What does digital transformation mean for SMEs?
Digital transformation is a term that has been bandied about for the last few years, but what does it actually mean and why should small to medium-sized businesses care?
On a personal level, you are probably so used to being contactable anytime from anywhere, that it’s hard to imagine a time before mobile phones and the internet. As your workforce gets younger, expectations are similarly rising. Millennials walking into a new job, even with a small company, will expect a laptop and mobile phone as standard, considering them basic tools of the trade. On a global scale we are doing more – and doing it faster. In the old days, correspondence with one person could last weeks and months by snail mail to resolve a single matter. Today, how many emails do you get through in a single day solving a multitude of questions and problems?
Pressure for SMEs to evolve
Being a small, growing company doesn’t make you immune from the changing face of business. If anything, you’re expected to embrace digital transformation with arms wide open precisely because you are small. You’re no longer tied back by hefty on-premise infrastructure with lengthy deployments at exorbitant costs.
Software as a service models have made it affordable and easy to pay-as-you-go with flexible terms, so you’re not held back by the size of your business. And with customer acquisition being the number one priority for small and medium-sized companies this year according to an SAP and IDC study, cloud technology is helping startups to perform with speed and agility and even compete with the giants in their industries.
So what areas of your business have changed thanks to the digital revolution?
Think about how the systems in your business have evolved in the last ten years. This could be collaboration software and calendars for employees. At 60%, these have the highest penetration within SMBs according to the SAP research.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software comes next followed by eCommerce platforms that allow customers to order from you online at any time of day while streamlining the backend process for the business. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) to manage the financials of a company is also growing, as well as the rise of HR and marketing automation tools.
In fact, recent research revealed that most SMBs use a minimum of three cloud-based tools and this number is only expected to rise.
You’re already adopting and enjoying so many fruits of the digital age, often without realising – and digital transformation is not as scary as it sounds. So, are you still resisting change and which areas of your business are ripe for transformation?
Concur is a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions, helping drive costs out of businesses through innovation.
Dafydd Llewellyn is Managing Director of the UK SMB and Nationals team at Concur. For 13 years he’s been a central part of Concur’s success in the UK, helping businesses automate their complex expense and invoice processes. He’s seen the industry evolve from on-premise software to cloud solutions and, as someone who has spent years on the road, he’s passionate about how mobile technology can improve the lives of business travellers. When he’s not analysing figures and setting strategy, you can find him spending quality time with his family and friends, or walking his dog.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the commercial partner and not necessarily those of ICAS.