KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 29): There are several factors hindering digital adoption among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
During a recent Facebook Live session titled "Catalysing SMEs’ Digital Transformation Journey" hosted by The FinLab, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) director for business digital adoption Muhundhan Kamarapullai said the top three hindrances for digital adoption among SMEs are:
- lack of knowledge and skills
- investments required for digitalisation
- the cash flow required to sustain the transformation
He explained that traditional businesses tend to think the digital and technology are one and the same.
“Instead, the process of digitalisation involves planning the next steps in doing business and adapting to new business models,” he said.
During the Facebook Live session, panellists of the session discussed SMEs’ way of doing business in these unprecedented times that we are living in and anticipated outcomes of the Jom Transform Programme, which is the first business transformation programme in Malaysia to help local SMEs digitalise.
The panellists included The FinLab head Pauline Sim, Mindshare Malaysia managing director Dheeraj Raina and Kamarapullai.
In July, United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) and The FinLab launched the second edition of the Jom Transform Programme here in Malaysia.
This year’s edition of the programme includes support from MDEC through its Smart Automation Grant to be offered to participating businesses that successfully pitch their digitalisation plans and demonstrate tangible outcomes.
Sim said the Jom Transform Programme assists SMEs when it comes to the inertia process in digitalising business operations, and helps in the piloting process of the implementation of tech solutions.
She said that 88 SMEs are part of the current cohort of the Jom Transform Programme 2020.
“The 88 SMEs in the first cohort for this year’s Jom Transform Programme come from various backgrounds, with 20% coming from the wholesale and retail trade industry.
“Through a digital needs assessment (DNA) exercise conducted by The FinLab under the programme, 43% of the participants indicated digital marketing as an area of focus for their businesses, while 34% and 23% cited business operations and e-commerce as their areas of focus respectively,” she said.
Meanwhile, Raina, a returning mentor of the programme from last year, said there is a sense of urgency among SMEs to digitalise now.
He said: “A lot of questions around digital transformation last year were [like] do I need it? When do I need it? This year, SMEs are saying 'I need it (digital transformation); how fast can I do it?'”
According to him, SMEs in this year’s cohort are focused on acceleration of digital transformation.
Registrations for the second cohort of the Jom Transform Programme 2020 are now open till Oct 11, 2020. SMEs can register their interest in the programme at www.thefinlab.com/malaysiajomtransform.