New Zealand lacks Web vision, IDC says

More than a quarter of New Zealand CIOs say corporate vision - or the lack of it - is an obstacle to Internet exploitation. It's rated the third-highest problem after security and lack of in-house skills, both here and in Australia.

IDC InTEP program manager Peter Hind highlighted the issue at IDC's annual Directions briefing on the state of IT in New Zealand.

"Executive feet are not on the ground with e-commerce," Hind says. "And once the false e-commerce promises materialise, the CIO will be the scapegoat for the gullibility of the business."

New Zealand companies use the Internet mostly for supporting clients rather than for online trade, a survey conducted by Hind shows. There were 476 CIO respondents to the Australasian survey, around one quarter from New Zealand, which is clearly lagging Australia in some important areas.

A total of 77 per cent of Australian companies surveyed have home pages, but just 56 per cent in NZ. In Australia, 50 per cent of corporate PCs have access to the Web, but only 30 per cent in NZ.

"You can't do business-to-business without Web access," Hind says.

However, use in all parts of the business of the Internet has doubled over the past four years. Customer relationship management (CRM) has been one of the buzz phrases of the past year, but IDC's survey shows the uptake has been static compared to growth in other business intelligence technologies such as data warehousing, document management and business tools.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) has grown 25 per cent in the past year - Australia was static - but the big growth was in supply chain management, which was up 142 per cent. NZ use of mobile technologies has been flat compared with solid growth in Australia.In Australia, the number one problem is the impending goods and service tax, which Hind says should be an opportunity for New Zealand vendors.

New Zealand CIOs rate their top challenges as (Australian ratings in parentheses):

1. Aligning IT to the business (2)

2. Reducing cost (5)

3. Meeting user expectations (4)

4. Connecting to partners electronically (3) 5. Keeping abreast of technology (8) 6. Recruiting and retaining staff (9) 7. Migrating to new hardware/software platforms (6) 8. Developing effective IS investment cases (7) 9. Organising and utilising data (14) 10. Systems development quality (16) 11. Change management (11) 12. Effective desktop management (12)

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