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Technology key to success for Aussie businesses following COVID-19

Businesses in Australia are feeling increasing pressure to stay ahead of their competition, following the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains and growth trajectories.

This is according to Epicor Software Corporation’s 2020 Global Growth Index, which focuses on how business leaders are using technology to support and drive growth initiatives.

The index looks at the constantly changing state of growth in the manufacturing, distribution, retail and eCommerce industries along with what trends impact the bottom line.

The report’s findings show that companies are embracing technologies to offset the impacts of global volatility, such as COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions.

The report found that Australian respondents are feeling increasing competitiveness, with most companies using excellent customer service (42%) and big data analytics (47%) to increase competitiveness.

Data analytics had already been in use for between one and five years for two-thirds of Australian respondents, and 92% said big data is driving business growth.

The report also highlighted impacts on business growth in the coming year. It found the China-US trade dispute/tariffs (30%), environmental challenges (32%) and COVID-19 (66%) are most likely to negatively impact business growth over the coming year for Australian respondents.

Positive influences on business growth include planning and strategy (40%), technology and IT infrastructure (34%) and brand reputation (29%) were said to have the biggest impact on their industries over the last 12 months.

When asked about the nature of their growth and its impact on the overall business over the past year, companies’ top responses were rewarding (40%), planned (32%) and well managed (44%).

Technologies set to have the biggest impact are 5G (37%), cloud technology (36%) and digital transformation (31%) were predicted to have the biggest positive, direct impact on future growth in the respondents’ industries over the next 12 to 18 months.

In addition to the above, the report found that growth is strong, with 54% of Australian companies noting that growth in the past six months was slightly improved than the previous six months.

For 22%, recent growth was a significant improvement. Growth had slightly or significantly worsened for just 10% of Australian respondents.

Key success factors include digital 26% of Australian companies said a strong digital and online presence was a key indicator of a successful growing business in their industry.

Overcoming challenges requires technology, with 46% of Australian respondents saying working more efficiently would help them overcome business growth challenges in the next 12 months.

Furthermore, 41% said it would come down to better planning and 40% said better technology was a key factor.

Epicor Software Corporation SVP and head of international Andy Coussins says, “2020 has been a year characterised by significant disruption in the retail, manufacturing, and distribution industries.

"These disruptions have accelerated the move towards digital transformation for many organisations; the trends identified in the Epicor Global Growth Index confirm that businesses will look to technology and IT infrastructure to drive company growth in the next 12 months.

“This continued investment will be important for organisations to maintain business resilience, adapt to global volatility, and stay flexible as the market changes.”

Coussins says, “The overwhelming consensus globally was that technology investments will help organisations grow, regardless of industry or region.

"For example, companies looking to improve customer service and use big data analytics to increase competitiveness, it will be crucial for these organisations to choose technologies that facilitate those outcomes.

"A modern, purpose-built enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution helps organisations to improve customer service by putting crucial information at the fingertips of those who need it.

"This will also feed into big data projects, letting organisations gather the data they need to deliver more comprehensive insights that can drive better decision-making.”

This online survey was conducted in March 2020 by global research firm Dimensional Research. Responses were received from 2,002 professionals across 23 countries.

All respondents oversee or perform essential duties that inform the business decisions for their organisation, across the manufacturing, distribution and shipping, retail and e-commerce verticals.

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