Are local businesses prepared for the “age of change”?

22 Jun 2017

* 40 per cent of all SMEs expect to see significant disruption in the next 10 years

* Workers in finance and insurance expect their industry to be impacted the most


Although well used to the notion of disruption, Australian businesses may not be prepared to face the total transformation of business coming in the next two decades, according to the latest MYOB Future of Business Report: The Age of Change.

The company’s latest nationwide research found that 40 per cent of local business operators believe the nature of their industry will be significantly changed by technology in the next 10 years. Just 17 per cent of local business operators anticipate no technology-driven change over that period.

MYOB Chief Technical Advisor and Futurist, Simon Raik-Allen, who authored the latest report in MYOB’s Future of Business series, says although businesses are expecting technology-driven change to come quickly, it’s less clear how well prepared they’ll be for it.

“With the advent of the information age, we’ve been living with the concept of constant change in business for more than two decades,” says Simon Raik-Allen.

“Businesses have – in the main – accepted that and can plan for it. What they may not be ready for is the next stage. Technology isn’t just about to disrupt certain industries. It is poised to change the way we perceive and interact with the world.”

According to the report, the business operators who believe their industries are most likely to be transformed by technology work in finance and insurance (53 per cent), manufacturing and wholesale (44 per cent), retail and hospitality (43 per cent) or are part of the tourism industry (42 per cent). Even in the country’s rural sector, only 13 per cent of business operators are not expecting to see any change in the next decade.

The key trends that business operators expect will alter their industry cover a broad range of technologies, from improvements in connectivity and cloud computing, to robotics and machine learning.

Mr Raik-Allen says in a short a time as five years, many businesses will face complete transformation.

“Take for example, the construction industry,” says Mr Raik-Allen. “In Australia, just 36 per cent of construction and trades business owners believe the nature of their industry will be significantly changed by technology in the next ten years. Yet, with the latest advances in machine intelligence and 3D printing, it is an area that is ripe for transformation.”

“We’re already seeing modular construction begin to transform the way homes are designed and built. It is a short step from there to having buildings 3D printed right on site, or created and packaged at a single factory, and delivered by an autonomous vehicle before being assembled by robots.”

Mr Raik-Allen says the issue in the local market is that, although Australian business operators can imagine the possibility of change, many are currently struggling to keep up with technology.

“Few local businesses see themselves as early adopters or fast followers of newly introduced innovations – most tend to wait until they are widely adopted, putting themselves behind the curve,” he says.

“They also see many barriers to innovation – from costs and red tape to a shortage of skilled staff – which will restrict how prepared businesses are to manage the technological changes we’ll see over the next decade.”


In your opinion, what are the barriers your business faces when it comes to innovation?

Cost to develop or introduce

27%

Too much Government regulation

22%

Not enough time to innovate

19%

Shortage of skilled personnel

16%

Lack of Government support

13%

Lack of R&D funding

8%

No barriers affect my business when it comes to innovation

15%

My business does not require innovation

18%

Source: MYOB Business Monitor, April 2017

 

“But in a world where a robot tractor can plough a field and repair a fence line, a robotic plumber can fix your toilet, a drone can deliver a coffee made by an automatic barista, AI can scan and approve a contract and a holographic projector can let you visit any place in the world, what place is there for a business that delivers any of these services today?” says Simon Raik-Allen.

“Even though the details of the disruption each business will face is – as yet – unknown, the best predictor for long term success is the ability of a business operator to recognise the potential for change and move quickly to respond.”

“And technology too may hold the key. If you find yourself working in an industry that no longer offers a role for someone with your skills and experience, you’ll be able to download the neural training package from the brain store, plug it in and congratulations, you’re now a lawyer!”

The report, MYOB Future of Business: The Age of Change is available for download now.

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For further comment or other information please contact:

Lia Pacquola, MYOB Head of Public Relations & Corporate Communications
M: 0438 560 608/ E: Lia.Pacquola@myob.com

Georgia Colahan, Ogilvy Public Relations
M: 0432 882 080 / E: Georgia.Colahan@ogilvy.com.au


About MYOB

MYOB Group Ltd (ASX: MYO) is a leading cloud based business management solutions provider. It makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and in 2015 was awarded the BRW award for the most innovative large company for 500+ employees and placed 2nd in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Award list across all categories nationally.  For more information, visit http://investors.myob.com.au/Investors or follow @MYOB on Twitter.


About the MYOB Business Monitor

After six years of conducting the MYOB Small Business Survey we've enhanced it to better reflect the profile of Australian businesses. We've now incorporated medium businesses, along with the sole traders and small businesses that were already part of the survey. We're pleased to present the new look MYOB Business Monitor.
The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of over 1000 Australia's business owners (and directors) conducted twice a year by Colmar Brunton.