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SMEs & The Digital Transformation Challenge

Digital transformation is one of the challenges facing small to medium sized businesses. How to adopt digital technologies within the products and services they offer;  and how to develop the processes that drive them.

Regardless of size or industry businesses are having to make decisions on how they react to the digital opportunities and challenges that advances in technology are having on their industry.

This is because the UK and the global economy are undergoing a digital transformation.

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the term used to describe the fast development and adoption of different digital technologies that are disrupting traditional business models and ways of doing business.

One definition by iScoop, a technology blog, describes digital transformation as:

“The profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way.”

IoT and Disruptive Technologies

Increased connectivity speeds and mobile devices that can transmit data from anywhere,  such as smart phones and  tablets, are fuelling rapid innovation as businesses can leverage the value of being able to transmit, receive and store data in a connected world.

We have already seen digital behaviours have a huge impact on traditional UK industries such as insurance, taxis, and fast food takeaways. Now pricing models for insurance may be based on real-time analysis of driving behaviours, using monitoring devices directly fitted to the car, or even via a smart phone app.

Uber and similar services have disrupted the traditional taxi market by changing the way taxis are booked and paid for, and fast food takeaways have seen third parties such as Just Eat change the way that consumers find and buy their food.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another disruptive technology that is changing the way we do business. The IoT is the term used to describe the transmission of data between remote electronic devices carrying out a function and others that can be used to monitor and manage them.

An example being the Government’s smart meter roll out, so electric companies have information in real time, or the fitness devices that people wear that communicate with their smart phone.

The Challenge For SMEs

The challenge for SMEs is knowing which technologies to adopt and when; to understanding the opportunities available and prioritising them based on the potential they offer to improve internal processes and meet customer needs. An important skill in this period of digital transformation.

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