Competing in a digital world – SMEs find their feet

A Digital World

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Digital transformation is different for small and medium-sized companies. Or is it? In this article, we take a look at the current state of digital in SMEs and look ahead to see what is in store.

“Changes in business operations, and in the way customers are served, driven by digital technologies.”

That is a compact definition of digital transformation. And the digital technologies in question? They range from IoT (internet of things, or connected devices like smart sensors), to Robotic Process Automation and AI, to cloud computing.


SME rate of digitisation

Whether your business employs ten people or 10,000, the ingredients for digital transformation are the same. So how are small and medium-sized companies faring? Are they even interested in digitisation? Research1 says they are, and UK SMEs are doing better than many of their European counterparts, with high scores for adoption rates of cloud computing, Big Data and AI. To put this statement into perspective, 58% of companies have adopted cloud computing, but only 27% use some sort of AI-based technology.

Still, only 40% of SMEs report that digitisation is a top priority. An important fact, as the European SME survey 20191  shows a correlation between prioritising digitisation and investment. Those companies that say getting digital is a top priority invest more than companies that give digitisation a lower priority. The companies that prioritise digital also expected to export more than companies who see digitisation as less critical.

Naturally, as SMEs are a very heterogeneous group, there are differences in the area of digitisation as well.


Please read the full article on Finance Derivatives.

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KFW Going digital – the challenges facing European SMEs | European SME survey 2019

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