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How can SMEs adopt digital transformation?

How can SMEs adopt digital transformation?

Digital & Technology

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

25 Jun 2018, 08:41 — 5 min read

Summary: We continue with our ongoing Digital Transformation series . In this article we share how you can embrace Digital Transformation and what that would look like. The future belongs to Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who embrace the digital revolution. Begin your journey today.

 

In the past two decades, mobile phones have transformed the way we communicate, consume information and do business day to day. It’s hard to imagine our lives without this handy device. Much like the ubiquitous mobile phone, embracing digital transformation is really a matter of gauging the current of the times and making the most of an opportunity.

 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella summarises how firms should view digital transformation, “Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a digital company. It’s no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one. It’s not about one simple software solution. It’s really you yourself thinking of your own future as a digital company.”

According to a study commissioned by Microsoft, digital transformation will contribute USD 154 billion to India’s GDP by 2021.

 

So how can SMEs embrace digital transformation? Here are five tips to get you started.

 

1. Make a plan

Digitisation is a ever evolving, so one needs to create a roadmap and prioritise accordingly. What are the objectives of your business and how will technology help to achieve them? 

Create a plan with measurable goals and hold yourself accountable. Involve your partners, team members and all stakeholders in the brainstorming sessions. Resistance from these stakeholders can be an impediment to your transformation journey.

 

2. Create a culture for digital transformation

It is imperative that everyone in the organisation understands and agrees on the vision, goals and roadmap for digital transformation. For example, how do team members feel about working with new technology and systems? Thorough training and orientation will ensure that new technology yields the optimum results. You may start with small steps, but if your team is on board, you are sure to finish strong.

 

3. Make informed and quick decisions

Small businesses are able to embrace digital transformation more easily as they can make quick decisions. Larger companies often have multiple decision-makers and therefore adopting any fundamental change in systems and processes takes a longer time in those organisations.

The ‘agility’ (ability to respond quickly to changes in the internal and external environment) to embrace newer technology gives SMEs a first-mover advantage when compared with their larger counterparts. However, it is imperative to ensure that all decisions are based on adequate research. According to George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy, “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

 

4. Create a training programme

Training is a crucial factor in generating interest and educating the organisation about digital transformation - this is where you roadmap will come into play in preparing your team members about the digital initiative that may be coming their way. Training programmes and regular communication are necessary to ensure that all team members are familiar and comfortable with adopting new technology and processes.

 

5. Focus on the customer

It’s crucial to think about digital transformation from the customer’s perspective. Ask yourself, how will embracing new digital technology benefit the customer? For instance, if you are a retailer with a brick and mortar store, you ought to consider having an online store that will ensure that your customers can shop at any time of the day, have access to all your products at their fingertips and enable them to receive products at their doorstep.

 

The road ahead

Digital transformation is now a necessity for firms to be relevant in a technology-embracing, agile and competitive world. Make the most of this phenomenon by understanding the shift, recognising the impediments, and devising strategies to overcome them

 

We wish you good luck for your digital endeavours. In the comments sections below, share how your firm has embraced digital transformation.

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GlobalLinker Staff

We are a team of experienced industry professionals committed to sharing our knowledge and skills with small & medium enterprises.

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