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Businesses are not prepared for NBN rollout: Macquarie Telecom

Although businesses expect massive change from the NBN, many of them are still underprepared for its effects on their employees and market share, according to a survey by telecommunications vendor, Macquarie Telecom (ASX: MAQ).

The study, NBN Business Readiness Survey in 2013 , which polled more than 160 C-suite Australian business executives, showed that although one in two businesses expect the NBN to change the way they do business, only one in four claimed to be ready for these changes.

Mobility a godsend and a nightmare

It was commissioned by Macquarie Telecom and conducted by Deloitte Access Economics.

"Business expectations of the NBN's transformative effects have remained strong, particularly as awareness grows around areas such as teleworking and multi-channel customer service. Yet many organisations seem unsure of how they should update their business models to maintain growth," Deloitte Access Economics partner, Dr. Ric Simes, said.

Dr. Simes claimed that the message coming out of the findings is Australian businesses have a long way to go in adopting the NBN.

"It's all to do with the changing nature of the consumer. Businesses need to come up with strategies to maintain those expectations -- but are they ready to do it?" he said.

Another key finding of the study is that the NBN is expected to boost telework significantly but relatively, few organisations feel ready to harness it in the workplace.

About 49 per cent of businesses expect the NBN to change where they are able to perform work, as compared to results by a similar survey Macquarie Telecom conducted in 2010, which showed just 20 per cent expected a change in their employment model with the NBN.

However, only 26 per cent of respondents mentioned to be confident that their people managers could manage a remote workforce, regardless if they have established a teleworking policy.

"To not only survive, but carve out new markets and revenue streams in the future, organisations need to make the leap from passive expectancy to decisive action in preparing for the NBN's organisational impact: there's no room for 'maybe' at this pace of inevitable change," Macquarie Telecom telecommunications group executive, Chris Greig, said.

On the other hand, Dr. Simes said the result is positive feedback as more people expect teleworking when compared to the targeted 12 per cent the government expects as part of its 2020 digital strategy.

"It is a much more mobile and flexible labour market. It has powerful effects on the economy, which suggests that it might add at least 25,000 people to the labour force."

Greig claimed that the time for fence-sitting about the NBN's effects is over; what's needed now is urgency of planning and execution.

He suggested three call to actions that businesses need to undertake:

  • Businesses need to investigate what the NBN means for them
  • Understand how the NBN co-plays with issues such as mobility and the Cloud
  • Formulate a NBN plan as part of business and strategy planning

"Businesses must make the NBN a matter of boardroom discussion and take immediate steps to ready their technologies and policies and partner with IT service providers who support and understand the increasing convergence of telecommunications networks and data hosting in the next evolution of our digital economy," Greig added.


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