SMBs have to solve the same functional challenges that enterprises face — including resource constraints, off-track revenue targets, bottlenecks to productivity, and dysfunctional or degrading processes. Addressing and correcting these core business functions requires the adoption of new technologies, thus prompting SMBs to embrace the digital transformation, much like their enterprise counterparts. One in 5 SMBs have reported that "disruptions caused by the pandemic have amplified their belief in organization-wide digital transformation."
Businesses of all sizes also leverage digital transformation to reap the benefits of Anywhere Operations. By utilizing a robust, distributed infrastructure, your remote workforce can serve your dispersed customer base while increasing responsiveness and profitability. Furthermore, digitally transformed organizations are expected to contribute more than 50 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023, or $53.3 trillion. Here are pro-tips that SMBs should follow to streamline their digital transformation process:
Visualizing Digital Transformation for SMBs
It's common for SMB decision-makers to halt in their tracks when confronted with the idea of "digital transformation." Objections range from resource scarcity to reservations about the daunting complexities associated with "overhauling" their business environment. However, the SMB's digital transition can be strategic and gradual, and even leverage budgetary models that favor OpEx. Learn how to build a strong IT roadmap towards digital transformation:
1. Modernize with Your Cloud Transition
Cloud transition projects rank among the top digital transformation initiatives. Transitioning to the cloud offers significant benefits to the SMB, including:
- Greater Efficiency: All employees have access to company data from any location via a secure internet connection.
- Flexibility to Scale: It's easy to scale your cloud usage to match your current and future requirements.
- Control Costs: You can adjust your cloud usage to manage costs. Furthermore, moving to the cloud eliminates the need for expensive hardware that depreciates over time.
- Automatic Updates: Regular updates (including those for cybersecurity) occur automatically, freeing your team to focus on core tasks.
- Disaster Recovery: Investing in cloud-based backup & recovery solutions will be cost-efficient and helpful to stand against adverse events.
- Promote Innovation: Cloud services are constantly adding new features and functions to boost your business's productivity and security.
RECOMMENDED READING: Solving the Cloud Transition & Security Challenge
2. Leverage the Zero-Trust Framework
A zero-trust framework requires all external and internal users to be authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated in order to access your company’s network and applications. Some of the benefits that SMBs reap from this framework include:
- An accurate infrastructure inventory captures the available users, data, devices, applications, and services. This will improve security and long-term network performance.
- Improve network detection and rapid response to cybersecurity threats.
- Enhance the end-user experience with single sign-on (SSO) tools for password management.
- Streamline creation of data security policies that address vulnerabilities and make your network robust.
- Quickly move applications, data, and services within your company’s infrastructure (for example, cloud migration).
- An investment against compromised or stolen data to avoid expensive breach costs.
3. Outsource to the Right IT Partner
Most SMBs either have a modest internal IT team or no in-house IT department whatsoever. However, you don't need to hire and train IT experts to manage new technologies. Identifying a mature and experienced Managed Services Provider (MSP) to guide you in your digital transformation journey can result in unlocking your ability to secure a more competitive edge in the market. A few benefits of working with an MSP include:
- Time, resource, and cost savings
- A remote and agile workforce
- Access to a global talent pool
- Cutting-edge industry knowledge, expertise, and insights
4. Optimize Your IT Budget
Maintaining an IT budget is essential for SMB decision-makers seeking the best returns on new technology investments. Having a dedicated budget ensures that your company’s IT spending is effectively allocated across core growth areas. An IT budget should also consider your organization's IT objectives, such as:
- Accounting for outsourced IT staffing
- Supporting cybersecurity awareness training
- Managing the asset life cycle to maintain hardware
- Running updated software
- Promoting network and data security
- Completing specialized IT projects
- Boosting backup recovery capacity
Pitfalls to Avoid
To reap the rewards of digital transformation and Anywhere Operations, decision-makers should consider these risks:
Pitfall #1: Failing to Make Technology Investments
Technology spending is often overlooked — especially in SMBs with limited resources. But, keeping up with the latest technologies strengthens company's infrastructure and boosts productivity. These technology investments lower cybersecurity risks, help prevent accidental data loss, and eliminate obstacles that can slow down or halt daily operations. Furthermore, these crucial investments allow companies to expand their operations, promote remote work and grow their customer base. Although technology investments are often costly, they are necessary and beneficial for your organization.
- Top 7 Reasons Businesses Switch to OpEx for IT Investments
- How to Update Your IT Budget When Switching from CapEx to OpEx
Pitfall #2: Being the Last Mover in Tech
Timing is everything — and the same goes for embracing digital transformation. Marketplace competitiveness requires businesses of all sizes to keep abreast with the latest innovations in their industry. However, procrastination will only cause your organization to fall behind competitors. While SMBs may not desire to take on the risks of being first movers, they should commit to becoming early adopters to secure their future growth.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE: Top 4 Critical IT Projects for Small Businesses
Digitally Transform with Net Friends
Digital transformation is one of the core requirements for greater competitiveness. Net Friends is your managed services provider and premium IT partner to transform your company's ability to maximize returns from Anywhere Operations. Contact us today to discover how we can help you streamline your business and dominate your market.
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