Digital trends in business continue to be driven by consumer adoption. However, we're still operating under the pall of economic uncertainty and a potential second GFC.
This uncertainty is not a reason to put digital plans on hold. Investment in technology can provide opportunities for new revenue streams, and reduce costs by improving the way we work with each other and our customers.
What is increasingly clear from this year's Optus Future of Business Report is that businesses expect to have a digital presence - over 90% of them in 3-5 years.
From a fixed network perspective, this means we have the connectivity that provides end-users with the sort of experience that will entice them to continue and increase their level of digital transactions. That could be as simple as having a server with adequate capacity and a high speed connection. Or it might mean delivering not only a fast pipe but a clean, secure connection - that way, customers feel secure in the knowledge that the information they are providing is safe and protected.
Speaking of connectivity, what about NBN? With the promise of ubiquitous high-speed coverage, it certainly has the potential to transform business. This high-speed connectivity can enable anything from true remote working capabilities (slashing employees' commuting time) right through to enabling specific applications like tele-health, where the tyranny of distance can be overcome by intelligent video technology that enables remote diagnosis and even treatment.
While the 2012 Optus Future of Business Report shows the businesses recognise NBN benefits such as increased bandwidth and productivity, the report also indicates that 71% of organisations surveyed don't have an NBN strategy. This is not surprising given the roll-out is in its early stages but it does present a great opportunity to think about and develop a business strategy that leverages high-speed connectivity. This could enable you to reduce costs in your business by moving customers to on-line or digital spaces, the experience of which reduces the need for shop-fronts or branches. And if prioritised, it could put you ahead of the competition.
By Enzo Cocotti, Optus Business Director (Fixed Products & Services). More from Enzo on Twitter: @Enzo_X1