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Technology Levelling the Playing Field for Small and Medium Businesses

Yaj Malik, EVP and Managing Director, Sage Asia | May 17, 2016
By tapping on technology to streamline business processes and cost control, modern day progressive small and medium businesses can stay ahead of competition and reshape the markets they engage in.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The Singapore Government recently announced its budget for 2016 and it includes plans for more support for small and medium businesses. For instance, the Government introduced a SGD4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme that is designed to help firms and industries create new value and drive growth, such as through transforming through innovation. An Automation Support Package - mainly government grants and loans -- is also available to help companies automate, drive productivity and scale up.

At the recent A*STAR event, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran announced that the Government, through its Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), is studying how companies can further tap into technology to improve operational efficiencies and business capabilities.

All these focus on small and medium businesses and the use of technology come as no surprise as entrepreneurs face a competitive business environment and tight labour constraints. This is especially challenging in the current slow global economy.

At Sage, we often see small and medium businesses that are lean on manpower. Many are run by a team of core staff who stretch across multiple work roles. Many of them are also rather conservative in operational culture, with a management that is resistance to change.

Many small and medium businesses also lag behind in innovation and technology adoption, and fail to harness technology to drive efficiency and productivity. In the long run, this can have a detrimental impact on overall business performance and competitiveness, and of course, their bottom line.

How then can small and medium businesses stay current on technology trends and better leverage innovation to drive growth? Here, Yaj Malik, VP-General Manager, Sage Asia, discusses what technology trends such businesses should focus on as well as how and why some of these can impact businesses.

1.    Integrating Business Solutions

Accounting and human resource (HR) are at the heart of any business. By tapping on technology to integrate business processes (accounting and HR) and systems, organisations can reduce manual administration and free up time for more value-adding activities. Entrepreneurs and their businesses can achieve higher levels of automation, efficiency and productivity, as well as gain better visibility into business performance by automating these key functions.

Another area that today's small and medium businesses need to focus on is mobility. According to a recent Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) Group survey, 60 percent of small and medium businesses view mobile technology as crucial to their business, with 70 percent expecting mobile applications to replace a portion of their current business applications. This is expected as most of such businesses need to operate with much agility and flexibility. Mobility solutions allow the modern day worker to stay connected and remain productive no matter whether he is in the office, on the road or at a customer's site. Still, today, we continue to see many small and medium businesses not having a solid mobility strategy that can maximise return on investment in place.


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