When most people think of Australian businesses, there is a sense that we are all ahead of the times. First in the world to develop this and leading global figures in adoption of something else.
However, according to the figures of a recently released report by Microsoft Australia, this hype may be overstated. In its Culturing Success report, more than 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were polled on their innovation use and what benefits they were experiencing as a result.
Is innovation different across the board?
Based on the responses, Microsoft categorised the SMEs into three groups.
A total of 33 per cent of businesses were confident in responding to change, threats and opportunities through innovation. These SMEs were labelled ‘leaders’.
The largest group (43 per cent) were described as innovation ‘cruisers’. The businesses in this category respect the notion of innovation, but don’t deliver it with any commitment.
Microsoft painted the final 24 per cent of SMEs as ‘laggards’. These respondents had little or no desire for innovation either through a lack of intelligence on the subject or funding problems.
Managing Director of Microsoft Australia Pip Marlow noted the importance of innovation to success regardless of the SME’s size or scope.
“However, our research reveals that many businesses find it difficult to develop a culture of innovation because of barriers including working in silos, fear of failure, employee distrust and poor collaboration,” she said in a March 17 media statement.
Benefits of innovation
Innovation can be the starting point of positive change within an organisation. Whether it is technological implementations such as online timesheets and payroll or expense processing, it can build to greater success elsewhere in the SME.
According to Microsoft’s report, 39 per cent of businesses from the ‘leader’ category reported that their revenue was growing faster than the average rate for their industry. In comparison, just 24 per cent of ‘cruisers’ and 23 per cent of ‘laggards’ could say the same.
Additionally, ‘leaders’ recorded better results in a number of different parameters including total revenue, business efficiency, staff satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Federal Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson explained that taking small steps of innovation soon leads to wider benefits.
“We know small business people are time poor, but innovation within business processes can drive efficiencies,” he said.
“Innovative businesses are generally successful businesses, constantly looking at ways to improve and to grow their business.”
A great first step in your SME’s innovation path would be payroll software. It’s vital that your employees are paid on time every time so adding this piece of innovation can spark wider positives for the entire business.