Growing the digital economy and maximising opportunities for SMEs in NZ.

There’s a new joint research project on the trans-Tasman use of digital technology and the benefits for SMEs in both Australia and New Zealand.

Given the continual development in digital offerings and the economic relationship between Australia and New Zealand, both countries’ PMs decided that they would commission an enquiry into the opportunities ‘arising from digital transformation’. The emphasis in the terms of reference is on ‘opportunities for small to medium sized enterprises (SMES) to make full use of the trans-Tasman economic integration’.

But what kind of returns can NZ SMEs expect to see on the investment into technology and making better use of the digital economy?

According to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), New Zealand stands to have a $34b estimated productivity impact if all NZ businesses made better use of the internet. Let’s not forget that SMEs make up 97% of all business in New Zealand!

MBIE was also keen to highlight the change technology has had on Kiwis’ lives. 82% of Kiwis’ owned a smart device in 2017 (compared to 13% back in 2011) and spent around 47 hours on average each week using a device, in 2016. That’s an astonishing amount of time.

As part of a paper released on ‘building a digital nation’ MBIE also said, ‘international research shows SMEs that are highly digitally engaged have 20% higher revenues, faster growth and stronger job growth than firms that are less digitally engaged’.

SMEs can also expect a step-change when it comes to creating a skilled workforce that responds to changing needs’ and inevitably with any progress, compliance, rules and regulations will be ‘updated to support technological innovation.’

Between now and 2025 the NZ Government want to lead by example with how digital channels can potentially improve communication, productivity, provision of services, competitive advantage and create additional employment, nationally.

The Productivity Commissions of Australia and New Zealand started to research this month and full report findings and recommendations are due to be published in February 2019.

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