Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen technology move at such high speeds that many people and SMEs have struggled to keep up. Those that have seized the opportunities of digital transformation have gained a valuable advantage.
At Nashua, we have learned some valuable lessons from our own transformation as well as from working with our SME clients on their digital strategies. What has become clear to us is that the biggest catalyst for transformation isn’t access to budget, skills, or infrastructure. Instead, it’s adopting a digital mindset, that is adaptable and embraces change.
Here is what characterises the digital mindset:
Tactical change versus strategic renewal
Many SMEs adopt technology in an ad hoc and tactical fashion, using it to address specific bottle necks and pain points. They continue to do things in much the same way as they always did, but just a little faster and more cost-effectively than before. This is effective and works for many of them.
But there are opportunities to take it further. An SME with a digital mindset welcomes technology to improve efficiencies and productivity. It also harnesses digital tech to transform its operating model. From selling ecommerce products to customers on the other side of the world to enabling remote work, digital has the potential to change an SME’s business model, not just its processes.
Change as an opportunity to grow
Many SMEs have built successful businesses based on traditional, tried-and-tested methods as well as familiar routines or practices. But forward-thinking SMEs recognise that change doesn’t necessarily mean unwelcome disruption – it can also mean progress, innovation, and growth. As such, they’re willing to drive change rather than react to it.
Using data to gain an even better understanding of customers
SMEs thrive by understanding their market and talking to customers to shape their strategy. But using real-time, objective data to shape decision-making can take their business to the next level. SMEs can use data analytics tools to gain insight into customers and continually align with their evolving needs. This involves looking at the business from an inside-out perspective, aiming to align its channels to market, products, and customer experiences with customer needs.
A project versus a way of life
Digital transformation isn’t a product or technology that can be bought and implemented. It is less as a technology project to be completed than as a state of perpetual, company-wide agility. An SME with a digital mindset is always ready to evolve, recognising that technological change shows no signs of slowing down.
Making the mindset shift
With the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) promising to change how we all work and live, we can expect to see the pace of change accelerate in the years ahead. This creates great opportunities for SMEs to reinvent themselves, create efficiencies and uncover new ways to grow. Those that get it right will thrive through the exciting and potentially turbulent times to come.
For more information, please visit www.nashua.co.za