Adapting digital to your growth stage
13 April 2017

SMEs that find 2017 difficult to navigate can turn to improving their digital capabilities. By transforming their business, they can get a boost towards capturing the myriad of opportunities available in the regioni.


The good news for SMEs is that there are many solutions in the market that can help your business go digital.


The bad news? There are so many that it’s hard to sieve out what is good for your business, and what is not. Solutions can be cheap, but hardly fulfil your needs, or they can be pricey, but offer more functions than you need.


Start-ups as well as existing businesses need to create a smarter workspace to take advantage of these new opportunities.

Smart Start-up - Start with no excess baggage


The barriers-to-entry for a new business in Singapore are rising operational costs, a small talent pool and maintaining of cash flow that make it challenging for start-ups to operate or sustain.


However, as a start-up, you have a unique advantage that can help you beat the odds—time-to-market. Maximise your advantage by turning to e-commerce-a market that is expected (according to a report by Temasek and Googleii) to exceed $7b by 2025-to speed up the time it takes to get your products and services to market as quickly as possible.


By building your startup in Singapore, you also get instant access to cutting-edge technology. Besides fast growing internet penetration rates, the network quality here is also among the fastest in the world.

This gives you the opportunity to fully utilise network dependent applications like unified communications and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.


An example of a SaaS app is an automated payroll service, which helps you quickly deal with tedious compliance and regulations issues without being mired in paperwork.


Making full use of these technological advancements lets you focus on your business.


To help you on that end, the Singapore government has already started to kick-off the Startup SG brand, which promises to ease restrictions, remove red-tape, and provide easier access to Singapore’s large pool of funding. 

Smart Office - Evolving your business with digital


Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) has recently singled out SMEs’ need to improve on their digital capabilities. However, it isn’t just the implementation of new technology. It is about evolving how your business works with the help of technology.

In recent reports by IDC, less than 50% of the SMEs in Singapore are taking advantage of advanced technology to improve their business. iii

To avoid being left behind, SMEs can leverage on using technology like automation, e-commerce, collaboration and CRM software. These technologies can help to streamline operations, plus improve on areas like international competitiveness and customer experience.


In fact, in a recent survey conducted, 80% of SMEs pollediv believe that digital technology can benefit their business.

All your digital needs in one package


For growing businesses, SaaS applications not only help to reduce operational costs, it also provides the agility and flexibility of letting your employees work from anywhere, on any device.


To further cut down on costs, SMEs can look towards service providers that bundle reliable, essential infrastructure services—like broadband, mobile connectivity and web-based productivity applications—at a cost that is lower than getting individual services from different providers.


An often overlooked advantage is that businesses need only deal with a single service provider when issues regarding usability or billing arise, rather than multiple providers—saving on resources that can be spent on improving the business.

Smart Flexi-Worker - Discover new ways of working with digital


Mature companies have work cultures that took decades to form. However, they will need to evolve in order to keep up with a new generation of employees joining them.


These “digital natives”—people who grew up experiencing the benefits of digital—expect the convenience they experienced as a consumer to be available in the workplace.


To maximise the skills that they bring in or simply to accommodate the growing number of staff, SMEs in Singapore can start adopting the idea of mobile workers in their business.

Work from anywhere you want


To facilitate such arrangements, businesses are increasingly turning to unified communications and cloud-based applications that let employees stay contactable and productive from anywhere and on any device, without compromising security.


This would be in sync with Singapore’s Smart Nation goals to empower people using technology—to lead more fulfilled lives through flexible work arrangements and work-life balance.


Recent reports have also shown that it is the more agile SMEs that are leading the way in enabling this win-win situation for employers and employees alike.


Same solutions, different results


A major advantage of digitalisation is that it’s scalable. Technologies like SaaS and UC can be used across all growth stages with varying but positive impact on your business. For a startup, it can mean greater agility to pivot business models or make decisions instantly.


More mature businesses can use digitalisation as a way to reduce operational costs, while well-established companies can rely on digitalisation to provide them with a competitive edge over their competitors.


There is no shortage of opportunities and resources that SMEs can tap into. Invest in the right technologies in your appropriate growth stage and become a “Smarter Workspace”!


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