New study shows European companies are challenged by the ‘real-time economy’

Less than 23 per cent of European decision makers feel able to compete in real-time 

Companies throughout Europe find that their business processes are dramatically accelerating and are becoming more and more interconnected. More than six per cent say that their business processes already comply with real-time trading requirements and one third (32.8 per cent) experienced significant acceleration over the last 24 months. Some industries – such as utilities, media and manufacturing – are rapidly transforming to meet the challenge, while many others are only starting the journey. However, only a small minority of decision-makers (22.4 per cent) feel they are in a position to cope with the future challenges of the real-time economy. These are the main highlights of a BT-commissioned study produced by Experton, titled: “Real-Time Economy - Promise and potential of instant processes for a better future.” 

The vast majority of surveyed executives agree that their organisations need to evolve and become faster, interconnected businesses. Three out of four (76.9 per cent) respondents believe that this trend has a strong or very strong impact on their business processes. And whilst examples in sectors such as logistics, retail and banking are widely known, this development is now hitting almost all sectors. More than half of the respondents expect a massive acceleration and some even think their businesses will reach real-time speeds by 2015. 

Nearly sixty per cent (58.3 per cent) of executives foresee that the increasingly mobile lifestyle of employees and customers will become the number one driver within the next two years - with ubiquitous real-time access to data and applications. 

The picture is not the same in all countries. For example, in Germany current key drivers include - next to organisational change and opportunities arising from technological innovation - the increased global competition from high-growth regions (47.0 per cent). Whilst Benelux companies, compared to those in Germany, perceive more competitive pressures coming from start-ups and Internet companies (46.0 per cent vs. 33.0 per cent). The strong manufacturing sector in Germany is seen as a likely explanation for this difference. The Swiss see the mobile lifestyle as having the strongest impact already today (72.7 per cent) whilst German (56.0 per cent) and Benelux (64.3 per cent) companies expect it to become more important over the coming years. 

In terms of being able to cope with future challenges, the situation is worst in Benelux and Switzerland, where only 14 per cent of executives think that their current IT infrastructure is able to deal with the requirements of the real-time economy. 

Decision-makers eagerly look for the tools to shape the real-time economy and utilise its potential. 42 per cent of respondents expect to increase their efficiency and profitability by speeding up their interactions with their customers. To achieve this, they look at a broad range of networked IT solutions, including unified communications and collaboration, intelligent IP networks and cloud-based infrastructure services. 
Joris van Oers, CEO BT Benelux, said: “Experton’s latest survey shows that only a few European companies are able to effectively do business with the speed that is required to compete in today’s global economy. Response times need to get shorter, risks have to be detected earlier and business processes must be optimised accordingly. This is a world where nanoseconds can have an impact.” 

“Customers can leverage our high performance and low latency global network as well as our portfolio of networked IT solutions to help them address the challenge. Our professional services teams help customers analyse their specific ‘real-time’ challenges and optimise their infrastructure in a cost effective way. We also offer industry-specific solutions, such as BT Global Trace - which provides secure sharing of near real-time data in supply chains - or our BT Radianz Cloud, which supports the largest secure networked financial community in the world. Both are real good examples of how we can help our customers meet their ‘real-time’ challenges,” Van Oers concludes. 

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Notes to editors 
The study “Real-Time Economy - Promise and potential of instant processes for a better future” was carried out in July 2013 by Experton Group AG on behalf of BT. Nearly 250 corporate decision-makers from large enterprises in the Benelux, Germany and Switzerland were surveyed regarding the impact of the real-time economy on their organisation, business processes, strategy as well as network and IT infrastructure. 
More information and image material about the study can be found at: http://www.globalservices.bt.com/bnlx/en/news/study_european_companies_challenged_real_time_economy.