The Significant role of technology in SMEs:
SMEs are small or medium-sized enterprises that have a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 250 employees. They are motors of growth, recovery, employment, and innovation. One of their chief virtues in today’s globalized economy is their flexibility, the ability to respond to market needs, deliver competitive, high-quality products and services. Technology is a milestone that helps to bolster the efficiency of business operations. MNCs strategically use technology to foster economic growth. MNCs have also been using technology to cut down insignificant expenses. MNCs have made a virtual working environment a reality.
To keep up the pace with growing MNCs and advanced technological strategies, SMEs should inculcate the usage of technology. Adopting technology is an immediate action SMEs need to take for their burgeoning growth and sheer development. It is beneficial for SMEs as it aids in increasing connectivity and provides them with ample advantages that make them go global. It is indeed a competitive advantage for the SMEs to utilize the technology.
Here are some significant reasons why SMEs should adopt the technology.
- Improves productivity, eliminates inaccuracy and saves time.
- Increases connectivity
- Enhances the consumer relationship
- Helps in establishing an employee-friendly environment.
- Helps to stay organized.
In SMEs the requirements are nominal yet technology is necessary to simplify the process further and benefit them. The selection and implementation of technology should be based on existing issues that are to be resolved rather than pondering over the overall business impacts. SMEs need to develop strategic evaluation methods to select technology.
How does the use of technology reshape SMEs?
What is automation?
Automation is the technique of making a process to operate on its own. It is to make something happen automatically and without manual intervention.
Automation can be the ‘Game changer‘ for SMEs. This can greatly help in preventing inefficiency and improve productivity. It can result in accurate reports and can cut down the chances of error or inaccuracy, making the tasks seamlessly effortless by performing recurring operations digitally, thereby reducing the workflow. It is highly reliable and scalable.
Examples of how it benefits SMEs:
Helps in performing tasks productively in a short interval of time. It reduces the paperwork and results in a paperless office that simplifies data organization and distribution. Automates the insignificant tasks such as transferring data and making data replications and hence allowing organizations to concentrate more on core activities.
It digitalizes the job of keeping track of the payments, transactions, etc. Reduces the burden of the employees and also eliminates the need to hire more employees. It is a boon to the SMEs as it handles the fluctuations, meeting the demands, and helps the company to adapt according to the timely changes in the market.
How MNCs are benefited from automation?
- To develop cost-effective and robust transportation methods for employees.
- GPS-based tracking systems to track packages in case of delivery of goods.
- Designing effective billing systems.
Optimizing the remote resources:
SMEs need to change their perspective of viewing and using skills. Technology helps companies to get access to remote sources and remote workers. It provides connectivity with talented and skilled employees at distant locations that can benefit the company by contributing part-time. It promotes work from home and virtual business meetings that saves a lot of expenses since the companies need not squander their money in renting offices and buying expensive devices and equipment. It opens the door to efficient yet facile methods of communication. Appropriate strategies can be developed and implemented to exploit expertise talent.
Buyers are benefited:
CRM (customer relationship management)is an important sector of SMEs that need to be targeted. Organizations can exploit their technological resources to reach out to customers. Buyers are the fuel to the organization and so it is inevitable for the brands to provide a better experience to their buyers and to build a long-lasting relationship with them. Customers appreciate the prompt response to queries and agile responses from the sellers. Technological resources like chatbots and AI helps the brands to achieve the satisfaction of their customers.
SMEs are ought to leverage the technologies at their hand to help the buyers keep track of the status of their purchase. It can be wisely used to devise new methods to deliver customer services and acquiring trust. Meeting the buyers’ expectations is highly important. This enables the SMEs to attract new buyers, retain their customers, and make their brand a popular and highly recommended one thereby resulting in the sales growing rapidly.
Employer friendly environment :
It permeates the data and information to all employees at the required time improving cooperation and collaboration during group projects. It not only benefits the customers, but SMEs also need to concentrate on their employees who are a great asset to them. Employee satisfaction, happiness, health, and work environment are to be taken into consideration since the employees form the backbone of the brands. AI can be employed to meet the employee needs such as fuel and travel reimbursement, keeping track of the holidays taken by them, and suggesting them to take an off if they haven’t taken, computing their achievements, managing the incentives and appraisals, ensuring the well-being of the employees.
AI can also be employed to hire employees with the best skills and talents. This benefits the company since the employees will be well suited and perfect for the job and can be retained for a longer period since hiring using AI techniques provide accuracy and are reliable. It benefits the employees by keeping track of the progress of their tasks, deadlines, and date of completion of projects and tasks and makes the process of eliminating errors agile and cost-effective, helping the employees by taking away the burden.
High profits and ROI :
Budget planning, investments, and shares can be efficiently and swiftly managed through digitization. Attracting buyers, sales, marketing and e-commerce can be done through this. It is quite inexpensive and affordable yet scalable. It is a misconception that employing technology is expensive. Technology is a one-time investment that is capable of fetching fruitful results, burgeoning sales, and leading to an increase in profits. Analysation and prediction of outputs are accurate and facile with technology thereby increasing the profits and consequently taking care of ROI (return of investment)
Integration and partnership:
Technology application is an added advantage and is a gold mine when it comes to interaction with business partners and collaborators. It provides the means to virtually share and interact. It is a piece of cake for collaborators to communicate and discuss through these simplified methods at their convenience. As the process of collaboration and integration is simplified it opens the door to such opportunities benefiting the SMEs since they can get insights from MNCs and collaborate with their business partners for accomplishing their goals. It enables entrepreneurs to communicate directly with funders and potential clients. They don’t need to get face to face updates any more.
Procurement management can be easily handled by AI as it integrates the business partners and enables SMEs to communicate efficiently and swiftly eliminating unwanted delays.
Marketing and digital advertising:
Technologically inclined brands have a faster and wider reach. Digital business models are often successful and accurate. SMEs need to explore technologies like IoT and robotics for more automated processes, analytics for deeper understanding, cloud computing, data science, and big data to organize, structure, and format data.
TECHNOLOGIES TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY SMEs:
- Artificial intelligence
- Cloud computing
- Big data
- 3D printers
- Virtual reality
- Augmented reality
- Developing of sharing economy
- Digital supply chain (DSC)
Many SMEs stay away from technology due to the fear of high investments and complexity. This puts them at the risk of having left behind. SMEs should not hesitate to invest in technology. Automating the workflow amplifies the efficiency. It is time to get the ball rolling and take a big leap to reap the fruit of success. It might result in drastic changes that might be highly beneficial.
Below are some fundamental tips for the SMEs to keep in mind while adopting and implementing technology:
- SMEs need to realize that technology is sales-driven i.e, based on the efficiency of the sales team and not based on their needs.
- Due to complexity should not overshoot the expenses that might eventually lead to dropping the idea.
- Do not get trapped in security guilts and overspend on something that is not required.
- Ad hoc adoption of technology rather than step by step adoption is highly recommended.
- It is significant for the SMEs to split and implement technology that goes with their budgets.
- Completely digitizing frontends can be an unexpected factor that leads to development.
SMEs should be ready to reach out to get guidance from experienced MNCs or consultants in the field to adopt the technology. SMEs should not constraint themselves to imply technology as a one time process. It is equally important for the SMEs to stay tuned with the technological investments and keep updating accordingly. Though adopting technology might be expensive it is undoubtedly an inevitable factor for SMEs to reach great heights and flourish.