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Australian businesses claim that resource gaps are hindering their participation in the digital economy, specifically broadband.

A new report from Alcatel-Lucent, with research conducted by Nielsen, on the merging digital economy claims that around half of respondents believe faster broadband is essential to boost their digital economy participation.

Alcatel-Lucent is one of the foundation vendors deploying the National Broadband Network.

Metrics of reliability, followed by high-speed and affordability were the key demand criteria for broadband from the business sector.

The Smart.Digital.Connected report found that 75 percent of businesses expect their digital economy activity to increase as a result of national broadband infrastructure improvements.

“Our research shows we shouldn’t view digital participation as a sub-set of a business model or a novel corner of the broader economy. Digital participation is part and parcel of business, intrinsic to the world,” said Alcatel-Lucent Australia president and managing director Sean O’Halloran.

The report reveals that across the SME and big business community there is a strong acknowledgement of business benefit, including productivity gains and positive growth.

“Businesses see national broadband infrastructure as a key digital enabler and believe their executive and board leadership should more seriously consider how to maximise the benefits,” the report said.

The research found 93 percent of organisations believe that participation in the digital economy is important to their ongoing business strategy while 76 percent believe that digital participation has already been positive for their productivity and efficiency, but only 65 percent say it boosts profitability and growth.

Most respondents, 80 percent, believe that business digital economy participation should be integrated into executive and board-level all-of-business strategic planning.

In another big sentiment switch, almost 80 percent agreed that telecommunications service providers were “valued advisors” for the creation of their future digital business models, suggesting an emerging opportunity for networked service development and delivery.

“Smart businesses are leading the charge and already reaping the rewards. But clearly some businesses are less sophisticated and face challenges to improve their ability to participate on a digital basis. Businesses expect strong leadership, strategic vision, skills development and broadband improvements will help them negotiate a future path,” O’Halloran added. ®

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