PETALING JAYA: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) must integrate technology into all aspects of their businesses for sustained growth, say industry experts.
Digi chief business officer Eugene Teh, a panellist at the SOBA LAB’s Engine of Growth panel discussion, said a common hurdle is the mindset that technology adoption is costly, or that it is not the right time due to current market conditions.
While companies understand the importance of technology in their businesses, smaller companies might not know where to begin.
SMEs should break down the complexities around digitisation by looking into what they want to achieve and implement small projects to pave the way for further technology adoption.
“If they take it one step at a time, the journey is less harrowing. Find small projects that prove to you that technology helps save costs and creates value. Used correctly, it can help grow the business,” he said at the recent SOBA LAB PJ, held in Menara Star here.
The panel discussion, moderated by Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia secretary-general Don Nazwim Don Najib, also included RHB Bank Bhd commercial banking head Azlina Safian and PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd COO P’ng Tean Hau.Azlina agreed that SMEs are often hampered by the lack of a track record and data when seeking financing, but stressed that technology can help in cash flow management and will help them become more bankable.
“SMEs need to realise early that they have to forecast cash flow on a yearly basis. It may be painful that banks ask for cash flow projection, but it encourages diligence in knowing the areas that will impact it,” she said.
Cash flow crunch often happens when payment is delayed, which is why SMEs must constantly keep an eye on the financials to prepare for any eventuality that may occur, in order to stay the tide during yearly non-peak periods. Technology can play a key role in enabling them to prepare for these cash flow cycles.P’ng, on the other hand, focused on the role of culture in organisations as a differentiator in talent management.
“Culture sets the standards and guidelines for what is acceptable in the organisation. It needs to be taught and encouraged continuously, with supervisors walking the talk for the rest to follow,” he said.
Enabling usage of Facebook for work sets the tone for open and effective communication and a direct feedback loop for improvement, as well as positive productive impact. In the long run, this can help shape the culture of a company from within.
Attendees to SOBA LAB PJ also obtained insights from Prof Muhaya Eye & Lasik Centre Sdn Bhd CEO Muhammad Addaem Mikhail Chandran, Senheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd founder and managing director Lim Kim Heng and Hernan Corporation Sdn Bhd founder and chief executive officer Anna Teo.
In addition, attendees were able to learn about navigating the financial maze for growing businesses from Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd bumiputra development and products senior vice president Mohamed Azman Mohamed Taufik.
The first in a series of free capacity building workshops organised by Star Media Group Bhd, SOBA LAB is held in conjunction with The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2019.Following the PJ stop, SOBA LAB will be held in Ipoh (July 24), Johor Baru (Aug 1) and Penang (Aug 8).
SOBA 2019 is organised by Star Media Group with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd as co-sponsor and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation as official trade promotion partner.
It is endorsed by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO, with dimsum as the official media partner.
For more information on SOBA 2019, call The Star Events Business Unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1857 (Pei Wen) / 1529 (Kimy) or visit www.soba.com.my .