According to IDC analysts there are some hard lessons to be learnt from the consumer sector of the market in New Zealand.
Outlining the changing face of customers and business, senior analyst Liam Gunson says organisations need to prepare for a changing consumer market that will disrupt the way businesses currently work.
“There are over four million potential customers out there, and the consumer ecosystem is blurring the line between the business and consumer market.”
Gunson says consumers spent $696 million on IT alone in 2006, and IDC predicts that in 2010 the consumer market will be responsible for 645 exabytes of data, far exceeding corporate storage levels.
“Social networks are really growing and this is something businesses will have to think about. There are opportunities here to increase loyalty, reduce service costs and drive revenue.”
Social networks come in many different shapes and sizes, from online gaming to discussion groups and personal websites. The role playing game World of Warcraft currently has more than eight million players worldwide, while a site like Myspace has more than 50 million visitors a month.
There is an opportunity in what IDC has dubbed the ‘Internet Generation’, people born after 1985, says telecommunications analyst Tim Shepheard.
“The time spent online has created a generation that processes information differently. There are huge communities having conversations that vendors need to be in on. The internet generation accounts for 36 percent of New Zealand’s population and the next generation will grow up with a very strong digital focus.”
Businesses need to bridge the gap with the younger generation and work to understand their use of Web 2.0, Shepheard says. They also have to consider that these consumers are also part of the new workforce.
“There is research that suggests the new generation of workers is less interested in pay and more interested in how the company works and what part IT and technology play in the business.”
Gunson suggests businesses should connect to their customers and connect them to each other. This will drive collaboration and companies can mine user information.
“Companies need to prepare for disruption to succeed,” says Gunson. “They will have to think about the impact from broadband and connectivity and how it will change their business.”