The recent report published by SME Corp and Huawei
Technologies (M) Sdn.Bhd. that looked into the state of digitalisation in the
SME sector found that most have barely scratched the surface of utilising
technology as a growth driver. Although in the study it was found that almost
50% of the 2,033 companies surveyed had an ICT mindset, about 30% invested to
be more efficient, the balance of 20% were cautious about investing while the
balance are laggards.
This phenomenon is not new as the drive to deploy the most
basic of ERP systems among Malaysian SMEs have been ongoing for the past 25
years. After more than 25 years, many don’t move beyond basic computing. In the
survey, it was revealed that 54% was using some form of business analytics but
67% of these were using spreadsheets. This means they are not tapping on
information to drive business growth as they should be doing.
Although eCommerce is prevalent in the business environment
today, only 44% are involved in such activities. Even fewer companies have
leveraged software solutions to improve their business operations.
Most SME business owners have not develop any digital
strategy as a catalyst of business growth. The sense of belief is not within
their business culture unlike those in the developed countries where many
industries are being disrupted. Digital disruption is the norm moving forward
but many of us are still trapped in a time warp. Take for example the taxi
industry that is being disrupted by ride hailing apps. Malaysian taxi drivers
are still trapped in their own world where technology are making their business
Sticking with mere computerisation with use of computers
without changing business processes and harnessing the full potential of
innovation of new technology platforms leaves organization at risk of going out
of business altogether. The Malaysian SME sector really need to invest in
digital technologies in order to enhance their productivity. Many companies in
the manufacturing sector needs to transform their manufacturing processes with
digital technologies. The study data showed that SMEs using an ERP system are
reporting a 60% gain in their productivity.
Re-engineering business processes is not an easy task but
Malaysian SMEs needs to formulate some strategies to look into digital
technologies as an enabler. There are many simple options to consider – digital
data capture across all supply chain and manufacturing processes; mobile sales
force automation and business analytics just to name a few. However, the most
basic starting point is the deployment of an ERP solution as the backbone
towards improving productivity.