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8129.0 - Business Use of Information Technology, 2002-03  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/03/2004   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

INTRODUCTION

This summary of findings focuses on the main outputs of an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey of business use of information technology (IT) conducted in respect of 2002-03. The context described in the Notes section and the information provided in the Explanatory Notes must be taken into consideration when interpreting these results, particularly if making comparisons to those reported for previous periods. Any references made in this publication to movements in proportions between those recorded for 2002-03 and earlier periods have been qualified with reference to reliability.


ADOPTION OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY


The following table shows trends over time for the proportions of businesses using a computer, the Internet or having a web presence. Taking into consideration information provided in the Notes section and in the Explanatory Notes, the estimates as at the end of June 2003 show the proportions of businesses using these technologies remained relatively unchanged from those at the end of June 2002.

BUSINESS USE OF SELECTED TECHNOLOGIES(a)

1998
2000
2001
2002
2003(b)

Businesses using a computer%
63
76
84
84
83
Businesses using the Internet%
29
56
69
72
71
Businesses with a web presence%
6
16
22
24
23

(a) Proportions are of all businesses at the end of June
(b) Affected by TNTS - see Explanatory Notes 5 to 15


IT SECURITY


Only 11% of businesses using a computer reported having no IT security measures in place at June 2003. The most common form of IT security was anti-virus software or virus scanner (82%).

Of those businesses using a computer, 38% reported some form of IT security incident or breach which was not intercepted by the business's security measures during the year ended June 2003. A virus (34%) was the most common IT security incident or breach reported by businesses, followed by a worm (17%).


METHOD OF INTERNET ACCESS

Businesses using the Internet were asked to identify all methods of Internet access used. Between June 2002 and June 2003 there was an increase in the proportion of businesses accessing the Internet by Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), from 7% to 18%, and a decrease in dial-up via modem, from 86% to 76%. While movements between the 2002-03 survey and previous surveys should be viewed with caution, the direction and approximate magnitude of these changes are considered reliable. They are consistent with other data published by the ABS, for example, results published in Internet Activity, Australia (cat. no. 8153.0).

USE OF SELECTED INTERNET ACCESS CONNECTION TYPES(a), as at 30 June
Graph - Use of Selected Internet Access Connection Types, as at 30 June



ORDERS FOR GOODS AND SERVICES VIA THE INTERNET

The 2002-03 survey measured the number of Australian businesses using the Internet or web to place and/or receive orders, with or without online payment, and the value of Internet or web orders received by businesses (Internet income). Caution should be used when interpreting values of Internet income, please refer to Explanatory Notes paragraphs 17 - 20.

While caution needs to be exercised in comparing survey results for 2002-03 with earlier periods, the movements for the proportions of businesses receiving orders and for the value of Internet income are considered to be reliable indicators of the direction and approximate magnitude of movement. In 2002-03, the proportion of Australian businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web was 13%; this was approximately double that recorded for 2001-02. Consistent with this, Internet income more than doubled between 2001-02 and 2002-03, with Internet income earned by Australian businesses reaching approximately $24.3 billion for 2002-03.

ORDERS FOR GOODS AND SERVICES VIA THE INTERNET OR WEB(a)

2000-2001
2001-2002
2002-2003

Businesses who placed orders via the Internet or web %
20
25
28
Businesses who received orders via the Internet or web %
9
6
13
Internet income$b
9.4
11.3
24.3

(a) Proportions are of all businesses
(b) Affected by TNTS - see Explanatory Notes 5 to 15


During 2002-03, the most common benefit of placing orders via the Internet or web was saving time. This was reported by 86% of businesses placing orders. Having access to a wider range of suppliers was the second most common benefit (40%). The most common benefit for businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web in 2002-03 was the achievement of faster business processes (53%), followed closely by improved quality of customer service (51%).

In the 2002-03 survey, businesses which received orders via the Internet or web were asked to identify ways in which these orders were received. Email not linked to a web site was the most common method (68% or businesses received orders in this way). Orders received by an email facility linked to a web site was reported by 40% of businesses and 14% of businesses received orders through a web site with online ordering.

Businesses which did not receive orders via the Internet or web in 2002-03 were asked to indicate the reasons why. The most common reason reported by businesses which used the Internet or had a web presence but did not receive orders was that goods or services sold by the business were not suitable (63%).


NOTES


CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

This publication presents the first release of estimates for the Business Use of IT (BUIT) survey compiled using new statistical infrastructure arising from The New Tax System (TNTS). The new infrastructure is described in an information paper, Information Paper, Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from the New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0) released by the ABS in May 2002. One of the infrastructure changes is the introduction of a new ABS business register. The main effect of the introduction of the new ABS business register, for the BUIT survey, is a changed population from which the survey frame has been drawn.

Changes resulting from TNTS are evident in the estimates of business counts published in this issue compared to those published in 2001-02. Two characteristics used in designing the sample for the BUIT survey were updated when the ABS Business Register was created. These are employment and industry; these changes have resulted in major compositional changes to the survey population. For these reasons, comparisons of business counts in this publication to those previously published should not generally be made.

For core data items of computer use, Internet use and web presence, the 2001-02 BUIT survey results were recompiled to incorporate the impact of the new infrastructure. Analysis of these estimates shows that the impact of TNTS is nil or less than one percentage point change for each of these items and is lower than the Relative Standard Error (RSE) achieved in 2001-02, therefore, revised estimates have not been published.

TNTS has had a significant impact on the population from which the sample is drawn, particularly composition by business size and industry. These changes to the population have resulted in a higher than usual sample rotation rate. For 2002-03, approximately two thirds of the sample were new businesses to the survey; this rate is normally one third. The size of this rotation has impacted on the accuracy of survey estimates for 2002-03.

When comparing estimates from 2002-03 to those published for 2001-02, changes of a small magnitude are more than likely to have resulted from changes to the survey population rather than actual changes in the characteristic being measured. For example, the estimate shows that 83% of all businesses used a computer in 2002-03. This is a decrease of one percentage point from the estimate published for 2001-02. It is highly likely that this decrease is due to the impact of infrastructure changes rather than a decrease in the use of computers by business. Where the change is of a larger magnitude, it should be treated as an indicator of the trend of movement rather than an absolute change in percentage terms.

While the impact of TNTS is significant, it does not represent an actual break in series. However, comparisons between 2002-03 estimates and previously published data should be made with caution. For more information about changes, please refer to the Explanatory Notes.

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