Technology has become an unavoidable force in the modern world. It has proven that riding the waves of change is better than not keeping up. Whilst it is understandable that we are not all digital natives like the present generation, it is important to become conscious of the digital world and the ways it has the capacity to inform our lives. To be stubborn and resistant will often result in stagnation and this too is true for your business. Companies that have chosen the path of digital transformation tend to see great success.
McKinsey Global Institute said, “A range of technologies has been a major source of total productivity growth. In 2018, it was estimated that an additional US$13 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2030 from today through digitisation, automation, and AI as these technologies create major new business opportunities and productivity gains are reinvested in economies.”
So, what really do people mean when they say words such as digitise or digital transformation, and what do they mean for businesses specifically? To digitise your business essentially means that you incorporate technology into your business operations. This is with the aim of increasing efficiency, enhancing customer experience, as well improving your sales. Additionally, companies can use digital tools to streamline operations, drive productivity, provide better customer experiences. This incorporation can look like app development, mobile payment options, e-commerce and so much more.
Time to Digitise
It is important to audit the state of your business to ascertain what areas may need bolstering. By doing this you will be able to strategically implement digital elements that will supplement and complement your business. It is not simply running after technology for the sake of being current and in the know; these tools must be filling a need your business has.
One of the major areas entrepreneurs may need digitisation assistance is within their interfacing with customers. There is software that are targeted to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that entrepreneurs can utilise such as Hubspot and Salesforce.
Devina Partida of Digital Generation noted that “CRM software provides businesses with the agility and insight their consumer relations need to stay competitive in the digital marketplace.” Softwares such as these can help with communicating with customers and understanding their actions. Partida continued, “CRM software gathers analytics and analyses data about customer behaviour. With this information, companies can refine their marketing streams to make more sales and reach new audiences.”
Bookkeeping, Accounting and Financials
Another major area that entrepreneurs need assistance in is their bookkeeping and accounting. Technology has gotten to a place where many of these functions can become automated thus reducing labour intensive work and increasing productivity.
Sage, Xero and Quickbooks are digital cloud-based technologies that assist with the efficiency of accounting for businesses. These tools can help to streamline efforts and make for more productivity for your small business.
IBM describes cloud storage as a model that “allows you to save data and files in an off-site location that you access either through the public internet or dedicated servers. Digital Generation says “it offers all the primary benefits of digitisation — scalability, affordability, flexibility, accessibility and efficiency — in a straightforward, easily-to-implement package. As of 2020, 81% of organisations globally had already adopted the cloud.”
Some benefits of cloud storage include security, automation, multiple user integration, disaster recovery and convenient sharing of files. There are many tools small businesses use for cloud storage. Some popular ones include, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Nextcloud.
JBDC’s Drive for Technological Improvement
JBDC has rightly discerned the necessity of technology in transforming the Jamaican economy. The Organisation of American States (OAS), through its Development Cooperation Fund has approved a grant of US$100,000 to support the JBDC with its project to accelerate the growth of the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) sector in Jamaica through Innovation and Technology.
The project is designed to encourage MSMEs’ adoption of technology to improve their competitiveness, market reach, boost their productivity and enhance their resilience. The intervention includes the upskilling of entrepreneurs, creating channels for on-boarding to existing e-commerce platforms and developing a Digital Business Service Platform for MSMEs which use Artificial Intelligence to leverage data to inform business strategy at the micro level and policy implementation at the macro level.
The world is continuously evolving and technology is one of the weapons the entrepreneur must wield if they are to remain competitive. Now is the time to push your small business forward with the assistance of digitisation by investing in tools and strategies which have the potential to position your business for great success.