Digital Transformation for SMEs
Monday, 14 Sep, 2020

In our experience, many SMEs believe that digital transformation is the domain of large enterprise, but smaller companies can reap genuine benefits from embracing technology and setting themselves up for the future. What sorts of benefits could your business experience from implementing a digital transformation programme? 

Digital transformation is a term that we’ve been hearing about for a few years now, but what does it really mean? According to George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist at MIT and author of ‘Leading Digital: Turning Technology Into Business Transformation’: “Digital transformation marks a radical rethinking of how an organisation uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance.”

Very often, companies are happy to continue working in the way they always have done, until something happens that accelerates the need to improve their processes. We are seeing a perfect example of this right now, as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has meant businesses have had to transform the way they operate overnight.

Driver for change

The driver for change can be a major catalyst that affects lots of companies simultaneously, or something as simple as the realisation that your business has outgrown its current solutions. It can simply be a case of how your business has evolved over the years, from using a simple accounting package as a start-up, to realising that you’re no longer getting the information you need on inventory and sales, and that your team are spending far too much time duplicating data into disparate systems with far too much manual administration to be a cost-effective use of time.

The decision to take on a big digital transformation project may seem quite overwhelming, but the benefits of streamlining processes and procedures can be significant. Here are just a few:

Cost savings and improved efficiency

The financial savings from implementing a new ERP system can have a significant impact on the bottom line, particularly if you opt for cloud-based software. No longer having to maintain IT support contracts, on-premise servers and technology, provides immediate, tangible savings.

More efficient processes and the integration of the ERP system across the company reduces manual administration and duplication of data, meaning that staff can concentrate on other aspects of their roles that have a bigger business impact. One of our customers, David Brownsey from Abbeydale Direct says, “all processes up to the point of picking and packing are automated, including order input, stock allocation, payment reconciliation and delivery information. This has resulted in days of man hours being saved each week by various members of the team, allowing them to focus on sales opportunities and marketing.”

One of the biggest benefits of implementing a comprehensive ERP system into your business operations is the dramatic improvement in efficiency. It can improve communication between departments, the flow of data across the organisation, and the transition through the customer life cycle.

Increased transparency

Transforming your digital processes with a comprehensive ERP system, such as SAP Business One, gives increased transparency and insight across your business. Extensive reporting and analytical capabilities provide insights into any aspect of the business you can think of. Information on sales patterns, best performing products, market and industry trends, and how external factors affect demand are available instantly. Financial information, such as customers who are behind with their payments, enables both customer services and finance teams to take action to address any issues. With detailed reports available almost instantly, staff have greater insight into their business area, issues and KPIs, and are able to use this information to improve business processes.

Revenue growth

Implementing an ERP system can have a real impact on the bottom line by automating processes and reducing manual administration. Employees can focus on areas that have more business impact, while increased insight into sales and market demand can support promotional offers and optimise the production process to concentrate on best performing products.

Better supply chain management

Increased visibility over the entire supply chain can be gained by implementing the right ERP system, from raw components throughout the production process, to delivery to the end customer. Analytics and reporting offer detailed insights which support strategic decision making during every step of the process.

Better customer experience

With ever-increasing competition in the marketplace, companies that put the customer at the heart of their business are the ones with the best chance of survival. An ERP solution like SAP Business One can help support this, giving the customer insights into their order status, expected delivery times and any issues that might cause a delay to their order. The company can better manage its customer communications, while customer portals can give customers insights into remaining inventory, products and services and available, expected delivery times, and provide a much simpler purchasing process.

Competitive advantage

Undertaking a digital transformation project will dramatically improve the infrastructure of your business, setting it up for the future and enabling it to capitalise on market conditions. The features and functionality offered by the software may even open up new ways of working, better business processes, and uncover new revenue streams that may never have been considered. Improving the infrastructure of your business can have a significant impact on your competitive advantage.

For more information on how SAP Business One can help your organisation optimise its supply chain, reduce costs and increase efficiency and revenue, while providing a better customer experience, please contact us now for a friendly chat.

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