It is crystal clear enough to ‘go digital’ is not the entitlement for the major giants anymore, Small-to-Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) should seize this opportunity to harness the digital transformation to boost competitiveness in the market.

It’s been a while for business leaders listened to tales of disruption and seen how emerging technologies have fundamentally change the way of business landscapes that have drastically molded industries and turned the ranking of the world’s top companies upside down.

The game is now changing

Digital transformation trends for SMES in Singapore 2019

There’s no longer any room of tolerance for Small-and-medium Enterprises (SMEs) sitting on the fence but to act in order to compete in the globally volatile climate. The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Yet according to the recent report by EY company, over half of the SMEs in Singapore still in the early stages of digital maturity with digitalisation programs remaining largely unaligned with the broader enterprise strategy and multiple initiative running in parallel across business functions. The number of companies which adopt the mindset of wait-and-see are at risk of falling behind. The businesses which are now in the midst of the digital shift should leverage the available resources to accelerate its ability to succeed in the new era.

Digital technologies are all around everywhere and at the same time lowered the barriers to entry of accessibility for such small-and-medium enterprises able to reap from its benefit—if they realize the need to change.

Industry 4.0 is the digital age triggered the paradigm shift and is gearing up for disruption across every major industry.

Industry 4.0 is the next wave of industrial of revolution and is gearing up for disruption across every major industry.

Here are our viewpoints for SMEs to flourish and add insights while embarking on the digital transformation- Industry 4.0.

Ways for small business to thrive in industry 4.0 digital transformation
  1. Lead the digital transformation starting from an agile mindset

The mentality of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ should be removed. Change comes not by the yard but by the inch. Business must keep an open mind and understand the buy-in action will not directly come into result; it will sustain the company’s growth in the long run. The company needs to accept the fact of embracing digital innovations is not an endnote but a journey. Developing the agile mindset to apply the right leverage in the right place at the right time is the most significant tool to overcome obstacles.

  1. Customer-centric still the name of Industry 4.0

According to a study, by 2020, customer experience will become more important than not only price but also the product itself. Customer journey is still the name of the game – imperatives for all businesses especially now the battle of digital is getting fiercer than ever. Customer today is won and lost because of engagement. Decisions are made in the blink of an eye, real-time has become vital. Just imagine that your business will be growing at one time that you will have to deal with the increased number of clients that may cause bottlenecks to customer flow. In result, create prolonged wait times for customers. Without a proper customer management, company will be facing more than just the loss of revenue. Organizations will need to evaluate against the user’s experience throughout the entire digital product or service life cycle, incorporating the user’s feedback at every stage, instead of waiting till a finished product is in place.

  1. Keep an eye on the metrics to thrive in Industry 4.0

The prerequisites to amplify the benefits of returns on the investment of digital strategy is to develop a strong foundation of data-driven culture. The lack of statistics measurements would drive businesses to the brink of failure. The more relevant the KPI is to the business itself, the more likely it is to be a good measure of success. Always keep in mind that we are flying blind if we don’t collect metrics. So, it is vitally important to look at the right Key Performance Indicator (KPI) instead of randomly pick up any KPI just for the sake of having them. In the end, it must come to the purpose of helping you to reach your desired goal. It is always good to start thinking of the metrics that matter the most to your business and choose KPI to enhance business operations. Lastly, don’t forget KPIs need to be very specific and make sure targets should be addressed to each key audience as well as for the team. How do you know it’s working? A successful one will help you keep on track on the business performance and ensure every team member is aligned with overall business metrics.

  1. Prioritize leadership in digital transformation

Based on a finding “Singapore employees do not feel empowered to meet the demands of the digital workplace” It is very crucial that business should think about how to empower leadership among the workforce especially in this critical moment when workers and digital technologies must come together in order to achieve something great. We are now in the age of digital Darwinism when we could just accept the fact of ‘adapt or die’. Leadership plays a significant role in any company whether it’s in big or small scale. It is no longer a top-down bureaucracy. It entails engagement, collaboration, and participation among the team members. Living in the ever-changing age, it’s not possible for the leader to know everything thus leaders need to delegate work in order to keep pace with the disruption.

  1. Harness the tool of digital age

SMEs must adopt technology to its fullest extent in order to gain a competitive edge in the emergence of digital transformation. The operating model of the business is necessary to accommodate to this fast-changing environment. Adopting a digitally operational system will ensure the SMEs owners focus on their energy, gaining better insights on delivering greater customer service and scaling made easy. For example, SMEs can tap on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System, which was invented to serve the major giants but as the pervasiveness of technology leads to greater access in terms of affordability, it’s becoming widely available to SMEs. The ERP system comes with a range of the integration of finance, HR, supply chain management, e-commerce, e-POS which bridge SMEs seamlessly with technologies by increasing revenue and business bottom-line, growing business visibility, improving customer relationship, experiencing the comfort of working on the go and the most importantly ensuring great visibility across all departments. It works as an active enabler for SMEs to run business anytime anywhere.

  1. Digital transformation is NOW

It is perfectly clear that many businesses are now standing in shifting sand, it’s a now or never game to bring the business to the next level. Yesterday’s operating models that were once safe don’t win today games. No matter how big your company is, using the old method to operate the business will soon or later be wiped out in this age of superhighway.

Keep in mind the point we addressed in this article as it can help you to get prepared in this digital shift. To survive in the battlefield of the digital age, businesses must be bold to be the fast-follower to reinvent both their business models and adopt digital technologies as what the Ex-CEO of Samsung, Kwon Oh-Hyun said to his staff:

“We should adapt ourselves to the new environment instead of sticking to our success in the past. I believe now is the time for us to turn ourselves into a first mover from a fast follower.”

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