With 61 per cent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Asia Pacific reporting a fall in sales during the months of lockdown, and further waves and phased re-openings in place, there is an urgency to prepare your business for the long journey ahead.
This is having a marked change on my conversations with customers. While the topic of digitisation is not new and technology often seen as a means to an end, moving forward there is a recognised need for SMBs to be less reactive and to consider their investments more strategically.
So, what are SMBs prioritising to ensure digital resiliency in the long run?
Focus on people
Many organisations say that their value lies in their people. This is especially true for the tight-knit SMB community. In today’s dispersed workplace, how can you enable your staff to be the best they can and collaborate as efficiently as possible? This issue is even more pronounced with the prevalence of remote working, when staff are pressured with additional tasks or the challenge of keeping things running as per normal even as they work from home.
A move away from ageing or ineffective infrastructure to an easily scalable, user-friendly cloud service can help introduce more agile processes. Employees can then focus on business goals rather than manual administrative tasks and maintenance of IT hardware and servers.
No one can predict the future, but artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and advanced data analytics can let us hazard a guess and provide possible scenarios to avoid making baseless decisions. With teams forced to work apart, there are now more factors than ever contributing to decision-making. Real-time information and a viewpoint on the organization’s bottom-line can help SMBs prioritize.
Position technology investment for the long-run
While the cloud allows SMBs to embrace agility at a lower cost of entry, it needs to be approached strategically, otherwise the result could be a patchwork of applications or duplicative services. As such, regardless of size, companies need to plan their journey. They may wish to see where it is relevant to bring in new capabilities via cloud software, or where it makes sense to move existing workloads onto cloud infrastructure.
In fact, today, the next generation of cloud infrastructure solutions are built as a foundational layer, designed to provide performance predictability, security and governance required to support mission-critical, performance-intensive workloads. As well as removing the need to run hardware on premises they also provide the ability to modernise and innovate via new cloud native or mobile features. At a time when investments are under increased scrutiny, any technology implementation needs to be for the long-run, especially when no-one knows what the future holds.
Digital resiliency is crucial, especially when it is increasingly difficult to predict the future. By taking away some of the strain, empowering decisions based on data analytics and providing a strong technology foundation, SMBs will be in a better place to spot and work on new business opportunities.