What does digital transformation mean to SME
Businesses of all sizes have one thing in common: their need for digitisation has never been greater.
The pandemic has proven how vital technology is in our everyday lives and we’ve seen a rapid acceleration in the use of technology and a change in the way we use it across every sector. Which means that businesses who aren’t already on their digital transformation journeys are at real risk of being left behind.
For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it’s about understanding how digitising can help them address specific business objectives. Whether that’s building an online presence, improving processes and controlling costs or ensuring the workforce is happy and productive. It could even be all of these things.
The problem is that many are concerned about the cost and a lack of in-house knowledge 1 . Yet SMEs need digital transformation to be the innovator in their space. Taking a “wait and see” approach will only give advantage to their competitors.
Focus on the unknown
Coping with change is key to the success of any organisation, but especially smaller businesses.
The uncertainty of the past year means that long-term plans are a thing of the past, SMEs need to be ready to pivot to achieve future growth and prosperity.
Speaking with Shazam Co-Founder, Dhiraj Mukherjee, at our recent #ThoseWhoDare event, he explained how people like familiarity and predictability, but the world doesn’t work that way. So, SMEs need to think about what they don’t know and prepare for that.
Focus on the unknowns by asking better questions, attract talent comfortable with an uncertain and dynamic working environment, and be agile in the way you work.
We’ve seen many businesses adapt their models during the pandemic, becoming more digital through the use of apps and online transactions but it doesn’t stop there. Or at least, it shouldn’t. It’s about creating a mindset of persistence across the whole organisation.
For Eddie Hearn, Global Sports Promoter at Matchroom Sport, and his team, they had to adapt and respond to how tech savvy customers have become. Looking at how sport matches can be more interactive and using the position of things like microphones and cameras to bring the (boxing) ring to life.
As organisations face more competition and rapid shifts in what their customers need and want – technology is now an integral part of the solution.
Keeping up with your customers
Businesses are under continuous pressure to meet changing consumer demands but keeping up is a hard task to master.
It’s critical that SMEs understand how to address trends and movements that might be changing what customers want and need.
Speaking with Adam Brown, Founder and Creative Director of Orlebar Brown, at our #ThoseWhoDare event, we discussed how the company had to change the way it spoke to customers during the pandemic.
As a swimwear brand, messaging is usually about travel and sunshine, but instead it had to shift the focus to how customers could ‘holiday better’ and used rich messaging tools like WhatsApp, to stay connected with customers.
Changes from the pandemic, both at home and work, will have an ongoing impact on how businesses and consumers work, interact and socialise in the future.
In this “new normal” SMEs need to learn how to identify the opportunities and act on them. Key to this is leveraging the data that’s already available and making sure it’s used across everything in the business.
Small business, big data
Big Data is quickly transforming nearly every industry by providing actionable business information. Because of its effectiveness, even business leaders who are generally slow to adopt new technology are curious about how they can use this technology.
The right data provides a better understanding of the customer; who they are and what they need, how to minimise your costs, and how to make your business run smoother.
For example, Spotify uses rich first-party data to help businesses tell their story to listeners. With a deep understanding of what its listeners like and what they’re interested in, the streaming service uses this information to serve up audio content it knows they’ll love, including adverts.
Sarah Keifer, Global Director of Enterprise Marketing at Spotify Advertising, led a session during our #ThoseWhoDare event explaining how it offers this as a service to the brands it works with, giving them access to that data too and the targeting opportunities, helping them to connect with the right audience in the right location at the right time.
This brings added value to Spotify as a business, but also supports its customers by minimising their costs while still creating a high impact.
At Vodafone, we use Big Data to help our customers make decisions about their business and strategies with aggregated and anonymous insights gathered from our mobile customers. From real estate to, most recently, working with UNICEF to help governments around the world understand the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.
When paired with other technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Cybersecurity, data can start to work harder for you and begin to drive more autonomous processes. Meaning your time is freed up to focus on what you’re really passionate about.
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