On 20 April 2022, Eileen Tan, SGTech, Singapore Enterprise Chapter EXCO member and Stone Forest, Executive Director, IT Services, joined fellow industry experts to discuss about how local SMEs can successfully digitalise to benefit their business.
The webinar was organised and moderated by Salesforce. Other event panellists included Guoliang Lin, Deputy Director Advocacy and Transformation for the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), and Keng Low, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Finantier.
National Business Survey 21/22 Results
The webinar kicked off with Guoliang highlighting insights from the latest SBF National Business Survey 2021/2022. He shared about the improving business sentiments towards COVID-19, and the current transformation and innovation challenges. The key survey findings include:
- Nearly half (47%) of businesses today are confident that the economy will improve in the next year;
- The proportion of Singapore companies indicating that they are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 situation is now 32%, almost half of what it was a year ago (63% in 2020);
- Manpower costs and availability are main challenges faced by businesses; and
- Businesses are looking to transform themselves through digitalisation, process re-engineering, and diversification of supply chain.
“There are indications that businesses are seeking to build up and come back stronger and better by being more digitally equipped” Guoliang added, highlighting how COVID-19 has catapulted the need for digital transformation. Building up digital literacy and encouraging businesses to better leverage on technological solutions remains crucial in Singapore.
Challenges of Digitalisation
1. Employee resistance
One of the major digitalisation challenge that was brought up was employee resistance to change. To help overcome this, Eileen shared the following tips:
- Digital transformation goes beyond just the adoption of new technologies, it is also equally important to push for a mind-set change;
- Business leaders should also encourage employees to be curious with technology trends in their areas of expertise; and
- Place emphasis on how employees can integrate technology in their daily work; technology as an enabler instead of a hindrance.
She stated “I always remind our staff and even our SME clients that they should always look at how they can evolve with technology to do their work faster, better, and of course, to do it right the first time.”
2. Finding the right digital talents
In sharing his digitalisation journey, Keng Low reflected on the challenging job market situation and shared how SMEs can help ensure digital success by finding and cultivating a good team of people who love what they do.
Instead of competing with MNCs based on compensation, Keng urged business leaders to focus on finding people who have a similar passion as their business and look to nurture that talent.
“It comes down to building a set of values, finding people who are passionate about what you are building, finding people that care about supporting not just people in their family but people in the greater region.” he concluded.
3. Cyber risks and data loss
With COVID-19, more and more SMEs are leveraging on cloud collaboration tools to enable remote work, however these can also introduce new risks such as cybersecurity threats and data loss. To help secure remote collaboration, Eileen advise on the following three mitigation measures:
- Have comprehensive business agreements with your digital solution vendors to address all possible risks and clearly outline everyone’s roles and responsibilities;
- Establish data security and privacy controls to ensure that the transmission and storage of your data is secure; and
- Conduct frequent third-party risk assessments to ensure all parties involved are adhering to industry security and privacy standards.
Available Government Support through Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTO-as-a-Service)
Recognising that SMEs’ digital readiness levels vary, and that many SMEs do not have the resources for dedicated in-house expertise to implement digitalisation projects, Eileen went on to share how business owners can tap on IMDA’s latest digitalisation initiative CTO-as-a-Service.
This is a fully funded initiative that aims to simplify going digital for SMEs by offering a one-stop platform for them to assess their digital readiness, get suitable digital solution recommendations, compare digital solutions, and tap on professional digital consultants from Stone Forest for more in-depth digital advisory and project management services at no cost.
Looking to save time in going digital and meet cybersecurity needs? Request a call back for CTO-as-a-Service support on IMDA’s web platform now.