The Internet could have been purpose-built for New Zealand. As a small country, we can now have our voices heard on a global stage, and our ‘micro-multinationals’ can operate from here and sell to markets all around the world. But the Internet is much more than a great way of connecting us with the rest of the world.
It can also fundamentally transform how business is done in New Zealand, in industries from retail to tourism to farming. Research released yesterday by the Innovation Partnership* shows that everyday Kiwi businesses that extensively use internet services are six per cent more productive than average businesses in their industry.
To put this in perspective, average productivity growth in New Zealand has been around 1.5 percent in recent years - meaning these internet power users are four years ahead of their competitors.
The research – funded by Partnership members Internet New Zealand and Google, and conducted by Sapere Research Group – also showed that if all our businesses made more use of the internet, it could add $34 billion to the New Zealand economy. You can download the full report here.
It’s all very well to talk about making more use of the web, but it’s sometimes tough to know where to start.
The report also takes a close look at how businesses in tourism, retail, agriculture and business services are getting on – and has put together four case studies that might give small business owners a few ideas on how to get started. From retailers Crane Brothers, to tourism operators Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park,to the Livestock Improvement Corporation in the agricultural sector, to services business Cloud Accountants, these Kiwi businesses are showing the way.
Another tool launched this week to help businesses make the most of the Internet is Digital Journey. Developed by the Digital Office with funding from Internet New Zealand and Google.
In the time it takes to make a cup of tea, a small business owner can do a ‘digital health check’ of their own business. Digital Journey then provides a digital action plan with clear steps to take to harness the potential of the internet, and once the assessment is completed, businesses can check back in to update where they are at and look for the next actions in their plan.
We hope that the research, case studies, and tools, will help more Kiwi businesses take their next steps in growing their own —and New Zealand’s — internet-driven productivity.
Ross Young is the public policy manager for Google New Zealand.
*The Innovation Partnership is a group of organisations dedicated to New Zealand becoming a world-leader in using the Internet to drive business growth, public sector excellence, and educational achievement. Google is a founding member.