By Patrick Avenell

Although 86 per cent of businesspeople agree that technological change is important, only 39 per cent of those same businesspeople embrace change, according to Canon-commission report called ‘Change or Be Left Behind’.

This survey of 1,000 currently employed businesspeople, split into 300 executives and 700 worker bees, found that technological change was the biggest challenge faced by Australian companies, ahead of general company changes, people changes and wider economic or legislative changes. Environmental concerns, with dominate political debate, was not singled out (though it could be broadly included in legislative changes).

Although these respondents identify the need to confront these technological challenges, with 73 per cent agreeing that their company will be left behind if they don’t, only 40 per cent take a proactive stance in overcoming these hurdles.

“If we look at everything that’s changing within Australian business, technology change is by far and away the biggest thing that organisations will go through in the next 10 years,” said Canon Business Imaging director Craig Manson.

“But this is not about implementing technology for technology’s sake. Organisations need to take the time to look at how their business is evolving and growing, working out how technology can align with the business, changing it for the better and making it more competitive.”

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For retailers, the lightning fast and desultory nature of technological change has been a massive hurdle. Leading retailer Myer has struggled to combat online sales, with CEO Bernie Brooks recently describing the department store’s two websites as “average”.

Harvey Norman has been another that has been hesitant to embrace new technology, with chairman Gerry Harvey unwittingly becoming the target of derision for his anti-online stance.

On the opposite side is Winning Appliances, which has thrown itself into the new tech economy. Its online service and sales portal, Appliances Online, is supported by a conversational presence on Twitter and Facebook, and has allowed the group to expand its sales well beyond its traditional Sydney home.

The supplier side of the electronics industry has been much more agile, with even traditionally unexciting categories getting involved in social networking. For example, Blanco has launched Twitter and Facebook pages to communicate with customers, with both nascent sites performing well in the first fortnight since going live.