Shahar Ziv: "High-tech is not capable of drawing out the Israeli economy"
Israel's weight in the arena of technology is undoubtedly much greater than that of the country's economic weight from the global economy. Israel constitutes one per cent of the global economy, however, where technology is concerned, our influence is greater – both because we are noisy and mainly due to our abilities". This is how Shahar Ziv, Managing Partner with the accounting and consulting firm, BDO Ziv Haft, opened the Marker's annual hi-tech Technovation 2017 Conference.
According to Ziv, there is one point relevant to young investors and ventures, wo view Israel as an investment arena: obviously, the success of technology necessitates an international breakthrough. Ziv emphasized that, in Israel, there is a phenomenon deriving from the fact that the market is relatively small and the rate of young technology penetrating other markets is double that prevailing in other markets. This is obvious to investors who regard penetration into other markets – particularly the United States – as a vital condition for the investment. This should be a key target for the young investors, around which expectations for demands in these markets ought to be built up.
The team at BDO's economic division maintains that the hi-tech industry is not capable of drawing out the Israeli economy – this despite the dominance of the public discourse in the country and the tremendous impact on our lives in terms of work habits, future occupations, university requirements, etc. According to Shahar, the weight of the hi-tech industry on the Israeli economy is 11%.
Is this a catalyst for innovation processes in other industries? "Dramatically, yes", replies Shahar. "It is felt in every traditional industry over the past two or three years. It trickles down on the level of awareness and implementation".
Are we, as an economy, realizing the innovations and shifting the efficiency of the technology industry to other sectors? "No, and this is a well known economic problem for decision-makers. Our productivity is below 25% vis-à-vis comparable statistics across OECD countries", says Shahar. "We are not bridging the gap and it has an impact on poverty and disparity of income – which is what society wishes to influence".
Another level concerns BDO directly. "In our sector – business consulting, accounting and taxation, in conjunction with law, we are dealing with two fronts", explains Shahar. "The first is what the firm's clients experience when assisted by BDO's digital transformation team worldwide. In Israel, smart cities are the client. Innovations in transportation, autonomous cars, fintech, agrotech – all of these are industries closely guided by BDO."
On BDO's internal front, the firm provides an extensive basket of services. Certain services will disappear or decline drastically thanks to the advent of technology. On the other hand, the weight of professional people with technological qualifications will increase. These are people who possess strong analytical skills and critical thinking.
Shahar points out: "The BDO global network is a frontrunner in integrated technology processes – including the development of platforms, human capital, changes in training. There are significant investments in the field – e.g. data collection, analytics, human capital, cyberspace, application tools and automation. We make acquisitions, system development; we co-operate with SAP and Microsoft".