Lack of technology infrastructure investment could hinder growth

Businesses operating in developed markets risk falling behind businesses in emerging markets that are currently placing greater importance on leveraging technology to fuel growth. Global research from Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software, found that 54 per cent of emerging market business executives cited “technology leadership” as a significant growth factor, compared to just 36 per cent of those in developed countries and 37 per cent in Australia, specifically.

The research, which was conducted by MORAR Consulting and commissioned by Epicor, questioned over 1,800 business leaders from 12 countries.  

Also recognising the importance of flexible technology and business systems in fuelling growth, executives in emerging markets are putting themselves in a stronger position when it comes to preparing for international expansion. Businesses that have more agile working practices can respond more quickly to changing market environments, making them more prepared to deal with the demands of growth.

  • Of those surveyed globally, three-quarters (75 per cent) of businesses in emerging markets agree that flexible working practices and technologies, such as mobile working, are significant in helping retain key people, compared to just 62 per cent of those in developing countries. 

In addition, the research found that businesses in developed markets are less likely to see the value of using the latest technology to free people up from mundane tasks, such as repetitive invoice processing and manual stock counting.

  • 65 per cent of business leaders in developed markets said this was a significant contributor to their staff retention, compared to 75 per cent of business leaders in emerging markets.

“Business executives in more developed markets could be in fact hindering growth unless they continue to prioritise strategic investments into critical technology and working processes that can increase their agility. In order to fully realise the advantages of flexible, agile technology they need to continue to invest in moving beyond aging business systems that are inadequate to meet present-day and future business requirements. More developed markets are often considered beacons of technology innovation but they need to practice what they preach if they are to reap the benefits and continue to grow. This is also increasingly important in order to attract and empower the next-generation workforce in the workplace. Millennials, after all, expect to use the latest technologies in the most flexible ways,” said Vince Randall, regional vice president ANZ, Epicor Software.

38 per cent of business leaders in Australia said that expansion into new industries and product areas was a main priority for their business over the coming year. To support this, 61 per cent of Australian business leaders recognised that cutting-edge technology/IT was a significant factor in the retention of key staff. As an developed market, it’s vital that Australian business leaders continue to focus on flexible working practices and modern business solutions to translate their growth goals into tangible expansion plans. 

In the same survey, 40 per cent of respondents identified technology leadership as a significant factor to help stimulate growth. Yet these findings suggest that unless businesses in developed markets continue to prioritise investment in technology they may struggle to meet their targets, with emerging market competition set to outstrip them with the latest technologies and processes. In today’s dynamic and globalised economy, where competitors transcend across continents, organisations need to be flexible in order to adjust to market pressures as they grow. 

“A modern ERP system can help businesses in emerging and developed markets alike cope with changes and successfully compete on a global scale. This is especially vital for businesses expanding quickly as they will need a flexible IT infrastructure which can be integrated across regions and can cope with managing a larger, more complex business model. In today’s global marketplace, business leaders need to ensure they have scalable support which can easily adapt to inevitable change, especially as they grow,” concluded Randall.