CEOs investing in “broad cross-section” of new technologies

Nearly eight in ten Australian manufacturing and services businesses have invested in new technologies in the last three years, with computer hardware and software the focus of most of the spending, according to a new report.


The report, titled Business Investment in New Technologies, was conducted by Deloitte in conjunction with Australian Industry Group.


Based on a survey of 540 business CEOs in manufacturing, services and construction, the report reveals 80% of respondents invested in new technologies over the past three years.


The level of investment in new technologies in these sectors is estimated at $25 billion per year over the past three years.


Computer hardware and software – along with machinery and equipment, particularly automation and control equipment – were identified as the most common areas for investment.


According to the report, business investment in new technologies is contributing to improved business performance, including higher productivity levels and ongoing product innovation.


Around 16% of the productivity gains achieved by these businesses were attributed to new technologies, while 71% of these businesses invested in order to improve productivity.


AIG chief executive Heather Ridout says the report shows businesses in manufacturing, services and construction have been active investors in a broad cross-section of new technologies.


“Investment in new technologies accounted for an average of 21% of respondents’ total investment over this period,” Ridout says.


Damien Tampling, Deloitte national manager for media and telecommunications, attributes the results to the “explosion” of data being delivered through the internet and social media channels.


“Ensuring there is adequate technology, digital media knowledge and expertise at the most senior levels of business is critical,” Tampling says.


“Grasping the potential of this change agent, including the opportunities, services and applications of the National Broadband Network, will help drive further productivity.”


The survey also tested business expectations about changes to the Research and Development Tax Incentive.


According to the report, 40% of the businesses that developed new technologies in-house over the last three years did so without the assistance of the R&D tax concessions.


More than a quarter of businesses that did use the concession were concerned the recent changes would be negative for their business, with a similar number expecting them to be positive.


Others were uncertain about its impacts.


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