A study conducted during the pandemic found that 70 percent of small businesses surveyed in eight countries are accelerating their digitization rates to meet COVID-19 challenges, and those more digitally developed can respond more quickly to changing market conditions and increase their revenue.
Likewise, companies that are already somewhat ahead of digitization have had better recovery rates. In any case, organizations report that in the next 18 months they will invest in remote work, online sales and in the development of a digital strategy, according to the results recorded by the research called "Study on the Digital Development of Small Businesses 2020", conducted by IDC and commissioned by Cisco, in 8 countries: United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, United Kingdom, Germany and France.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the digital divide that already existed in the small business market and is forcing companies to accelerate their digitization," said Daniel-Zoe Jiménez, Head of Digital Transformation Research and SMB, at IDC. "Small businesses are realizing that digitization is no longer an option, but a matter of survival. While research shows that many small businesses are making progress, they should focus more on digitizing processes and operations through the use of digital technologies, to ensure business continuity and future resilience."
According to research, small business growth could add $2.3 billion to the overall GDP of these 8 countries by 2024, while contributing to the economic recovery during and after the pandemic. Overall, the 8 economies mentioned could also increase by 5.5% and enjoy a faster growth rate of 42%, thanks to the increased digitization of these organizations.
The study also recorded interesting aspects that have to do with the digitization process of small companies:
- 70 percent of the companies surveyed are accelerating the digitization of their businesses due to the pandemic.
- Those more advanced in the digitization process have the highest recovery rates, allowing them to respond more quickly to changing market conditions and increasing their revenue at higher rates.
- Scarcity of skills and digital talent, cultural resistance to change, and lack of budget/commitment are fundamental challenges for small businesses even outside a pandemic.
- This crisis has led them to rely more on technology and be aware of the importance of digitization.
- About 45 percent of small businesses surveyed expect more than 30 percent of their businesses to be digital by 2021.
- In terms of technology investment over the next 18 months, they are planning to invest in cloud solutions as well as build an on-premises infrastructure of both software and hardware.
- Security is critical for small businesses, as security solutions are part of their top three priorities.
In addition to the presented findings and the challenges that these companies have in the face of a world pandemic and the economic difficulties resulting from it, the study also proposes several recommendations for companies:
- Customer experience and collaboration solutions are within the top 5 investment areas. More developed small businesses are also prioritizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to boost competitiveness and reduce human intervention.
- Develop a three-year technology roadmap.
- Prioritize the business processes vital to automate.
- Evaluate the right technologies to invest in, focusing on training remote employees/workers, a secure e-commerce platform, and a robust cybersecurity network.
- Invest in digitally focused talent and skills.
- Find the right technological ally for your transformation.
It is no secret to anyone that the pandemic has completely upset the lives of society at large, including businesses. As this study demonstrates, just like others mentioned in other articles, the companies that have best adapted to current difficulties are those that have opted for technology to optimize operational processes, facilitate remote work and improve the user experience. If your company wants to invest in these areas, Softelinet provides you with the best solutions on the market thanks to its partnerships with companies such as Cisco, Citrix, Fortinet and HP, all leaders in the world of technology.
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