Technological Change: How Well Prepared Is Your Business?


A recent survey by MYOB to mark Techweek NZ has highlighted just how ill prepared Kiwi businesses are for technological advancement. In fact, MYOB’s chief technical adviser, Simon Raik-Allen, is urging Kiwi companies to be better prepared for a future workplace where machines will be completing many of the jobs we do today.

Survey results

MYOB’s survey reveals that two-thirds of respondents are adopting a wait and see approach to technological change. Even though 44 percent believed that the nature of their industry will be significantly changed by technology in the next 10 years, it seems as though few businesses are anticipating and actively preparing for these changes.

The survey’s respondents identified the following areas of technology as being the key drivers of change:

  • improvements in connectivity
  • cloud computing
  • the internet of things
  • robotics
  • machine learning
  • 3D printing
  • big data.

And the industries that anticipated being most affected by advancement in technology included the following:

  • finance and insurance (58 percent)
  • professional sector (50 percent)
  • exporters (52 percent)
  • tourism (50 percent).

And when it comes to the barriers that businesses face in responding to innovation, the survey identified the following key factors:

  • the costs involved in developing or introducing the innovation
  • too much Government regulation
  • not enough time to innovate
  • my business doesn’t need to innovate
  • shortage of skilled personnel.

How should businesses prepare themselves?

Simon Raik-Allen cautions that many New Zealand businesses do not naturally see themselves as being early adopters or fast followers of new innovations and technologies. And that mind set needs to change if Kiwi companies are to remain competitive. And so whether it’s investing in research and development or recruiting additional skilled personnel, businesses need to attach more priority to keeping up with technology than they currently do.

We can already anticipate the possible future world of work with innovations such as the Chinese-made robot that is capable of undertaking surgical procedures which was on display at last year’s World Robot Conference, or the tremendous advances in 3D printing that are already having a profound impact on the construction industry.

The reality is that when it comes to technology nothing stays the same. And MYOB’s survey results clearly demonstrate that New Zealand businesses are perhaps not as well equipped as they should be to respond to the inevitable advances. And so the more New Zealand businesses can do to anticipate technological change, the better the chances are that they will remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.