yet commonplace in your sector - it is worth the investment.

Read more: Prepare for the rise of the augmented human: Futurist Simon Raik-Allen

“The benefits include improved productivity and efficiency, greater ability to reach and interact with new customers, and having access to real-time information to support better decision making.”

Satisfaction levels

Reed says one of the keys to business adoption of technology is good quality internet access at a fair price.

“Access to the internet has become one of the essential resources for modern business - something that needs to be continually addressed at a national level,” he adds.

Satisfaction with internet access (speed and reliability) has slipped in the latest MYOB Business Monitor, from 49 per cent in March 2015 to 40 per cent in September - levels of dissatisfaction have also climbed from 29 per cent to 34 per cent.

Businesses in the Hawkes Bay (41 per cent) and Waikato (40 per cent) are most unhappy with their internet access, while the Manuwatu/Wanganui region has the highest level of satisfaction (48 per cent).

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