Financial services firms are laggards online

Income from Internet orders across all sectors hits $246 billion, according to ABS data

Many financial services firms are still not transacting online, despite rapid changes in the sector, including the development of Internet banking.

This is a key finding in an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, which discovered that only 19 per cent of financial services businesses received orders over the Web in 2012-13.

This compared to an average of 30 per cent across all sectors with income from these orders hitting $246 billion, up by almost $10 billion in 2011-12, the ABS said.

More than half (52 per cent) of companies in information media and telecommunications received orders over the Internet, 48 per cent in manufacturing, 50 per cent in wholesale trade, and 38 per cent in retail, the ABS said.

Karen De Angelis, an executive director at IT firm DST Bluedoor, said the financial services sector needs to lift its game and conduct more of its processes online.

Read more: Australian businesses invest $3.19 billion in software Q1 2014: ABS

“Given the new SuperStream initiatives, which are being introduced from July this year and aimed at improving the efficiency of back-office operations, we expect to see an increase in online business-to-business processing.

“The most successful financial services firms in the future will be those who innovate and invest in IT to meet the quickly evolving needs of their customers.”

Between 2011 and 2013, most key indicators of business use of IT have increased, the ABS report said.

The greatest change was in the proportion of businesses with a social media presence, which increased from 18 per cent in 2011 to 26 per cent in 2013, the ABS said. Social media included blogs and micro-blogs such as Twitter, content communities like YouTube, and sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of businesses in the arts and recreation services had a social media presence, followed by information media and telecommunications at 50 per cent. Only 6 per cent of companies in the transport, postal and warehousing industry had a social media presence, the report said.

Finally, almost all (99 per cent) of Australian businesses in wholesale trade, IT and telecommunications, and financial and insurance services sectors had Internet access.

In contrast, only 74 per cent of companies in the accommodation and food services industries had Internet access, the ABS said.

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