Is your business missing big opportunities overseas?

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Is your business missing big opportunities overseas?

Most Australian businesses only operate domestically, but the majority of those that trade overseas use cloud applications, according to a new survey.

A survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan and commissioned by cloud software provider NetSuite indicates that Australian businesses are giving international markets a relatively low priority.

The survey (PDF) of more than 800 senior executives in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore found 61 percent of Australian businesses currently operate domestically only. The corresponding figure for Hong Kong is 30 percent, and 42 percent for Singapore, where only 30 percent and 42 percent of businesses respectively are domestic only.

Before you ask, businesses with fewer than 20 employees were represented in the survey's respondents.

Seventy percent of Singapore and Hong Kong businesses see overseas expansion as a primary growth opportunity, compared with 55 percent of Australian businesses.

In that light, it shouldn't be surprising that 19 percent Australian companies regard globalisation as a threat.

"The last few years have seen a concerted effort by the Australian government to encourage international expansion, including the creation of several Free Trade Agreements, so it's surprising to see that Australian businesses are not responding to this opportunity more enthusiastically. With other markets in Asia pursuing globalisation aggressively, Australia is in danger of falling behind," said Frost & Sullivan ANZ managing director Mark Dougan.

"Australian businesses need to look beyond the obvious barriers of distance and complexity, and find enabling technologies like cloud which will enable them to start taking advantage of the possibilities that internationalisation offers."

Do cloud applications help expansion?

The survey indicated a relationship between internationalisation and cloud use.

Seventy percent of organisations that currently use cloud-based business management software (such as NetSuite) are internationalised, compared to only 22 percent of non-cloud users.

Additionally, 71 percent of cloud users have entered new geographic markets in the past five years, compared to only 31 percent of non-cloud users.

Is this because cloud applications help expansion or is some other factor at work? Perhaps the use of on-premises software works against doing business with other countries, or businesses with an international outlook can see the benefits of cloud software for overseas operations, or businesses with a conservative outlook eschew cloud software and international trade.

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