Running a business, in itself, is a pretty challenging task. A lot of factors, big and small, have the power to critically impact the present as well as the future of a business. Thus, an entrepreneur has to stay vigilant about all trends and accommodate them in his/her business from time to time to make the best of the situation.
Recent times have seen a robust advancement in fields of technology and digitization, which was only further, bolstered by the ongoing pandemic and the movement restrictions that it necessitated. While it is true that technological advancements impact all businesses’ functioning in a given industry at almost equal levels, the resources at disposal of all companies to accommodate the technological shift are not equal. Especially, when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses, their lack of monetary resources often poses a problem when it comes to large-scale shifts in the industry.
However, to remain and grow in the business game, firms, irrespective of their size, do not have many options but to keep pace with the changes. In this situation, some presence of mind and business acumen can help companies make up for their lack of monetary resources. If tackled strategically, the technical upgrade can be made easily even by small and medium businesses in a cost-effective way.
The scope of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation, in layman’s terms, means the infusion of technology into the everyday workings of a business. This can be done in several ways, and the way adopted depends largely on the nature of the business. Digitization aims at making, improving, and/or altering business processes to make them more efficient and economic. Digitalising work processes helps save time & cost to the company, and provides a better consumer experience, thereby contributing to the profits & growth of the company in the long term.
Covid’s impact on SMBs
The Covid pandemic, when it first hit us in 2020, brought the world to an abrupt standstill. Businesses and economies worldwide suffered heavy damage owing to the global halt to stop the spread of the virus. However, with almost two years into the pandemic, things are returning to their equilibrium. The pandemic has instigated several modifications in the lifestyle and choices of consumers. Thus, the world’s work processes have evolved considerably to accommodate these changes. One of the things that have become a part of the new normal includes the digitalization of most processes of a majority of businesses the world over.
As time spent amidst the pandemic increases, firms have rapidly upgraded their procedures and infused technology in them. The move has been necessitated by the pandemic as companies are experiencing a considerable shift from offline to online demand in the wake of the lockdowns and physical distancing norms. There is a constant need for companies to provide all services ranging from inquiries and information to grievance redressal online and to provide them in the most efficient & economic manner possible. Technology is the one-stop solution that checks all these points, and thus, businesses have infused cloud technology and tools in their service procedures in recent times.
Digital Transformation is the way forward for SMBs
The viral outbreak has provided small and medium-sized businesses a chance to gain an edge over their more established counterparts by incorporating technology faster and offering quicker services. As per a survey conducted by International Data Corporation in collaboration with Cisco, 69% SMBs have quickened their digitization processes to confront the challenges of the pandemic and will have digitalized almost 20% of their businesses by the end of 2021.
In recent times, several reports and statistical data have surfaced in favour of digitalization in businesses. The research conducted by IDC highlights that the SMBs that are evolving according to the digital requirements of the day generate up to 50% more sales and display enhanced productivity, while those in the lead have doubled their benefits.
This is because in changing times, people have grown to prefer mediums of operations that are efficient and save them as much time as possible. Technology such as cloud tools serve to provide just that kind of simple & efficient service and is thus, a great addition or up-gradation in a business context as with an increased provision of customer-centric services, companies can build a rapport with the customers and enhance customer loyalty.
Another added benefit of technology is the feasibility it offers. Technology allows businesses to be up and available with their customers 24×7, around the globe. This saves possible losses in terms of the sales that are not made because of the lack of round-the-clock availability in offline mediums. According to a report by McKinsey, 51% of small businesses use online mediums for a majority of their sales. The report also mentioned that small businesses use digital platforms and sales channels at par with larger firms and that they are also equally likely to generate more successful leads through online mediums.
Further, digitization can also work to introduce new customers to the business that may be otherwise lost due to geographical barriers in an offline situation. This gives small and medium businesses a competitive edge by enhancing their reach, both nationally and internationally, which is hard, if not impossible after a point, in solely offline business.
Yet another benefit of digitization, as highlighted in a survey by Deloitte, is that the overall digital processes and feedback also add to enhance product quality, increase revenues, amplify customer satisfaction, and bolster employee morale & productivity.
Lastly, digitalization also boosts the business on the marketing front, which is critical for making and enhancing a business’ presence in the market. In the present-day context, sales tactics of face-to-face pitches and cold calls are becoming increasingly ineffective since people feel annoyed by them. In this circumstance, the presence of a business on social media platforms, websites, blogs, newsletters, etc., can all work together to amplify the reach of the business and inform potential buyers about the offerings of the company.
The rapid technological development over the last few decades and the advent of the Covid pandemic has worked closely to increase the importance of digitization in the fields of commerce. More and more companies are switching to digital means for all their services ranging from sales of goods to customer feedback. With technology fast trending, there is an acute need for all businesses, including the small and medium ones, to incorporate it in their processes. As per the reports and analysis, it can be easily said that digitization is indeed the way forward for all businesses looking for growth and sustenance in the future.
The article has been written by RS Maan, Managing Director and Global Chief Revenue Officer, Codleo