China Projected to Be on Par with U.S. As a Future Tech Innovation Leader
Asked to predict future disruptive technologies and the next epicenter for innovation, technology executives worldwide believe that China and the United States will be at the forefront, with Cloud enabling both the next indispensable consumer technology and business transformation for enterprises. Mobile technologies will continue to build on Cloud, providing the tech breakthrough that will transform businesses, according to the Global Technology Innovation survey by KPMG, the audit, tax and advisory firm.
Almost 30 percent of the 668 business executives in the Americas, Asia Pacific (ASPAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) said China and the United States show the most promise for disruptive breakthroughs with global impacts, while 13 percent cited India. Interestingly, only 39 percent of U.S. respondents selected the United States as most promising, while 71 percent in China selected China.
To identify disruptive technologies and the scope of change two to four years out, KPMG surveyed executives from technology industry startups, mid-sized to large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors.
"The pace of technology innovations today is happening at unparalleled speed and China's projected rapid rise to prominence as a technology leader would be another example of this," said Gary Matuszak, partner, global chair and U.S. leader for KPMG's Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice. "China's anticipated parity with the U.S. tech sector shows the significant challenge facing the United States to retain its position as an innovation leader, as other key countries will continue to take steps to boost technology innovation and attract tech entrepreneurs as well."
"These survey findings also demonstrate that China's innovation investment has fostered an environment for the development of disruptive technologies that is growing by leaps and bounds. The Chinese Government is encouraging significant investment in three key areas - (1) shared services and outsourcing, (2) mobile payments and (3) cloud computing. The 12th Five-Year Plan is also driving innovation in these critical areas, in order to create a nationwide virtual environment," said Egidio Zarrella, a partner in KPMG China.
Asked what technology will have a major impact by 2015, 30 percent of the survey respondents globally said Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) will enable the next indispensable consumer technology. In regard to driving business transformation, 22 percent said Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, followed closely by SaaS, will have the greatest impact. In the U.S., SaaS was the top selection in consumer and enterprise technologies.
"It is clear that technology leaders in countries where technology innovation is thriving believe that the Cloud represents a technology tidal shift. They are placing a huge bet on Cloud, as it has multiple capabilities and benefits for providers and users such as generating revenue, improving operational efficiency, reducing costs and time to market, and enabling other disruptive technologies such as mobile and social applications," said Matuszak. "The significant Cloud investment that is under way is likely to spur technologies that drive breakthroughs in business transformation."
Mobile technologies also are seen as a significant beneficiary of Cloud, as almost 30 percent of global respondents expect that the next tech breakthrough in four years resulting in the greatest business transformation will come from smartphones, tablets and other mobile technologies.
Potential Challenge to Silicon Valley's position as tech innovation center
Forty-four percent of global respondents said it was likely that what many consider the technology innovation center of the world would shift from Silicon Valley to another country in the next four years, 23 percent of those surveyed said it is unlikely and 34 percent were undecided. Not surprisingly, only 28 percent of the U.S. respondents think the shift is likely, while more than half in ASPAC, and more than 40 percent in EMEA see the move as likely. Of those globally who believe the center will shift, most (44 percent) said it would move to China.
Apple Viewed As Top Innovator
In considering innovation drivers, visionaries and leaders, more business executives globally identified Apple, now led by Tim Cook, and former CEO Steve Jobs as tops in these three areas. As the top company driving disruptive innovation, Apple was followed by Google and Microsoft, according to the survey. Respondents also viewed Jobs as the top global innovation visionary, followed by Bill Gates. In China specifically, executives said Gates was the top visionary and Jack Ma the innovation leader. In India, Infosys was identified as the innovation leader, and in Israel, it was IBM/Lenovo.
At the same time, about one-third globally pointed to Google, Facebook and Amazon as emerging leaders in mobile commerce.
Innovation Development, Challenges, Barriers
The survey uncovered differences in who or what function drives innovation in companies. About three in 10 globally said the CEO has the responsibility to drive innovation in their company, while 20 percent, including half the respondents in China, said the Chief Innovation Officer, and 15 percent each cited the Chief Information Officer and research and development. Some 38 percent said that innovation is most often spotted and nurtured in the R&D department, followed by IT and strategic planning, while the majority of those surveyed use revenue growth as the metric to measure innovation value.
Asked whether their education system serves as an incubator for innovator thinkers, slightly more than half believed this was true. In China, close to 75 percent thought this was true, while in the United States, less than half thought so.
In regard to adopting future technologies, cost/pricing models was pointed to
by survey respondents as the top challenge to adopting the next indispensable
consumer technologies, while security/privacy governance is the number one
challenge to adopting future business transforming technologies and also is the
top barrier to commercializing disruptive innovation.
"The fact that security/privacy governance is a challenge is not news, yet it's an ongoing reminder of its importance as the business models continue to evolve," said Matuszak. "The companies that develop a way to balance data-driven innovation with the appropriate transparency, privacy and information security frameworks to satisfy customers and regulators will have a competitive edge."
In the March - May 2012 survey of 668 business executives globally whose organizations were focused on the technology space, thirty-four percent of the respondents were in the Americas, 42 percent in Asia Pacific, and 23 percent in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In regards to countries, 25 percent were from the United States, 14 percent from China and 9 percent from Israel.