BusinessToday speaks to Azlan Zainal Abidin, Chief Enterprise Business Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad on initiatives by Celcom to help SMEs make the transition into the digital world.
The new normal ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a series of new practices that are bound to stay on for some time. These practices have already impacted individuals, businesses, and economies worldwide. In Malaysia, enterprises are equally concerned about their business’s sustainability in terms of cost and operational efficacy.
Azlan Zainal Abidin, Chief Enterprise Business Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad says business sustainability has become an even more dire concern, as the world is affected by the global pandemic.
“The new norm of social distancing and doing business digitally has accelerated the need for SMEs to adapt digitalisation.” “We saw the need for Celcom to play a role in driving this agenda, especially within the micro-SME and SME segments,” Azlan tells BusinessToday
Digitalisation is imperative
As SMEs remain a large contributor to the nation’s economic landscape, Celcom believes that the sustainability of SMEs is imperative and digital transformation is a much-needed initiative to help them through these difficult times.
“We must accept the fact that the economic landscape is changing rapidly alongside rapid evolutions of technology. Evolution of various business landscapes and consumer behaviours have made a tremendous impact for most local businesses, as more people tend to opt for simple and faster processes via e-commerce,” says Azlan.
Combined with the impacts of a global pandemic, Celcom believes that consumers are also cautiously controlling their movement and has turned to online and ‘contactless’ methods of purchasing to acquire goods and services.
Azlan points out that SMEs can benefit from digitalisation and immense opportunities is by recognising that digital marketing has a wider and faster outreach. SMEs can also enlarge their market with e-commerce instead of depending on walk-in customers.
With higher likelihood now for customers to search for goods and services online, there is an increase in need for businesses to establish an online presence. And while the process of digitalisation may come off as costly, Celcom believes that digitalising is quick and affordable today.
Azlan says the Celcom Business Suite being a collaborative product from various partners with mutual objectives, ensures SMEs can acquire this suite of products and services immediately without worrying about costs.
“It is important for us to resonate with business owners. We believe in creating immediate opportunities and and to ‘reimagine’ their businesses through our robust digital products and services,” he says.
Helping enterprises overcome challenges
The Celcom Business Suite allows SMEs to rapidly transform and optimise their business operations with simplicity, flexibility, and affordability. The package offers multiple digital solutions for SME businesses such as cloud-based e-POS electronic payment, digital marketing solutions and additional productivity tools such as tablets and Microsoft Office365.
This comprehensive end-to-end service enables businesses with all the right digital solutions, tailored to simplify digitalisation of smaller scale businesses. The telco has also partnered with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as one of its Technology Solutions Partner (TSP) and this collaboration enables the Celcom Business Suite to qualify for the SME Business Digitalisation Grant.
“For a service provider like Celcom, the grant heightens our effort in assisting these SMEs to transform digitally. They may now quickly, swiftly and affordably acquire the comprehensive digital services such as offered by Celcom Business Suite,” says Azlan.
The grant introduced by the government in Budget 2020, offers SMEs a 50 percent matching grant of up to RM5,000 for any subscription of digital services such as electronic e-POS. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), electronic payroll system, digital marketing, procurement, e-commerce and remote working.
“Our recent ‘Celcom Business Reimagine SME for Tomorrow’ campaign was in collaboration with 13 organisations, which include government agencies, financial institutions, entrepreneurial organisations, and technology partners,” the Chief Enterprise Business Officer says.
The campaign aims to collate expertise, knowledge, technology, and possible sources of fund, to help the SMEs accelerate their digital transformation.
Azlan further highlights that the campaign has garnered positive reception from SMEs and he foresees the interest to gradually increase from more local SME associations, to form a partnership towards the same objective in accelerating the SME digital adoption rate.
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