The importance of digital transformation can no longer be overlooked today, and indeed, more and more companies are upgrading their processes to be digitised. However, some are still struggling to shift to digital technology.
What could be the reason behind this? Answer: Poor digital IQ among today’s enterprises.
A recent report by PwC confirms this. According to the study, 52% of executives surveyed rated their companies as having a strong digital IQ. This is a significant departure from the 67% who said their digital IQ was strong in 2016.
Why the change? And where does that leave the other half of those surveyed? While not entirely behind because of efforts in digitising systems, these companies are still struggling to keep up with technological advances, and could not quite harness and profit from these tools.
Making SMEs more agile
SMEs, in particular, have a key role to play in making Southeast Asia a hotbed of game-changing technologies. They are agile and actively pursue expansion plans. To get them going, however, they need a clear-cut digital strategy to boost their digital IQ. Here are some strategies that will help SMEs with their digital transformation:
1. Find out exactly which specific digital strategies work. SMEs should not make the mistake of investing on a complicated digital platform that will just confuse them. “The only digital investments you should make are those that fit well with your organisation strategically. Something might be cutting-edge technology, but if it doesn’t help your organisation achieve a strategic business objective, it should not be a priority for adoption,” writes Bernard Marr in Forbes. In other words: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
2. The whole company should embrace the idea of digital transformation. The reason why some SMEs couldn’t quite start their digital journey is because a considerable number of their employees are not clued in on what it’s about. Make sure that everyone in your company—from the CIO to the interns—fully comprehends what going digital means for the future of the business. If everyone is not on board, perhaps it’s time to review where the source of apprehension is coming from and find ways to address it immediately.
3. Identify problems that can be answered by digital solutions. Identifying what the SME needs by way of digital solutions is the first step in boosting the company’s digital IQ. If people see the value of digital transformation in their workplace, then they will probably see the immediate need for change. Get feedback from every segment of your company. Identify gaps in the operations. This way, everyone gets a firsthand feel of digital transformation. Digitisation, then, ceases to be an abstract concept and becomes something practical and necessary.
4. Tap digital initiatives outside your company. Take lessons from digital disruptors. These experts will be able to advise your company on cost-effective options available in your industry, and may anticipate future gaps and threats to the business. Since digital disruption is a reality, it would be wise to see how this can impact your work and prepare you for any technological challenges. There’s no harm in reaching out to digital disruptors and asking them for tips, especially if this can spell whether or not your SME can thrive in the market.
There’s no harm in reaching out to digital disruptors and asking them for tips, especially if this can spell whether or not your SME can thrive in the market.
What’s next for SMEs
As Southeast Asia becomes a rising hub for SMEs, businesses must look at digital technology as a long-term investment, rather than a luxury add-on. This way, they can have better opportunities to expand their local presence and compete with the big players in the market.