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  • Writer's pictureTek Siong, Hock

4 Pillars to unlock SME Digital Transformation Success

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Despite SME in Malaysia being the key driver to a third of the country GDP,

digital transformation of SME in Malaysia is still lagged behind. SME business owners often view the digital transformation as the cost to do business, rather than an investment to boost sales.

After more than a decade of digitalizing businesses, in my experience, in order to achieve expected ROI for your business, there is nothing more imperative than to have a holistic strategy when embarking your digital transformation journey.


4 Pillars of Digital Transformation
4 Pillars of Digital Transformation

By Pareto Principle of 80/20 rule, 80% of company sales comes from 20% of customers.

1. Customer Experience is potentially your first and foremost strategy in digital transformation, that will bring greatest impact to your digital transformation objectives.

A great customer experience will build your brand loyalty, repetitive buying from your customer and advocacy of your brand to their acquaintances,

A recommended methodology is to start analyse your customer journey map. Customer journey map is a visual representation of the journey how your customer or prospect goes through and engage with your business. This map will give you a sense of your customer needs, emotions, touch points and motivations, and help you to better mobilize your employees around the customer needs.

An example of B2B customer journey map will be to visualize the journey in your customer's eyes, span the progression throughout the awareness, comparison, buying, retention, customer service and advocacy. Focus your effort on the touch-points that make the most significant emotional impact to your customers.

2. If you won the employee experience battle, your customer experience is half won.

Employee experience is how employee feel and observed along their employment at your company.

Your employees are the one who executed your customer experience strategy and grow your company. Hiring and retaining a talented employee is a tough chore, especially so in Malaysia, because we are often lost our own talents to the neighboring country.

A popular digital transformation for employee can be built from Employee journey map, throughout job application, hiring, on-boarding, compensation, performance appraisal, training, company culture and to, finally off-boarding.

3. Build Ecosystem for your Partners to accelerate win-win relationship

Apart from the conventional wisdom of optimizing your supply chain to reduce cost, there is another side to increase your sales.

Your partners, be it dealer, contractor or vendor, is helping to build your brand awareness, create presence in new market or verticals and increase your revenue.

Your top consideration for a successful partner relationship is to build a win-win alliances to solve your customer's problem. Some great example of companies that have been successful in building partners ecosystem are Uber, Airbnb and in Malaysia, Grab and Kaodim. Other partner ecosystem may also be marketplace for field service, delivery, food, healthcare, E-commerce, etc.

4. IoT of Any and Every "Thing"

IoT is no longer a buzzword, but an inevitable trend. IoT technology is an evolution, but the IoT business is an revolution.

Any and every "thing" can be made IoT and Smart, which essentially open up the door for human and "thing" interaction.

There are 3 broad category of opportunities:

  1. Connected Products & Services - enlightened your customers with new convenience and experience, with your connected products and services. For example, smart air-conditioner enable the power on/off based on scheduling & geo-fencing, filter cleaning alerts, etc, over the app.

  2. Smart Connected Operations - enriched and innovate your business operation with data from the "things", be it in the manufacturing factory production line, agricultural farm, warehouse, retail shop, etc. For example, there are plethora of 24/7 Self Service laundry shops in Malaysia. What if the customer can just use the mobile app to scan QR code on washing machine, pay online and eventually, power up the washing machine via IoT (wireless or bluetooth). Say goodbye to the coin exchange machine.

  3. New Connected Business model - explore new business model, such as new subscription model of the enriched data or services, Asset sharing model of your connected "thing", or Pay-Per-Usage for on demand service delivery, etc.

The bottom line for digital transformation is - let's get started, no matter how small it is.

Contact us for consulting to embark your digital transformation journey.

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