BEFORE the pandemic, most small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would concentrate on traditional ways of taking their business to the next level and were slow to give their commitment to digital transformation as a solution.
According to a report by SME Corp Malaysia, in 2020, about 77% of SMEs remained at the basic digitalisation stage which means these companies only have a website, according to the report. Only 53.9% were present on the internet in 2019.
In a June 2021 report, the World Bank pointed out that adopting digital tools are not only beneficial for sales and marketing functions, but also allow for remote work arrangements and the introduction of new products.
At the same time, it also highlighted that “Malaysian firms, especially SMEs, lag behind their global peers on productivity measures and have lower rates of technology adoption.”
A joint survey by Huawei and the Malaysian government in 2018 showed that SMEs are reluctant to transform due to the lack of financing and their workers’ skills.
About 50% of them listed capital as their main setback, while 60% had no idea about any relevant financing methods.
Another obstacle was Malaysia’s internet speed and price, with 44% of the SMEs saying that the high costs of maintaining such high-end services deterred them from considering cloud services. Furthermore, 48% of SME owners raise the fact that their employees lacked the technical skills required to go digital.
The survey also noted that many of the employers have little to no technical skills and many of these SMEs simply do not know how and where to start digitalising.
Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia SMEs committee chairman Koong Lin Loong noted that digitalisation is just one of the solutions for SMEs to help improve the quality of the products or services, increase efficiency, reduce manpower or smoothen the process of serving the customers.
Growth through digitalisation
In order to encourage more SMEs to start their digital transformation, the Government launched the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) as an all-inclusive and holistic approach towards the country’s economic recovery.
For SMEs, Penjana has solved the biggest problem in their need to go digital, which is cost.
A number of SMEs have already taken the opportunity to start digitalisation along their digital transformation journey.
Take for instance YongCL Engineering Sdn Bhd’s Melissa Yong San San, who took over the mechanical engineering services company from her father.
While she faced initial challenges in setting up hybrid work environments, specifically in monitoring and managing staff work hours, she persevered and found solutions to overcome the obstacle via various government incentives for digital business solutions implementation and better online connectivity.
She shared, “Implementing change has been challenging, but I’m glad that after much research, I found I can apply modern solutions to ease my work processes and solve problems conveniently. We are digitalising our business. The pandemic has brought on challenges, but problems are opportunities for even more success.”
SME telecommunications consultation services provider Connect Think Sdn Bhd, on the other hand, took the leap to digitalisation before the pandemic started, starting with providing the necessary tools for company staff to do their jobs effectively, even when working remotely. These include mobility tools such as Office 365, mobile phones, work laptops and high-speed connectivity.
“We really need to digitalise our business for us to actually sustain. Now is the best time to adopt various digital services as the government has provided multiple incentives in partnership with various agencies and corporations,” Tan said.
He added that there is a wide and affordable range of flexible business plans and connectivity packages with competitive rates today that businesses can leverage on.
Enterprises can now save up to 30% for a year via Penjana, when they sign up for the Celcom Business Suite.
Designed especially for SMEs, this suite packages several productivity applications and aims to provide business owners the agility to monitor and manage their stocks, their financials and also their employee needs.
Celcom Business Suite’s premier plan, the Alpha Pack, offers top speed connectivity with its Celcom Business Wireless Gold 150GB.
Entrepreneurs can gain full access to the flexible, scalable Microsoft 365 Business Basic cloud service, where they can host and run web services and even create custom features.
This will help increase productivity, as manual and repetitive day-to-day tasks are automated, thus opening up time for more value-added activities that boost their company’s profitability.
In order to ensure employees have everything they need to do their jobs, including all essential HR-related requirements, business owners will also gain access to the Celcom HR Biz Suite Basic, which gives them full control over a host of human resource services.
The suite also offers an SMS broadcast platform called Enterprise Bulk Messaging, for business owners to send out targeted or bulk messages to their customers.
SMEs can also use a flexible digital payment solution that accepts cash, card, digital and NFC payments. It has e-wallet features, manages inventory and organises bookkeeping.
Get serious about digitally transforming your business. Call Celcom at 019-601 1111, visit https://business.celcom.com.my/sme to learn more.