EMC: Why NZ business leaders “are not ready for digital future”

“The ability to spot new opportunities and innovate in an agile way will be critical for any business.”

Whether we’re working, keeping fit, learning, playing, purchasing online or watching TV, we are making new digital demands of the businesses with which we deal.

A new EMC study, The Information Generation: Transforming The Future, Today, explores the impact of a growing global community of digital citizens.

These individuals are always connected and engaged online, and have the world’s information at their fingertips. They also view the world very differently.

Based on input from 3,600 Director-to-C-Suite business leaders across 18 countries, the study reveals new expectations of these individuals and identifies the fundamental business attributes critical for organisations to successfully compete and thrive in this new landscape.

Not surprisingly, nearly every (96%) business leader surveyed believes new technologies have forever changed the rules of business.

In addition, 93% reported that recent technology advancements are resetting customer expectations, and nearly all say this will accelerate over the next decade.

Meanwhile, the top reported customer expectations are faster access to services, 24/7 and “everywhere” access and connectivity, access on more devices, and a more unique personalised experience.

“New Zealand businesses recognise the opportunities created by turning customer-driven data into useful insights,” says Arron Patterson, Chief Technology Officer, EMC New Zealand.

“However whether we’re using all the information presented to us the best way we can is another question.

“Companies that can adapt to the evolving demands of consumers will keep up with the pace of the Information Generation.

“The ability to spot new opportunities and innovate in an agile way will be critical for any business.”

According to Patterson, cloud computing is already “paving the way” for some and real-time, data driven decisions have become the norm for these organisations.

“New technologies will continue to modify the ‘Information Generation’ expectations over the next decade and businesses across New Zealand will need to transform to meet these demands through the use of cloud,” he adds.


Due to new Information Generation-driven demands, businesses agree that transformation is critical. To be a disruptor – and not disrupted – business leaders have identified five “make-or-break” business attributes, all of which have information at their core:

1. Predictively spot new opportunities in markets

2. Demonstrate transparency and trust

3. Innovate in agile ways

4. Deliver unique and personalised experiences

5. Operate in real time

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While business leaders agree these attributes are high priority, they admitted that very few have thoroughly embodied them.

Specifically, when asked whether they address these attributes both very well and company-wide, only 12% said they can predictively spot new opportunities, 9% innovate in agile ways, 14% demonstrate transparency and trust, 11% deliver personalised experience, and 12% operate in real-time.

“The Information Generation is demanding more from the organisations they interact with,” says David Goulden, CEO, EMC Information Infrastructure.

“Businesses ‘born of the cloud’ are driving this shift in expectations, and mature businesses must redefine themselves to adapt and remain relevant.”

In addition, by 2020 more than 7 billion people on at least 30 billion devices will have created 44 zettabytes of data (or 44 trillion gigabytes), according to Gartner and IDC respectively.

This is rapidly leading to a world in which nearly every element of life will be data-driven. While businesses know they can get value from this data, 49% admit to not knowing how to turn all of their data into actionable information.

This includes:

· Even though 70% say they can gain insights from data, only 30% are always on and able to act upon their information in real time, and are unable to achieve this very well and company-wide

· 52% admit they do not use their data effectively or are drowning in information overload

· Only 24% consider themselves “very good” at turning data into useful insights and information

While companies brace and prepare to meet evolving customer expectations, the world is evolving at an equally rapid pace.

As a result, the Institute For The Future has forecasted major macro shifts in how technology will continue transforming the world by 2024.

There are strong signals of a move toward a world in which nearly every element of life will be data-driven. Individuals and corporations will sell, donate and trade information on open exchanges.

Inanimate objects will spring to life all around us, becoming more aware, responsive and connected. Decision-making will be enhanced by artificial intelligence in ways never seen before. Information will be communicated and absorbed through multiple human senses.

Customers will be able to better control their own privacy through new tools. In this new world order, value will shift from products and services to the information they generate.

“Our mission is to provide practical foresight for a world undergoing rapid change – and to help turn insights into action,” says Rachel Maguire, Research Director, Institute for the Future.

“It’s critical that we systematically explore the longer-term implications of an age in which information is at the centre of everything we do, continually re-conditioning us in ways we still have yet to imagine.

“The world’s most information-savvy organisations – if they ready themselves – will lead one of the most significant transformations in history.”