The new IDC 2019 Future SMB Pulse survey shows that 84% of SMBs in Asia Pacific (excl. Japan) recognize the need to use digital technologies to make significant changes in their companies' processes and operations to become more competitive. While 39% of those have already started their journey and are at different stages of digital maturity, 42% are just planning to start. The survey reveals further that the top priorities of SMBs in the next 18 months include improving revenue growth, increasing efficiency/productivity, and reducing costs/expenses.
According to IDC, a “future SMB” is a technology-first organization that can amplify its presence and capabilities for sustainable business growth, productivity, and competitiveness. It is data-driven, customer-centric, highly automated, and takes an experiment-learn-iterate approach to deliver breakthrough solutions and create new markets.
“SMBs are driven by an entrepreneurial mindset and possess the appetite to compete, grow, and succeed. Growth and profitability are the primary goals of any SMB; however, when it comes to technology, these smaller businesses are generally not as progressive or innovative. Due to their size, they face unique challenges such as skills shortage, low technology adoption, and low process automation, as well as difficulties in accessing capital funding,” says Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Associate Vice President, Digital Transformation (DX), Future Enterprise, and SMB at IDC Asia Pacific. “Widely available and easier to consume digital technologies are leveling the playing field between MNCs and SMBs”, he adds and concludes: “The market has reached an inflection point in 2019, forcing SMBs to act. Driven by the evolved state of digitalization of the SMB ecosystem and the opportunity presented by digital technologies to amplify capabilities and competitiveness, SMBs must progress and evolve towards becoming Future SMBs.”
Jimenez highlights that SMBs must recognize that their competition and ecosystem are transforming, and they must keep pace with digital technologies in order to survive.
Besides all these insights, IDC’s SMB survey identified the top three challenges as well that Asia Pacific SMBs are facing to adapt a digital-first mindset, which are:
1. Balancing product/service quality and growth
3. Challenges in hiring/retaining talent and improving brand awareness
“Amidst these challenges, we are also seeing growing opportunities for SMBs. The rise of the new digital economies, such as the last mile economy (use of delivery services), the gig economy (tapping freelancers to fill in talent gaps in SMBs, and the marketplace economy (proliferation of marketplaces where SMBs can offer their products and services), will force SMBs willing to benefit from the opportunities presented by these new economies to make investments in digital technologies,” says Celeste Narvaez, Senior Program Manager at IDC Asia Pacific.
IDC will provide an in-depth discussion of key SMB themes on scaling with digital, multiplying partnerships, and building talent at the 2019 IDC Future of SMB Forum happening on 7th November 2019 at the Suntec Singapore Convention Centre. IDC will also provide essential guidance to Asia Pacific SMBs on what should be their immediate priorities to be successfully to have a digital-first mindset/DNA. For more information about this event, please visit their website Future SMB Forum.