By “leveraging purposely on technology with clear outcomes in mind”, SMEs will be able to gain faster time to market, be more responsive to changing customer requirements, and produce goods and services of a higher quality, said SAP Malaysia managing director Duncan Williamson.
However, he, in an exclusive interview with Malaysian Business, emphasised that SMEs must have a clear focus of the desired “outcomes” and what they would like to achieve, before embarking on technology discussions.
“When SMEs have a vision of what they would like to accomplish, they would then adopt the necessary technology,” said Williamson.
“I would advocate the investment of time and effort for SMEs to first understand what they would like to achieve – their ‘purpose’ – and then move on to the technology discussion,” he added.
When properly applied, he said that technology serves as a business enabler that paves the way for greater productivity, operational efficiencies and cost-savings.
He further said that many solutions that were once the exclusive domain of large corporates have been scaled in capacity – and price – and are now within reach of local SMEs.
“This is a crucial point of a digital transformation journey which SMEs need to recognise to overcome the fear that such a process might incur unexpectedly high cost,” said Williamson.
“At our end, SAP solutions help SMEs take complexity out of running their businesses, so that they can focus on growing their companies sustainably,” he added.
He cited the SAP Business One (B1) business management software which had been specifically created for SMEs to gain greater control of business operations.
“This small business management software connects and streamlines processes, serving as catalyst of growth for numerous SMEs here in Malaysia and throughout the world,” said Williamson.
“The beauty about SAP B1 is that it streamlines key processes for SMEs; hence, enabling them to gain greater insights into their operations, and empowering them to make decisions based on real-time information – so that they can drive sustainable and profitable growth,” he added.
“This then sets a path for SMEs to progressively transform into what the industry terms as ‘intelligent enterprises’.”
Williamson explained that an intelligent enterprise is able to increase enterprise and ecosystem visibility, direct scarce resources to areas where they would have the greatest impact, while building flexibility and insight into business processes to rapidly respond to change.
“Intelligent enterprises are able to pivot towards the right outcomes and guard against disruptive competitors,” he explained. “They are also able to eliminate data silos and automate data wrangling and integration.”
“What’s more, they can also recognise unseen patterns and provide new intelligence to service customers and employees.”
Today, SAP serves over 380,000 customers in markets around the globe, 80% of which are SMEs.