Smart Investor Malaysia


Digital Solutions For SMEs


With many companies being forced to pivot, digital solutions are in demand.

The sudden pandemic has caused some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to lose their positions. Most of them are traditional, non-information enterprises, offline businesses, or lack effective digital management models and are isolated by the pandemic.

In the beginning, there was general confusion over high threshold, high costs and long cycle of digital transformation.

“After the pandemic, more and more companies have discovered that accelerating digital transformation can accurately control inventory, improve management efficiency and reduce business operating costs,’’ says Volservers Solutions managing director Tan Yik Jaan. While many SMEs have started to digitise (convert their data and documents into a digital format), they have yet to embrace digital transformation and change their business model; slow internet connection (many industrial estates do not have fibre optics infrastructure) is also a problem.

Digital transformation involves looking at holistic solutions like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management systems. Supply chain management (SCM) has moved to 6PL which is an artificial intelligence driven SCM, but many SMEs have not gone beyond 3PL that offers first stage supply chain integration.

“SMEs need to have a progressive mindset that embraces business transformation with digitalisation (converting business processes to use digital technologies) as a tool,’’ remarks Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) national secretary Yeoh Seng Hooi.

Apart from the lack of financial and skilled resources, SMEs also face challenges in protecting their digital platforms and data from cyber-attacks.

“A difficult part of the digital journey is to find the right partners at an affordable cost,” explains managed security service provider Vigilant Asia group CEO Victor Cheah.

Most SMEs already have two years’ experience of manoeuvring through their digital journey in the pandemic, and a common challenge is the execution and integration of processes.

“The hit to the tech supply chain has resulted in massive delays in many hardware reliant products and solutions, while continuous uncertainty is affecting cost especially on hardware reliant solutions,’’ says IT asset lifecycle management solutions company Rentalworks Malaysia managing director Alan Puah.

SMEs need to have a progressive mindset that embraces business transformation with digitalisation– Yeoh Seng Hooi,SAMENTA

Potential roadblocks
The biggest challenge faced by SMEs these days is integration across multiple systems. “The most difficult part for SMEs is the mixing and matching of various solutions that can solve their problems while allowing for future expansion,’’ says Wavelet Solutions CEO Vincent Lee.

To address this integration issue, Wavelet Solutions, an ERP solutions provider for SMEs, provides operational data lake solutions built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) platforms. (A data lake is a centralised repository for structured and unstructured data at any scale, while AWS is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform).

For digital transformation, the digital experts from Volservers work closely with brands across various industries to help SMEs grow their brand identity in the market.

Volservers is an experienced market research agency that provides panel and full-service research solutions, online survey programming, hosting and reporting services to the market research industry, and builds a pleasant customer experience for customers’ platforms.

User-centric expertise at Volservers looks deeply into user behavior, expectations and business goals when designing a seamless journey for customers’ products. “We provide interactive UI/UX designs, web and mobile applications for multiple platforms, namely, on Apple and Android, to help maximise customer reach,’’ shares Tan.

In terms of cybersecurity services, Volservers has the capabilities to identify vulnerabilities in clients’ environment and develop strategies to remediate and improve their security posture. Volservers’ services consist of solutions that protect customers’ IT infrastructure such as endpoint protection, web application firewall with anti-DDOS and much more. This includes an experienced security incident response team to ensure minimal recovery time and damage to customers’ business reputation.

In terms of managed IT services, Volservers has multiple platforms of solutions whether it is in cloud or hybrid infrastructure; its team offers support, product consultation and monitoring for multiple operating systems and databases.

Today, there are many cyber threats including zero day viruses and ransomwares which cannot be detected by traditional anti-virus and firewall solutions. Vigilant Asia is able to provide 24/7 monitoring which is bundled with advanced tools to provide protection, detection and remediation services. These tailor-made services include vulnerability assessments, security frameworks and training.

“It is affordable for SMEs to subscribe to our services which are tools provided based on a subscription model, on a per-user-per-month basis,’’ explains Cheah. Concerns over cashflow and work mobility has also prompted many SME to seek leasing programmes for endcomputing devices; short term rentals of preloved or previously used laptops and tablets are highly sought after.

To help customers navigate through the whole asset life cycle process, Rentalworks offers its mobility device leasing programmes with fixed monthly repayments plus cloud-based firewall, flexible tech support and data erasure for device end of life.

“Our specially-curated lease-to-use approach ensures that the process of deployment, maintenance and refresh are all managed by Rentalworks, making it easy for SMEs to focus on growing their businesses,’’ says Puah.

The SME digital journey is a longterm process; despite the economic reopening and return to physical locations, the road to digitalisation has started and will continue to score greater achievements.

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