MYOB Business Monitor 1st quarter 2013
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Cloud computing take-up still low
The proportion of businesses stating they used cloud computing has remained constant at an average of 16%. This question was asked for the first time in the previous survey.
There were some significant differences within business categories, such as:
• Franchisors (54%) and franchisees (28%)
• Businesses whose revenue was up in the last 12 months (29%)
• Businesses with a website (28% compared to only 8% of businesses without)
• Business, professional and property services (27% compared to 9% of construction and trades)
• Importers (26%) and exporters (31%)
• Small businesses (25% compared to 14% of micro businesses and sole operators)
• Start-ups (24%) and establishing businesses (26%) compared to 9% of established businesses
• Businesses mainly working outside of the business (22%) compared to 10% of those only working from the business premises
• Gen X business operators (20% compared to 11% of baby boomers)
The most common reason why businesses used cloud computing was the ability to access data from whatever location they wanted (52%), followed by it enabling team members to telework (36%) and allowing better data security (30%).
The survey also found the financial chasm between the online-savvy and the online-cautious is widening. Those who use the cloud were 106% more likely to see a revenue rise in the past year than those who don’t, up on 53% in the prior report.
Business operators were asked what tasks they used cloud computing for. These tasks are shown opposite.
The most frequently mentioned were:
• File sharing
• File back-up
• File storage
• Online banking
Business operators who were not currently using cloud computing were asked their reasons for not doing so. Overall, the key issue was a lack of knowledge (35%).
Western Australia was the only state where business operators did not place this issue first. For them, the biggest barrier was not being tech savvy enough.
Business website ownership steady but low
The proportion of businesses with a website has remained statistically constant since March 2011. The February 2013 survey found 38% had a website, but size of business was a significant factor. Sole operators (29%) were less likely to have one than those with more than five employees (64%).
In the same vein, Traditionalists were less likely to have a website than Gen Y (24% compared to 48%). Businesses with a revenue rise in the preceding 12 months were more likely to have a website (48%) as were establishing businesses (46% compared to 27% of established businesses). Importers (64%) and exporters (58%), franchisees and franchisors (58% each), businesses using cloud accounting (67%) and businesses with an advisor/consulting relationship with their accountant(45%) were also more likely to have a website.
Key industry differences with website ownership are shown in the table below. While business operators in the business, professional and property services sector were much more likely to have a website, finance and insurance and construction and trades businesses lagged.
When asked which of a number of business changes had occurred through having a business website or through using that plus other promotional media, Australian businesses said a web presence alone had:
• Increased their customer leads – 45%
• Made them more able to vie with competitors – 42%
• Increased their customer interaction – 40%
• Resulted in a better conversion rate for sales leads – 37%
• Increased their revenue – 36%
• Enabled them to enter new business locations – 35%
Interestingly, Gen Y operators were more likely to say they had increased all of the above through other promotional media rather than websites.
Business operators were also asked about the online business tools they use. Almost half accepted online payments from customers via internet banking, while nearly one third purchased products and services online. Other online payment formats (shopping cart, mobile app, etc) were a small minority.
In terms of technology, almost half the business operators reported they were using one or more smartphones in the business, and just over one quarter reported they used one or more tablet devices.
Online marketing tools were also popular, with almost one quarter of business operators stating they used internet search engines and email marketing for their business.
The table on the following page shows the online tools used by industry type. Retail and hospitality business operators were much more likely to be using these tools, particularly compared to construction and trades businesses.
While it could be expected that Traditionalists were less likely to be using the majority of online tools than their Gen X and Gen Y counterparts, they were in fact more likely to use internet banking to receive payments (60% nominated this option).
Gen Y business operators were more likely to use mobile shopping carts and apps to receive payment (23% and 21% respectively).
Selling products online either via their own website or via eBay was also more prevalent among Gen Y business operators (23% and 22% respectively), and Gen Y business operators were much more likely to use social media (30%).
One in five connected to National Broadband Network
Fewer than one in five businesses (18%) stated they were connected to the National Broadband Network. Interestingly, there were no statistically significant differences by state or rural/metropolitan locations. Gen Y (34%), start-ups (26%) and Gen X (24%) business operators were more likely than their peers to state they were connected. Businesses using cloud computing were also more likely to be connected to the NBN (33%).
Over half were satisfied with internet access
58% operators said they were either very satisfied (16%) or quite satisfied (42%) with their internet access (i.e. speed, reliability) in terms of enabling business health and ability to grow. However, there were some differences:
• Businesses connected to the NBN were more satisfied with their internet connection (68%) than businesses not connected to the NBN (56%).
• Businesses in transport, postal and warehousing were more satisfied (72%) than those in agribusiness, forestry and fishing (44%).
• Metropolitan based business operators were more satisfied (63%) than their rural counterparts (47%).
• Gen Y business operators were also more satisfied (68%) than other business operators.
Telecommunications bundling more common than not
Over one in three (37%) were bundling internet, landline and mobile, while a further 34% were bundling internet and landline only. Over one in five (22%) did not currently bundle any of their telecommunication services. Traditionalists (45%) and regional business operators (42%) were more likely to bundle internet and landline, while rural business operators were more likely not to bundle any of their telecommunication services (29%).
About the study
The MYOB Business Monitor researches business performance and attitudes regarding areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline work, technology usage and the government. This report presents the summary findings for key indicators from the MYOB Business Monitor comprising a national sample of 1,005 business owners, managers and directors (operators), conducted from January 17th to February 4th 2013. The businesses participating in the online survey were both non-employing and employing businesses. All data has been weighted by industry type, location and number of employees, which are in line with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS – Counts of Australian businesses, including entries & exits, June 2007 – June 2009 – 8165.0).
This research report was prepared by Gundabluey Research and fieldwork was completed by Colmar Brunton (a Millward Brown Company) for Kristy Sheppard, Public Relations & Corporate Affairs Manager – Australia,
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