Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are often said to be resistant to technology adoption. Marketers say one of the major factors is the cost-conscious nature of SMEs but we think it is because SMEs are just being conscious in selecting. In 2017, SMEs were greatly exposed and urged to take full advantage of the digital economy and e-commerce. However, due to the lack of resources in carrying out these developments, many held a sitting on the fence measure and have not seriously moved into automation.
SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang commented, “They don’t know how to make use of the potential. SMEs don’t have a direction and talent for the different technologies”. Besides that, overpromises by vendors who sell solutions to SMEs too have dampen their confidence to adopt digital solutions. Irresponsible vendors often ‘promise’ to reduce operational costs and/or increase sales without offering operations training or explaining that the digital adoption journey may take up to five years. This creates frustrating experiences among SMEs that rely on a cost-conscious business model to sustain daily operations.
Technology advancement waits for no one, the digital journey is a compulsory path for any business who wants to move into the future. Read on to find how you can do so with a cost-conscious budget.
Leverage on local startups
The startup scene in Malaysia has been very vibrant, thanks to attractive incentive offerings and continuous efforts of Malaysian Global Innovation & Creative Centre (MaGIC) in supporting local startups that are solving problems and redefining how human society organises and conducts itself.
Technology is moving worlds today, look at how Alibaba is moving to the international level starting from Southeast Asia. The Internet has opened many doors to businesses today, but SMEs in Malaysia are still not fully utilizing its full potential with only 19.6% conducting e-commerce, according to SME Corp.
SMEs should consider leveraging digital solutions of local startups and obtain suitable digital adoption according to your budget.
Redesign key business processes
Mobile phones, tablets and laptops let you check emails remotely. Here are some ways SMEs can redesign key processes to better facilitate the business.
Set up work email and group chats to better facilitate communication especially if you offer services. Your team can also share customers’ problems more efficiently by showing photos of broken parts. This can facilitate a swifter servicing process as communication with home office will be notified.
Adopt a cloud computing solution so you can tabulate your customer data. Get a suitable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to improve your customer retention and reach out to more leads. Reduce manual work that requires repetitive data collection, organize and connect with real customers online.
Set up a visible online presence. Make it easy for customers to look for you online and do business with you through their smartphones. SMEs need to make sure that your business website is optimized for mobile devices. Today’s technology has made the customer faceless, but it also offers SMEs more information about them. SMEs need to embrace the challenge and connect with customers using digital solutions as it allows you to learn more about your customers’ interests, dislikes, buying power etc. Social media marketing is also a very effective channel that SMEs can utilise to stay connected and build relationships with customers.
Technology is all around us. If you are looking into a long-term business success, you need to adopt new technologies. Find the right digital solution for your business today!