Companies should tap into digital technology to engage customers and stakeholders to grow their businesses, representatives from small- and mediumsized enterprises were told. “Digital disruption is here to stay. You have to prepare your business for it,” said Eco World Development Group Bhd president and chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said at the Star SMEBiz Think Tank.

Chang said there was much value to be derived from digital technology to and reach new customers as well as enlarge markets, particularly through digital marketing. “Digital is the key to our expansion. For a four-year-old company, we were able to scale up using digital technology. “We knew that if we wanted to scale up fast, we needed new markets and the digital age allows for the opportunity to go to places you’ve never been able to go to previously. “We grew a new market base in the Gen-Y and Gen-Z category. “That doubled our number of buyers,” he said.

Digi.com Bhd chief digital officer Praveen Rajan concurred but cautioned SMEs against adopting just any digital solution. “Visualise the outcome that you want. It has to be relevant within your business context,” said Praveen, adding that changes took time and companies should allow time for plans to be tested. He advised SMEs to take small, measured steps to digitise their businesses.

The Star SMEBiz Think Tank, in its second year, provides SMEs and business leaders the opportunity to learn from various industry captains about moving their businesses up the value chain.

Another speaker, Human Resource Development Fund chief of special purpose vehicles Muhammad Ghazali Abdul Aziz said with rapid changes in technology, there was a need for SMEs to be aware of the impact of Industry 4.0 on their companies and to seize opportunities. “Look at e-commerce, for example. It is a new way of creating revenue,” he said.

While opportunities were aplenty with regard to changes in technology, AmBank business banking managing director Christopher Yap said SMEs should also observe the changing behaviour of consumers themselves.

The Star SMEBiz Think Tank is organised by Star Media Group as an extension of SOBA 2017.
It is sponsored by AmBank, DiGi and HRDF with CGC as co-sponsor and Matrade as the official trade promotion partner.

This article appeared in The Star, 6 September 2017