SME Association: New Normal precipitating SMEs to embrace technology to ‘innovate and transform’

SME Association of Malaysia

The SME Association of Malaysia is urging local businesses to start viewing technology as an investment, and not a cost, if they are to ‘survive and thrive’ in the ‘new norm’.

Its national vice president Chin Chee Seong (pic above) admitted the first real step to enhanced digital adoption by small medium enterprises (SMEs) has been somewhat forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

For this to happen, SMEs need to change their mindset and start viewing technology as an investment – and not a cost – for sustainable growth,” said Chin, who is also Malaysia Cross Border e-Commerce Association national president.

“SMEs must realise that the name of the game is changing amidst liberalisation – coupled by disruption brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 ASEAN small businesses conducted by United Overseas Bank (UOB), Accenture and Dun & Bradstreet, technology was ranked the top investment priority for 2020 by two in three (64 per cent) small businesses, including those who currently have cash flow concerns.

Across ASEAN, Thailand had the highest proportion (71 percent) of respondents prioritising technology investments in 2020. Malaysian SMEs, however, paled in comparison 12 percentage points lower at 59 percent.

Chin pointed out 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.

One such affordable solution currently available is the SAP Business One Starter Pack offering developed by local solutions provider Phitomas priced from RM1,488.

SAP Business One is renowned for being the comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) business suite designed specifically for SMEs.

“By implementing SAP Business One Starter Pack, SMEs will be able to gain faster time to market, be more responsive to changing customer requirements, and in general produce goods and services of a higher quality,” said Phitomas managing director Irwin Koh.

Phitomas is also one of the first local solutions providers to go-to-market with software, hosting and services via a subscription model (‘software-as-a-service’) to make its solutions more affordable for SMEs.

A local company which had benefited from adopting the SAP Business One is Omega Sofa (M) Sdn Bhd.

Its finance manager Jeflyn Chew said that, since implementation, her company has realised greater productivity and operational efficiencies, while helping the company “save resources, time and money.”

Meanwhile, SAP Malaysia managing director Hong Kok Cheong said that “SMEs must ‘innovate and transform’ post Covid-19 to elevate competitiveness”.

“At our end, SAP solutions help SMEs take complexity out of running their businesses, so that they can focus on growing their companies sustainably,” said Hong.

“Today, SAP serves over 440,000 customers in markets worldwide, 80% of which are SMEs. More than 60,000 of these SMEs have implemented SAP Business One ,” he added.

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