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New Zealand’s ICT toolkit to boost use of digital tech

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has been running a pilot project in order to encourage small businesses to increase their use of digital technologies, according to a recent press release.

Developing the pilot programme

This initiative is addressing the issue that many small enterprises in the country are not taking advantage of the wide range of information and communication technologies (ICT) available to them, and the ways that ICT can improve their business.

All New Zealand businesses should be secure, resilient and thriving online so they can run their businesses more efficiently, grow, innovate and compete as customer preferences increasingly ‘go digital’.

It was discovered from a research done by the Ministry in 2017 that the businesses with greater understanding and high use of ICT were 6% more like to increase their productivity than firms with low use.

The Ministry’s Digital Economy team partnered with industry associations and business advisers in order to develop a pilot programme to help increase the productivity of small Kiwi businesses.

The Acting Manager of the Ministry’s Digital Economy team explained that and important aspect of this work has been approaching it from a “behaviour change” perspective.

In order to do so, they answer the question, “How can we best help and encourage businesses to adapt?”

Findings of the pilot

The first phase of the pilot found that small businesses tend to adopt one of four personas, which reflects the mindset of a business, level of engagement and investment in digital technology, among other factors.

Moreover, it identified that small businesses trust certain people to help them make decisions on their digital development. This includes their industry association, their business adviser or their accountant.

Understanding the persona, priorities and attitudes of a business makes it easier for trusted intermediaries and advisors to tailor recommendations for that business.

The toolkit

The toolkit, which was developed, can be used by the ‘trusted intermediaries’ to run effective events so that the use of ICT of small businesses will increase and push for greater digital uptake.

The toolkit contains a plethora of useful features. These are:

  1. Case studies from successful and digital-savvy small businesses
  2. Descriptions of the four digital personas
  3. A map of the steps a small business goes through in their digital development
  4. Other practical checklists and templates.

There is continuous work tourism, construction and arable farming sector partners to progress sector-specific digital opportunities identified in the pilot.

This includes the demonstration arable farm, where the Ministry is partnering with industry to demonstrate the impact of using digital tools such as water and nutrient sensors and data analytics on arable farming operations.

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