For SMEs, the future is digital

A plethora of ICM solutions to help SMEs on their digital journey were unveiled at the inaugural SMEs Go Digital industry briefing.

By Suresh Nair

The longer-term strategy for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to stay ahead of global competition is simple and straightforward: Transform digitally.

“We believe every business needs to be a digital business to remain relevant and thrive in the future economy,” said Mr Tan Kiat How (below), Chief Executive of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). As part of the SMEs Go Digital programme, IMDA offers customised help from funding and consultancy to pre-qualifying tech products and participation in joint pilots.

20170523 smes go 2Close to 500 participants were invited to hear the digital opportunities available at the inaugural SMEs Go Digital industry briefing on 11 May organised by IMDA. Among those present were ICM solution providers, partners from Trade Association and Chambers (TACs), Singapore Institute of Technology and Frost & Sullivan, as well as public sector organisations such as SPRING Singapore, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Personal Data Protection Commission, Cyber Security Agency and Workforce Singapore.

At the briefing, IMDA announced 50 pre-approved digital solutions for SMEs under the programme. “These solutions were identified with the help of relevant government agencies, and have been tried and tested by pilot SME users. We encourage SMEs to make full use of these digital solutions in their digitalisation efforts,” said Mr Tan.

Mr Philip Heah, Senior Director (Infrastructure and SMEs) of IMDA, added, “The awarded ICM suppliers have displayed clear business appreciation and acumen in their respective industries. Their digital solutions have the potential to scale and are proven to be of value.”

Digital-journey package

The SMEs Go Digital programme – launched in April 2017 to provide an all-rounded support to help SMEs’ overall levels of digital readiness – offers curated advice on using technology to stay ahead of global challenges.

It aims to defray the cost of technology purchases. Notably, it will improve on a seven-year-old iSprint scheme, which provided similar support and basic tech advice. More than 8,000 SMEs have benefitted from iSprint.

IMDA’s strategy involves partnering influential companies to pilot sector-specific solutions that have the potential to scale instead of supporting disparate pilot projects by SMEs. The key identified sectors include retail, food services, logistics and cleaning.

One example is retail store Robinsons, which integrated some 200 SME suppliers on a common e-procurement platform for better sales planning and inventory management. Another one is StarHub, which offered about 1,000 SMEs in the F&B industry a comprehensive digital solution package, which bundles  its broadband services with IMDA pre-approved digital solutions such as retail analytics, digital ordering and payment.

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