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SMEs urged to continue digital transformation journey

SMEs urged to continue digital transformation journey

Cyberjaya, 19 July 2020 – Small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”) are urged to continue with their digital transformation journey even after conclusion of imposed restricted mobility resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

With expected return to business as usual as the pandemic continues to show signs of easing in the country, SMEs may find no urgency to implement digital transformation.

SMEs need to view digitalisation as a critical step to increase business and operational resiliency as well as enhance productivity during these unprecedented and challenging times, said Nuraslina Zainal Abidin, Group Managing Director of Genaxis Group, and also Chief Executive Officer of IA Consulting Sdn Bhd (“iAC”).

“It is possible that SMEs do not fully understand the importance of digital transformation, and the small first steps they need to take to implement digital transformation,” she said.

“We observe that in large organisations, there is no deferment in digital transformation efforts. After conclusion of imposed restricted mobility, it is actually the opposite. Most large companies are accelerating their digitalisation initiatives. A typical five-year digital transformation journey, is now being accelerated to three years or less.,” she added.

According to Nuraslina, companies who continue to pursue digital transformation need to focus on enhancing customer experience at every touchpoint with their customers on the digital platform. This is to take advantage of the new norm where clients turn to mobile or internet platform to make purchases. SMEs will definitely benefit in reaching more customers and reducing operational costs by changing to digital platform to offer product or deliver services.

“For SMEs to adopt digitalisation of business, they must first understand the business priorities that requires digitalisation either to help in lowering operational costs, acquiring new target customers, launching a new line of product or services or optimising resource,” she said.

In addition, SMEs need to understand that through digitalisation they will have access to valuable data including profile of target customers, where they are as well as what they are buying and buying patterns. These data can serve as valuable input in production planning, product or service design and even channel of marketing for SME product and services.

“Most SMEs will opt for workers layoff due to cash flow constraints as a result from the pause of the last five months. Therefore, they need drastic measures to reduce costs and embark on a new business model,” said Nuraslina.

SMEs also need to relook at processes within their organisation that contribute to the highest costs.

“The pause we had during the pandemic should reset our perspectives on the way we have been running our business. We should take the opportunity to clean up, remove critical barriers for growth in our business and choose the right digital technology as the enabler to reach our new goals,” she said.

Digital transformation does not need to come at a huge cost.

“SMEs should not perceive digital transformation move as capital intensive. There are many options provided by many cloud service providers who offer digitalisation of business as a service. They can choose the subscription model to jumpstart their digitalisation. Start with small packages, celebrate small successes of digital journey and gradually grow the digital reach within your company. It is a journey. Set a timeframe for the journey, define what we want to achieve within the timeframe and once you achieve it, start all over again. Staying agile is the new sustainable business model,” Nuraslina added.

Genaxis and iAC, subsidiaries Dagang NeXchange Berhad (“DNeX”), offer services ranging from system integration, consultancy and project management for IT, software and applications development, as well as other IT-related services. iAC has also launched the iaCloud services offering business digitalisation tools as a subscription model including ERP, HR, Virtual Assistance and Digital Learning.