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Humanising Finance
May 2019
What Can SME Owners Do to Forge a Digital Ecosystem for Growth

What Can SME Owners Do to Forge
a Digital Ecosystem for Growth

Recent surveys continue to indicate that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) consider banks as utility providers. Forming successful relationships in today's business ecosystem boils down to strategic partnership and collaboration between its players.

These collaborations span within and across industries. Scanning the environment, few would dispute the significance of digital technology as the main impetus of business transformation in the past decade. With new digital offerings such as machine learning as a service, robotic process automation and block chain applications, SMEs should be prepared to disrupt their process management.

Maybank SME Banking sheds light on the transformation process.
1. Develop nimble resource allocation
SMEs should strive to be a part of a digital ecosystem, where companies, people, data, processes and things are connected by the shared use of digital platforms. In a nutshell, such digital ecosystems are created through the business relationships one company has with another. When a company develops a suite of flexible services and resources which can be managed in an agile manner, it is then able to meet its evolving business needs.

A digital ecosystem drives innovation and gives birth to new ideas because it breaks down silos and supports data-driven transparency.
2. Collaboration is key
A 2017 report by the Committee on the Future Economy pointed out that collaboration between MNCs and Singapore's SMEs is one of the key pillars contributing to the nation's growth in the next five to 10 years. For example, a small healthcare-oriented company offering remote patient care through IoT monitoring systems for people who are at home partnered with a computer solutions MNC to tackle the problem of hospital bed shortages in Singapore. The partnership also allowed the MNC to test out its hardware and systems, as well as build a transformative digital ecosystem that will impact operations and value chains.

Singapore has various initiatives, such as the Partnerships for Capability Transformation (PACT) scheme, that marry SMEs and MNCs to develop market-based solutions aimed at solving real-life problems.
3. Getting started with digitalisation
Whilst trying to find partners to build the digital ecosystem one needs, SME owners can look to a new scheme introduced in early 2019 to simplify its digitalisation journey.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore launched Start Digital in early 2019, an initiative of the SMEs Go Digital programme. Start Digital enables new SMEs to pick two foundational digital solutions - with costs waived for a minimum of six months and priced affordably for the remaining period - to accelerate growth, improve sustainability and scalability.

SMEs may choose two solutions from five core business functions of accounting, human resource management system and payroll, digital marketing, digital transactions and cybersecurity.

Digital ecosystems are about constructing a connected and efficient digital society. Industry players foresee that there will be an intricate web of purposeful collaborations with reliable platform providers to drive a business's success, and SMEs should jumpstart their digitalisation journey if they have not.

Maybank is one of six digital partners offering SMEs the Start Digital programme. Grow your business with Maybank today!
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