When Technology Makes a Difference

Steve Knutson, Managing Director

One-Third of SMEs say Technology has had no Impact

According to a recent Westpac business survey, many New Zealand SMEs say technology had no impact on their business.

Nearly one third of New Zealand small and medium sized enterprises say digital technology has had no impact on their business over the past five years and 27 percent don’t expect it to in the next five years.

“This doesn’t surprise me at all,"  said Steve Knutson, Stratos’ Managing Director.

"A huge amount of money is spent on IT in a way that gives little real improvement to the bottom line. Many businesses see IT as a cost rather than looking at it as a business enabler and focus on keeping up rather than leaping ahead."

"Take industries with steadily increasing compliance requirements. Technology in many cases helps them keep on top of the compliance but doesn't impact the bottom line, but it does help keep their head above water."

“Another example is upgrading from older versions of Microsoft Office to the latest version. For many small businesses the IT investment is in upgrading to keep current but they don't take advantage of new features and capabilities to see any real productivity improvement.”

"Changing the tools doesn’t improve productivity..."

"Writing a letter or working with a spreadsheet in either version will give you the same result. Changing the tools doesn’t improve productivity, it is improving the process that does. I meet a lot of people who don’t understand that.”

"Mobility, web and cloud technologies provide SME's with access to tools that were once only found in large businesses. For example, solutions for taking bookings online, streamlining quoting processes, reducing errors and managing workloads, provide a means for improving the bottom line."

"...it is changing the process that does"

“Some of our customers have probably fallen into this gap – they have moved from Google Docs to Office 365. Will this improve the bottom line? Probably not or if it does, only by a very small amount. If they use the new tools to improve business processes, they could see a gain in productivity – the key thing is “if”.”

Other businesses have used technology to improve their work processes substantially. They think differently to the earlier group and that’s the difference between those who will see gains and those who won’t.”

"A good example is Smart Systems, an electrical contracting company that does electrical fit outs for residential and commercial clients.  The software application we developed for them really transformed their work processes, delivered a lot of efficiencies and reduced costly errors."

"Lots of people come to talk to us about how technologies can change their business processes to enable these kinds of gains."

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