DIGITALISATION has swept through Southeast Asia to become a focal point for companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in a competition to be at the forefront of the digital rat race.
New technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain technology and robotic process automation - unfamiliar terms up until a couple of years ago - have now become fast-moving trends among businesses.
In addition, with the rapidly rising internet and smartphone penetration rates, coupled with a growing middle class that is increasingly digital-savvy, e-commerce has become an especially thriving industry in Malaysia.
SMEs know that the path forward is clear. In order to grow in the current era, it is of paramount importance that they embrace and integrate digitalisation into their day-to-day operations.
As much as digitalisation has impacted the global industry, there is still much to do to ensure SMEs ride the wave for growth.
According to SME Corporation Malaysia and Huawei Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd’s Digitalisation Survey of SMEs in 2018, SMEs recorded limited usage of technology for front-end business processes with 70.5% of respondents using social media and 43.8% leveraging e-commerce.
This means that smaller businesses still find it difficult to grow past the basic mode of selling, typically through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Moreover, there are so many aspects to growing a digital business that most do not even know where to begin.
For back-end business processes, the study cited 50.2% of respondents using financing and accounting technology and 28.8% using human resource solutions, which meant that the majority of SMEs have not moved towards modernising their businesses despite being aware of the need to do so.
Through its holistic CIMB SME proposition, which comprises SME Financing, SME Transact and SME Partners, CIMB Bank has gone beyond offering financing to also offer business solutions to its SME customers. This acknowledges the fact that basic financing is only one part of the equation to facilitate the growth of SMEs,
The goal, the bank stated, is not only to help customers with the basic aspects of their businesses, but also to support the government’s initiative to grow Malaysian SMEs in the 21st century.
In its aim to become the partner of choice for SMEs wishing to start or expand their businesses, CIMB is working towards setting up a one-stop centre that provides all relevant solutions to its customers who own a CIMB Business current account.
By working with partners, the bank enables its SME customers access to a vibrant ecosystem of enhanced and integrated business solutions that offer better pricing, ranging from payment and collection to marketing and digital solutions, as well as connectivity, insurance and trade solutions.
To tap into new opportunities in the attractive and lucrative e-commerce hotbed and gain access to the global market, for instance, SMEs can leverage on CIMB SME Partner Shopmatic’s expertise to easily create websites with integrated payment solutions.
Thanks to its ready website templates, businesses can learn techniques to set up their digital storefront through the Shopmatic e-commerce consulting team’s exclusive webinars and start selling online - creating an additional revenue channel - in less than 30 minutes.
Establishing an e-commerce footprint is just the beginning, however, as SMEs need to establish a strong digital presence to ensure their businesses stand out from the crowd. In this, CIMB Bank’s partner Exabytes Digital can help SMEs expand brand awareness to the market and boost sales with a complete digital marketing package.
Founded to help SMEs grow their businesses online, Exabytes Digital was chosen as a Google Premier Partner offering Google Ads Online Advertising in 2015 and is the Alibaba.com channel partner for Malaysia. It also provides search engine optimisation services, LinkedIn advertisements, call tracking and Facebook advertising.
To find out more about CIMB SME Partners, visit https://www.cimbbank.com.my/en/business/products/sme-banking/sme-partners.html.