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Three Digital Trends That Will Disrupt Malaysian SMEs
by Claire Featherstone | Head of New Business, Enterprise Maxis
As we know SMEs have been a major catalyst in boosting Malaysia’s economy. According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, in year 2014, SMEs contributed 35.9% to the country’s GDP, and this figure has remained more or less constant since 2010.
Malaysian SMEs today are gradually embracing digital tools to market their products and also grow their businesses while doing so. There are three major trends that will shape the future of Malaysian SMEs, especially their marketing departments.
Running Apps on the Cloud:
Maintaining and running applications in-house can be painful for SMEs, especially given the fact that their resources are limited. Therefore, moving applications to the cloud might soon become a common norm for SMEs going ahead.
Running apps on the cloud can significantly reduce upfront costs as, SMEs will no longer need to invest huge chunks of money in buying storage hardware. Also moving to the cloud significantly reduces the need to have a large IT team to ensure smooth running of applications. As a cloud provider shoulders the burden of renewing software licenses, it becomes less worry some for SMEs to ensure seamless running of applications.
Moving applications to the cloud also resolves problems related to scaling. Instead of having to build storage capacity in-house, a cloud provider takes care of an organisation’s storage demands as and when required, thereby reducing expenses that surface owing to storage over provisioning. Moving applications to the cloud also ensures faster time-to-market as well. All a SME needs to do is sign-up and start working.
Social Media Marketing:
Unlike large enterprises, SMEs cannot afford to spend large amounts on marketing budgets. While traditional media, like television, print and radio might be far from the grasps of SMEs, social media can indeed be a good channel for SMEs to reach out to potential customers.
To carry out a successful social media marketing campaign, it is important to ensure that the areas where you operate have proper digital penetration in terms of internet connectivity and smartphone usage. Here in comes the best part about Malaysia - its citizens are extremely keen on knowing and dealing with brands through social media.
According to We are Social (as of November 2015), Malaysia had 20.6 million internet users, 18 million social media users, 41.9 million mobile connections and 16 million active social media users.
All these figures make Malaysia the leader in the internet and social media space, in Southeast Asia. So, the numbers clearly suggest that Malaysian SMEs have a stronger potential to develop marketing campaigns and other business activities online, compared to several other nations in Asia.
Half knowledge is dangerous. If you are investing in social media marketing campaigns, then it’s pointless if you are not analyzing the data your campaign is generating. Data generated by SMEs might not be as big as Tier One enterprises, but the value analytics can generate remains the same in both cases.
A major reason why SMEs will invest more in social media marketing and analytics is to reach out to potential customers and also know what’s going on in the minds of their customers with regards to brands. It is true that analytics is an expensive proposition and some Malaysian SMEs might shy away from investing in it, but that’s something you should not be doing.
Given the fact that SMEs are more bent towards adopting a SaaS model for business, this eases the cost of employing analytics tools. Strategy Analytics, a research firm, recently claimed that much of big data analytics software will be 'open source' which is less expensive than proprietary software.
It will also have the ability to run on commodity hardware, which OEM vendors are betting will help broaden its appeal to SMEs. Also, the fact that competition is growing in the analytics space, will drive lower pricing.
An IDG Enterprise global study conducted in 2015 claimed that 63 percent of SMEs have already deployed, or are planning to deploy big data projects in the next twelve months. Make sure your organisation is one of them!
A mobile-first approach makes it easier for businesses to enhance customer engagement, boost user experience, and increase the overall buyer experience. Morgan Stanley revealed that since 2014, mobile devices have witnessed more active internet users than desktops. Google’s Consumer Barometer 2015 revealed that 52% of Malaysians access internet using smartphones. Another report by statista.com pointed out there will be 13.7 million smartphone users in Malaysia by 2019 and that by the end of 2016 the country will boast of having more than 11 million smartphone users.
It’s exciting times for online business owners in Malaysia, especially considering the rapid internet and mobile penetration in the country. According to We Are Social, 71% of Malaysian adults own a mobile device and 81 million Malaysians are active mobile users and 47% of them use mobiles to shop online. All these numbers actually translate to huge business opportunities for e-commerce and digital native businesses. But, there are a few key areas that business owners need to keep in mind to ensure a successful online endeavour. Here are four: