Study: Small, medium businesses thrive in digital transformation

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The 2020 Asia Pacific SMB Digital Maturity study in the Philippines said digitally matured small and medium businesses (SMBs) have higher benefits in revenue and increased productivity, contributing to their growth and economic recovery.

Study respondents have acknowledged the crucial role of digital transformation in businesses. the 2020 Asia Pacific SMB Digital Maturity study in the Philippines

The study, done in early 2020, covered 14 countries and had 1,400 respondents from various industries such as financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, transportation, retail, wholesale and media.

“Philippine SMBs are eyeing improved customer experience and service delivery through digitalization. Lack of budget and shortage of skilled talents are the key challenges for Philippine SMBs,” said Karrie Ilagan, Cisco Philippines managing director.

She added that SMBs also deal with the lack of necessary technologies, lack of insight into operational or customer data, cultural resistance to change, among others.

Ilagan also noted that enterprises should learn to maximize the use of technology, especially now that most people rely on it to continue their businesses amid the pandemic. Business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, for  instance, continue their services remotely, she noted.

She also said SMBs rely heavily on telecommunications service providers. One seller of budget-friendly luxury bags, shared how dependent she is on technology and how  poor and intermittent internet could affect her income.

“I should not lose my internet connection, especially when I upload my products online, so I always monitor my internet connection speed through an app. Low internet connection results in late receiving of messages (from potential clients) who inquire. That amounts to lost since that was the moment when they are eager to buy. When I miss those chances, they are no longer interested to buy the product,” she said.

The enterprising bag seller online uses a money manager app to monitor her cash flow and expenses, and upgrades he phone regularly to be able to take good photos.

“Technology is too important for me. Every year, I wait for the latest phone model, since mobile phone makers  upgrade the device’s specs, especially the camera. I need that as I take product shots almost everyday,” she said.

About 70 percent of SMBs in the study said they are accelerating digitalization in response to the demands of obtaining conditions. More than half (62% of the study respondents also seek digital transformation to launch new products and services. They recognize that staying ahead of the competition remains an important factor.

Respondents plan to invest in cybersecurity, information technology infrastructure upgrade, and cloud.

Commissioned by Cisco and conducted by International Data Corporation, the study covered Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam

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