Most of us understand that the Internet is a powerful tool for businesses. An international study across 12 countries found that businesses who use web technologies experienced a revenue growth twice that of those who don’t(1). Yet, almost half of kiwi SMEs (47%) don’t have any online presence(2).
The ‘average’ kiwi business is not making the most of the Internet and it’s hurting our economy. Of the $2.8 billion that kiwis spent with retailers in the past year, 30% went to overseas companies(3). Research released this year by the Innovation Partnership states that if Kiwi businesses made better use of the Internet it could add $34 billion to the our economy(4).
To help our businesses make the most of this opportunity a not-for-profit organisation, The Digital Office, has set up a Digital Growth Programme. This programme is designed to provide kiwi companies with the skills to grow their business through the use of online technologies.
One of the key offerings of the Digital Growth Programme is Digital Journey, a free interactive online assessment (www.digitaljourney.nz). Digital Journey identifies a business’ current use of online technology and provides a personalised action plan to enable them to improve their use of the Internet and web technologies. To date, over 1,000 organisations have been through Digital Journey.
The other real plus about Digital Journey is that it assesses your digital maturity and provides businesses with a view on how well they are using the Internet when compared to others. This is a powerful dataset that can be used to measure how well we use the Internet today and in the future. The figure today is 39.8%; that is our digital maturity and the higher the percentage gets the more digitally aware and embracing our businesses are. Digital Office has also produced digital stats on which region has the strongest digital maturity and which industry sector leads the way – check out: http://www.digitaloffice.co.nz/#!Digital-Office-Digital-Maturity-Report/cibe/6CAB7F3D-C327-4307-AAE9-C45BDA7965B6 to see how your region or sector shapes up.
More than half a million households, businesses, schools and health centres are now able to connect to the Government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband network, which continues to rollout ahead of schedule. This is all well and good but the key measure of the government’s success here is an increase in digital maturity. We all are on the same page here: being more digitally aware is essential for our economy to grow and for our businesses to compete on a world-stage.
We have a Not for Profit taking on this challenge which we all need to support and be thankful for, But what is needed is a concerted effort to increase our digital maturity. 39.8% isn’t good enough.
Digital Journey is available at www.digitaljourney.nz and it has been developed by the Digital Office www.digitaloffice.co.nz
The Digital Office
 McKinsey Global Institute (2011). Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs, and prosperity. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/internet_matters
 MYOB (2014). The state of the digital nation – An MYOB Business Monitor Special Report, October 2014.
 BNZ (2014). BNZ Online Retail Sales Report – Quarterly in-depth update and sales for October 2014. Retrieved from https://www.bnz.co.nz/static/www/docs/retail-sales-index/or2014-11.pdf
 Glass, H., Davies, P., Hefter, E. and Blick, G. (March 2014). The value of internet services to New Zealand businesses. Retrieved from