SME’s Digital Transformation Journey: how to modernise your business

According to a poll, 50% of the SMEs recognised that adoption of digital technology will help them save costs

Welcome to the era of of fourth industrial revolution that has transformed our way of doing business. Since digitization is the new normal, people have embraced technology and software services with open arms. In fact, it has blended naturally into our everyday lives.

However, the SME sector has been under a lot of pressure because of this technological disruption. Their traditional market has been disrupted by online players and now their customers are exposed to multiple options. To make things worse, larger enterprises have already moved to IoT, AI, and Big Data. Therefore, it is critical for SMEs too, to explore platforms that can help make their businesses smart and globally competitive.

According to a poll carried out by the United Overseas Bank last year, it was reported that more than 50% of the SMEs recognised that adoption of digital technology will help them save costs and decrease reliance on manpower. However, they are struggling to find the right solutions to meet their needs. SMEs want solutions that are simple, user friendly, do not require heavy investments, and involve minimum maintenance. These requirements of the sector are common across geographies. Another important concern is the smooth transition of data from old system to the new one.  Typically, SMEs today are paying separate license-fee for different on-premise software with additional costs for server-hardware, security, maintenance etc. Often these software do not talk to each other leading to multiple data entry, increased man-hours cost, and time-wastage. They require an integrated suite of apps that can be accessed from any internet-enabled device encouraging SMEs to move out of premise based system and build roadmap for a global business reach.

Well, all this is possible now. All thanks to Cloud Computing that has evolved as an incubator for innovation, providing opportunities to test, adjust and deploy ideas that add value to businesses across various industries. There are robust Cloud-based applications available in the market designed to simplify your businesses and lives.

Cloud Computing has introduced the concept of consumption and delivery with its pay-per-user model. Since SMEs need to pay only for what they use, they can use  advanced IT capabilities at par with larger enterprises. Cloud technology helps enterprises streamline their processes and reduce their capital and operational costs. As it encourages subscription based services, it becomes an added advantage for SMEs who plan to grow in phases. It also helps reorient their business with best practices and achieve greater productivity. Benefits of accessing data saved on the Cloud from any internet enabled device is a boon for people. It allows stakeholders access to information of their multiple business units at a single place.  

For instance, with cloud-based applications an employee can easily login into his/her account and access the files he/she needs to work on. The data saved on the Cloud can be accessed from any smart device like a tablet, a mobile phone or a laptop and is not restricted to a specific location. This helps an employee have access to multiple information at one single place. Depending on the department, business unit and level, this access can be controlled for a person.

Additionally, Cloud Computing is useful for online collaboration. Employees working on the the same project can see updates from their team members in real-time. Basecamp and Asana are best examples of these applications. File sharing, discussions, task assignment and deadline calendars along with reminders are provided by these solutions. It further allows employees to collaborate across departments even when using totally different devices and working from other locations. Many of these systems can be seamlessly integrated into the existing environment.

“Cloud based mobile-apps for business operations can help manage your processes end-to-end. Salespeople can generate real-time quotations, accounts team can generate instant invoices and CEOs can review real-time balance sheets and P&L statements” said Sylvester Shi, Consultant, Deskera

SMEs are the backbone of Singapore’s economy, accounting for 99% of the country’s enterprises with a significant contribution to the nation’s GDP. These enterprises also want to expand their operations to enter global markets. Therefore, digitization is the need of the hour to have an edge over your competition worldwide. The Singapore Government understands the importance of SMEs and has been playing a crucial role in encouraging them on their path of digital adoption with initiatives like SMEs Go Digital, Smart Nation, and so on.

It is time to embrace digital adoption by choosing the right solutions and thus, move ahead in this dynamic world.