New Zealand has well over $100 billion in State assets but a lot of them are poorly managed. "We don't know enough about our 4.2 million customers," says deputy prime minister Bill English.

He was officially opening SAP's new offices in Wellington this week.

"There is less need for money and more for knowing things. We are looking at using the tools of big data and small data. We need these tools to make effective decisions and to make processes which are much more transparent.

"Technology will enable us to organise ourselves around our customers. It's not just technology, though; it's about changing processes completely."

He noted that over the next three years there would be major system changes at the Ministry of Social Development, ACC and Inland Revenue.

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"This will be an exciting and somewhat dangerous time. We run the risk of having so much assurance that we don't do too much. But if we try nothing we will get nowhere.

"With tools, we often don't know what we can do."

He told the largely ICT audience: "If you want innovation, show us some. That's what will lift the vision of politicians of whatever stripe.

"If we are re-elected, there will be a lot going on, more than we know what to do with."

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SAP ANZ president and managing director Andrew Barkla said the New Zealand business had grown 31 per cent in the past year.