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SMB (Small and Medium Business) is the backbone of the Indian economy and makes up a major part of employment and GDP contribution. SMB’s also provides large employment opportunities and helps in the upliftment of rural and semi-urban areas. SMB’s complements large industries by providing ancillary products and services thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

The current pandemic and resultant economic situation have forced SMBs owners to adopt technology and start their digital transformation journey earlier than expected.

Pandemic has changed the business are operating and new methods of managing a business are emerging. Decision-makers are reevaluating the way they work not only to grow the business but also to ensure long term survival against known and unknown forces that are unfolding.

It is unimaginable to foresee the impact this crisis would have on business across sectors nationally as well as globally.

In every country, we saw a dramatic drop in sales across all industries and sectors. Businesses of all shapes and sizes had to adjust to the rapidly changing markets.

Since the pandemic large enterprises have made rapid changes in using digital technology like never before. They have been fast in leveraging technologies that facilitate digital communication, work from home, and collaboration among teams. Increased online presence and provided online access to products to customers.

Large companies have been able to mitigate the risk and have seen this situation as an opportunity which is not the case for SMBs. SMBs have to realize that this rapid and subtle shift in the digitization of the economy is a challenge in short term but a huge opportunity in the medium to long term as it provides access to new markets and geographies at much lesser cost and time.

Need for Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is required to interact with customers, teams, and vendors alike. It also needs to streamline business processes and organize the data.

Before the pandemic digitalization as a competitive advantage was acknowledged by very few companies. Few SMBs were adapting to the new orders, but major companies were yet to take initial steps in digital transformation. 

Major reasons acting as a hindrance in adopting digitization were fear to change the existing order, understanding of digital technology, data security, and unskilled manpower.

Business owners were stuck in their daily routine and their response used to be like ‘This is how we have been working and it is fine, why to change’ however, going digital often offers a way of working smarter and faster which releases owners time to focus on analysis and strategy.

The cost of going digital being another reason business owners postponed Digitalization, but there is always a way around by starting small and scale up in a staggered manner. The key here to put a long-term vision and strategy in place before starting the digital transformation journey.

Take small firm steps

Once you have framed the digital transformation strategy and facing cost constraints the best thing is to start by taking a small first step. The first step should be aimed at bringing efficiency in customer interaction because that is the most impactful area for every business. Success is adding value to customers will also increase confidence in understanding the potential of digital transformation.

Digitalization is about adapting the technology-driven business processes across all business functions, rethink existing processes, and see what is working best for your organization keeping culture and best practices intact. Idea is to become more responsive to your customer's needs and competition strategies.

Till pandemic stuck digital transformation was seen more as an option and not seen necessary for SMB’s. With lockdowns, the second wave in hindsight and work from home digitalization has become critical than ever for our work and home life.

Need to stay responsive

The current times have disrupted supply chains, changed customer behavior, and expectations, and made physical meetings less frequent and unpredictable.

Organizations have to make rapid changes in order to respond to supply chain disruptions and increasing customer expectations. The quick response across all business functions in these changing dynamics is the most critical component in the survival of an organization.

Organizations that have embraced digital will not only survive but thrive

SMB’s method of operating differs from sector to sector but going digital has no choice in post-pandemic times. SMB Organizations has to rapidly learn to reinvent the way they engaged with customer, vendors, and employees. Businesses selling in-store and offline are forced to sell online.

Reaching out to customers at their homes through online marketplaces, own e-commerce websites, and mobile applications is an advantage over competitors during these times.

Digital transformation can open up huge opportunities for SMBs. One being able to compete against large competitions which were not possible earlier. The digital world provides equal opportunity to small and large companies in reaching out and fulfilling a customer need. A lot of new generation brands are taking a digital-only approach taking digitalization to an extreme end.

Data is the new OIL and digital tools help SMBs in making data-driven decisions, increase productivity by streamlining business processes while operating at a lower cost.

Digitalization helps in understanding customer needs and behavior and increases competitive advantage. By adopting new technology and adopting digital, SMBs increase agility to facilitate innovation in the future.

How do we achieve Digitalization?

Digitalization is a change that is easier said than done. Having identified the need it is important to how it can be achieved.

Every business is centered around fulfilling customer needs and creating delight. Digital transformation should create a better customer experience.

Begin with evaluating your current business processes and evaluate how technology can weed out inefficiencies and maximize the output. The focus should be to create simpler and efficient processes for users.

Do not invest in technology for the sake of doing it or because everyone else is doing it. Technology will help in scaling the business only if this is used properly. 

Once you are sure about going for digitalization go fast as current technologies can be scaled in a matter of weeks or months compared to earlier times where it used to take years.

SMBs should go for technology that helps them scale their business faster, reach out to larger markets, facilitate remote working and collaboration. Other factors to be considered is the ease and simplicity of using the system by customers, employees, and all stakeholders alike.

Things are changing fast and it is equally important to select a solution that changes fast with times and future proofs your business.

With the economy getting digital and ongoing crisis, the business will be conducted digitally more than ever and competitive battles won with technology as a key differentiator. The future of the Indian economy and business has everything to do with Digitalization.

Digital transformation provides a level playing field to SMBs while competing with larger players.

With the current economic situation constantly changing, there’s no time like the present to transform your business digitally and get on board so that your business can reap the rewards.

We at Envoy Business Suite have been assisting SMBs in framing the technology strategy and deploy solutions that are future-ready.

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