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Pandemic accelerates New Zealand business digitalisation 40 times faster

The world has seen rapid acceleration to technology adaptation and migration to the digital space all because of the limitations brought by the on-going pandemic. In New Zealand, five years of worth of advances in the digital transformation of businesses has occurred in eight weeks, due to COVID-19. This is the key finding of a new report by a New Zealand tech company. Also, the report finds that digital or digitally enabled products accelerated by seven years during that time frame.

Furthermore, this growth looks set to continue with findings showing that just a 20% increase in uptake of cloud computing by small to medium businesses will result in increased GDP of between NZ $3.5 billion and NZ $6.2 billion. One of the obvious reasons behind this trend is that businesses have had to provide the ability for employees to work remotely, the tech company states.

Reports indicate companies moved 40 times more quickly than they thought possible before the pandemic due to digital acceleration. With this situation repeatedly arising as Auckland has endured further snap lockdowns, and the rest of the country has moved between COVID alert levels 1 and 2, the need for remote working is still a pressing issue.

The CEO of the tech company says unprecedented momentum in the technology sector caused the high growth already underway in the industry to skyrocket, as tech businesses responded and mobilised in a variety of ways to deliver solutions to keep Kiwi businesses open for business through lockdowns, restrictions, and uncertainty. According to him, these changes and digital transformations have been empowered by innovations from the tech sector.

The CEO added that NZ tech companies have implemented an array of solutions and support. The tech sector has come together through COVID-19, and not only supported each other but provided critical advice and information to many Kiwi businesses. Retail was supported with e-commerce offerings, while the hospitality industry was effectively revolutionised by remote food ordering software that allowed businesses to open that would not have been able to meet restriction requirements or demand otherwise. As they have seen with further lockdowns in Auckland recently, this continues to be vital.

The company says other examples of support from the tech sector include online digital marketing offerings, innovating new technological products to help the most hard-hit industries and even supporting mental health via app technology. Support is important for the country’s small businesses, and not only by the tech sector but the government, they added.

Accordingly, the New Zealand Government recently announced an NZ $20 million Small Business Initiative for new training and tools for digital commerce, which will in turn help boost the economy. Tech companies believe that both the sector and the government realise that technology is an incredibly important way to help stimulate economic growth, and it applies to Kiwi businesses across many industries.

However, as reported by OpenGov Asia, with the country’s rapid migration to the digital space, unfortunately, for some organisations, the shift came at a cost. According to a report, hundreds of the country’s businesses with online capabilities are now losing money to cyber-criminals. In the third quarter of last year, 281 Kiwis’ businesses reported cybersecurity breaches and many others are likely to have suffered the same fate, without reporting it. The average direct financial loss for small to medium businesses is still small, only a few thousand dollars, so, it often goes unreported.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade asserted that the country’s dependence upon cyberspace means that securing their networks, systems, programmes and data from attacks or unwanted access is of vital and of increasing importance.

Ministry also said that the country is a champion of the international rules-based order and free, open, and secure internet. The application of international law to state activity online is a critical component of the framework of responsible state behaviour in the digital space. It is essential for maintaining international peace and stability.

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