Selective adoption of technology can help small businesses tackle the explosion of information – dubbed the information revolution – online, according to Telstra Business group managing director, Deena Shiff.
She was speaking about how technology impacts work and personal lives at the Australian Chambers Business Congress in the Gold Coast.
Telstra Business is the division of Telstra for dealing with SME communication solutions.
Changes in human behaviour have been driven by the wealth of information currently online and people are increasingly logging on to the Internet to find answers for almost everything.
But the vast amount of information available is a double edge sword as there is a risk of “information overload”, according to Shiff.
“There is a difference between information and knowledge,” she said. “Cyberspace is so democratic and crowded… we need to figure out who to listen to; we need to discern truth from nonsense and we need to teach our kids questions can’t always be answered by Wikipedia, Google or YouTube.
“Choices and selections are incredibly important in this information revolution.”
This point is also pertinent to businesses. Finding the right technology to handle an organisation’s information easily and securely is now critical for all businesses.
“I am very optimistic Australia and Australian businesses will not just harness this adoption wave as they have harnessed many other technology adoption waves in the past,” Shiff said. “I think we will even get ahead of it and become developers of solutions to [handle information] if they can figure out how to harness technology in the right way.”
Shiff identified a number of IT related trends where businesses will have to react to by making certain choices.
This included facilitating remote working and ensuring collaboration and secure exchange of information between a dispersed staff base.
Another trend identified was the change in the services delivery space. Medical consultations will eventually be done through the home and the same applies to distance education. This will all be delivered through the public Internet and Australian businesses have a chance to take advantage of this upcoming development, Shiff said.
As well as opportunities in services delivery, Shiff noted business can capitalise on the growing cloud and mobile applications development space as well.
“Cloud-based software is going to democratise small businesses and allow them to compete on a global scale,” she said. “Being small and being regional is no longer a barrier to success.”
Marketing businesses through social media was also flagged as a trend.
The Australian Chambers Business Congress concludes on Friday.