Customising solutions for SMEs

Make it clear: Lee (third from right) says telcos play a part in helping SMEs understand how digital solutions can help them.

Make it clear: Lee (third from right) says telcos play a part in helping SMEs understand how digital solutions can help them.

Providers should have a good understanding of customers’ pain points

IN this day and age, the concept of digitalising a business is no longer a foreign idea. Companies are expected to incorporate digital strategies into their operations in order to stay competitive and remain relevant.

As more and more companies, particularly SMEs, look into various ways to digitise their businesses, solution providers and telecommunication companies (telco) are also busy crafting out solution plans to meet their needs.

SMEs are spoilt for choice when it comes to product offerings.

Digi Telecommunication Sdn Bhd head of enterprise business Ignatius Lee notes that competition among telcos and solution providers is stiff as everyone tries to court potential customers.

The challenge for most SMEs, though, is that they don’t fully understand the solutions that are offered.

A viable plan: Digi has focused its strategy on helping SMEs on the mobility front. - Bloomberg
A viable plan: Digi has focused its strategy on helping SMEs on the mobility front. - Bloomberg

Industry leaders point out that small businesses often lack the right talent to bring them forward in this digital age. Most of them are unsure about what strategies to adopt, which solution to utilise and how to make full use of the potential that digital solutions offer them.

This will certainly hinder their journey to digitise their business and could potentially affect the overall performance of SMEs.

Note that the government has laid out a masterplan for the SME segment to contribute 41% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. SMEs’ contribution to the GDP last year was about 36.6%.

“There is an abundance of business solutions available in the market. However, these solutions need to consider the business problems that they are addressing,” says Lee.

He adds that most of the details for the myriad of solutions available in the market “sound the same” to SMEs anyway.

“If the person who is responsible for releasing the money to purchase these solutions is the chief information officer or chief technology officer, then perhaps, this could help SMEs get the right products to meet their needs.

“The problem is, 90% of the time, the person who is responsible for the decision to digitalise the business or to invest into additional digital solution is the chief executive officer or the chief financial officer, who may not necessarily have the knowledge to understand all the technology jargons and implications of the solutions,” he says.

This is where solution providers can help SMEs, notes Lee.

Putting a dent: A lack of understanding on digital solutions could affect the overall performance of SMEs.
Putting a dent: A lack of understanding on digital solutions could affect the overall performance of SMEs.

He says it is important for a solution provider or telco to not only be able to tell a company about the details of the solution it offers, but also about where the solution can bring the company to. SMEs need to be able to see the destination before diving into the digital journey because of the high cost involved with integrating new initiatives into their existing operations. Additionally, there is no certainty on how long it would take for them to recoup their investment.

Having the understanding of a company’s pain point will give solution providers or telcos an upper hand.

“Most telcos or solution providers make this common mistake of trying to offer companies with the most complicated and advanced solutions.

“It is like taking a taxi which offers to bring you to a destination. But as a passenger, you have questions like ‘where are we going’ and ‘why use this route’. And all the taxi driver can say is: I don’t know, but I have the best driving skills, the best air-conditioning, the most comfortable seats, a turbo engine and more,” he says.

For Digi, Lee says the telco has focused its strategy in helping SMEs on the mobility front.

“For us, the focus has always been about covering mobility from mobile plans to solutions and beyond to meet the requirements for small and large businesses. This includes intelligent fleet management solutions via our iFleet, metro-ethernet connectivity, machine-to-machine interface solutions, mobile payments and others.

“Digi has extensive fiber network of 8,000km that is growing every year, and this enables us to provide both reliable and secure solutions to our enterprise customers. 

“The destination that we want to take SMEs towards is a place of better productivity and higher output through our customised business solutions,” he says.

Lee emphasises that SMEs can no longer ignore the digital wave and that they need to change with the development of technology to remain relevant to consumers and the industry.

Having implemented some of its own digital strategies, the telco understands some of the pain points that need to be addressed for SMEs.

One of its latest products which Lee believes will be a big help to SMEs is its digital fleet management solution iFleet.

Lee explains that logistics play an important role in a company’s business operations and effective management of a company’s fleet can make a positive impact on the company’s revenue. Ifleet is a comprehensive fleet management system that allows businesses to manage their fleet effectively through digital solutions, which allows the business owner to locate their fleet in real-time, monitor drivers’ behaviour, control productivity, produce accident reconstruction reports and lower operation cost.

He advises business owners to be thorough with the offerings in the market to select a product that will help their businesses be more agile, efficient and connect better with their customers.

“This will give enterprise businesses unparalleled connectivity options, and access to advance technologies and key information that will enable them to simplify business processes and be more responsive to the customers,” he says.

Another key element in its support for an SME’s digital journey is in after-sales services.

“We understand that service and support is critical in meeting our enterprise customers’ business needs especially in solutions, and we are committed to the service levels that we have promised them. Selling a product is easy, but delivering the post-sales service can be a challenge for most solution providers or telcos.

“At Digi, effective and efficient operational support structures are in place to provide a positive customer experience. This will ensure all possible setbacks from the product or solution provided can be dealt with in a clear, speedy and responsive manner so that there will be no delay which may impact the customers’ operations,” says Lee.

telco , Digi