For several years now, digitalization has been meeting the growing needs of large companies that want to become more efficient and meet the expectations of both customers (e.g. automated appointment scheduling, online information, sales platforms, interactive terminals, tablets, etc.); and employees (e.g. e-learning, intelligent production of Information 4.0 documentation, tablets, mobiles, collaborative project monitoring tools, etc.).
These companies have really moved up a gear by taking the step from thinking about to implementing a digital transformation.
However, the situation is different for small and medium-sized enterprises.
In Luxembourg, for example, the 32,000 SMEs too often neglect digitalization, as do many other European countries. Although digitalization has many advantages:
- optimization of internal processes
improvement of the customer experience,
- online presence, accessibility,
- opening of new markets,
- new personalized services based on the sharing economy.
To improve their competitiveness and ensure their sustainability; these companies can no longer avoid the digital transformation of their processes, but how can they achieve this?
Reasons for the low rate of digitalization of SMEs
The main obstacle for SMEs in the face of digitalization is the lack of technical digital skills. As well as the low level of familiarity with digital tools among employees.
Also, many business leaders may be reluctant to consider the costs associated with such a transformation. And the lack of knowledge of the potential benefits does not facilitate the launch of such a digitalization process.
It is not easy for SMEs to think about change management, the transformation of information systems and management tools, and the necessary investments. Finally, they could therefore use help and support to make their digital transition a success.
The benefits of digitalization for SMEs
First of all, it should be noted that there is a multitude of offers in terms of digitalization. And that there are currently solutions adapted to SMEs. Which account for 99% of businesses in Europe and 67% of employment.
To strengthen their competitiveness, SMEs must integrate digital tools into their internal processes, including management and production. And in their external processes, concerning the marketing of their products or services.
From the internal point of view of the organization. Digitalization offers the opportunity to gain efficiency by equipping SMEs with digital tools that facilitate daily operational processes. Such as planning, project management, recruitment, or invoicing.
In addition, employees have professional expectations of new technologies. The introduction of these new technologies in companies will not only simplify but also automate the execution of certain tasks. This will allow employees to concentrate on value-added tasks. In the long term, these tools will help retain talent and attract new talent. At the same time, they provide a transcendent force for innovation.
Digitalising for the benefit of customers
On the other hand, digital transformation promotes connectivity between SMEs and their customers. In particular through the use of digital tools that facilitate access to consumers and allow even the smallest companies to improve their operations in the long term. But also to ensure better data management. And finally, to innovate in order to better respond to demand and to take part in the country’s growth and in the global economy.
The benefits of digitalization are now widely proven. Numerous studies have shown that companies that go digital experience a high rate of growth. In France, for example, according to the Observatoire du numérique, the digital economy has become the main driver of productivity and growth in the globalized economy.
Luxembourg has also understood this: the challenge of digitalization encourages entrepreneurship and helps to improve the country’s economic competitiveness.
The Luxembourg government has launched a number of initiatives in this direction to encourage SMEs to go digital. And thus highlight the importance of the role of SMEs in the country’s economic growth for employment and economic activity.
As the development of a genuine digital strategy has now become essential, several supports are available to SMEs to enable them to begin their digitalization phase in a less risky manner. Indeed, such a strategy can be vital for gaining efficiency, acquiring new customers, attracting and retaining talent, and increasing visibility.
With the growth potential offered by digital technologies, SMEs can no longer afford to neglect their entry into the digital age.
Digital transformation IS a key element for their growth and competitiveness, but also for the economic growth of a country.
Powerlab is a pioneer member of the e-commerce delegation. We are specialized in digital. We can therefore accompany and guide you in this digitalization. Do not hesitate to contact us or to leave us a comment. We would be delighted to talk to you.