Workplace digitalisation and how to make it work for your SME

digital evolution, tech

There’s no doubt that the digitalisation of the workplace has taken off in the past few years. Sparked by the move to remote-based working, SMEs across Australia and the rest of the world have rapidly adopted technology solutions into their organisation at a scale never seen before.

While the pandemic may have begun to stabilise, SMEs’ desire to digitalise their operations is yet to slow down. This desire for digitalisation has progressed from rapidly responding to a monumental change in the market to developing detailed transformation plans. As SMEs embark on their digital transformation plans there are some things they need to keep in mind.

The digitalisation challenges facing SMEs have evolved and so too have the digital transformation plans. SMEs need to understand the broader challenges in the market and how they may be impacting their operations. Among the challenges facing SMEs is the shifting sentiment among Australian workers. According to the latest ELMO Employee Sentiment Index, 46 per cent of Australian workers are feeling burnt out and 63 per cent of workers believe greater technology will help them in their job. These are important considerations for employers when mapping out their transformation plans. If greater technology is welcomed by employees it may be a matter of improving their digital capabilities to make sure their skills are aligned with the willingness for more technology. For small businesses, there are Government initiatives underway that can assist with digital investments.

Digital transformation can be as simple as automating processes or as complex as reinventing a business model to have technology at its heart. Alongside understanding the broader challenges facing their organisation, SMEs need to know what they want their digital transformation to achieve. For instance, improving employee engagement and driving greater productivity might be the key goals of a transformation plan. In this scenario, technology can cut out time-consuming processes by automating them. Greater automation can give workers more time to focus on activity that grows revenue and makes a tangible difference to the bottom line. This not only improves business performance but helps keep employees engaged. Keeping workers engaged is an important consideration given 36 per cent of workers feel bored at work. What gets measured gets managed, so it’s crucial that transformation plans have clearly defined objectives and key success indicators. This process can also help SMEs identify where they may have avenues for Government subsidies or incentives available to them. A clear goal can be a useful starting point when exploring how you are going to make it happen.

The way business is done has changed a lot and will continue to change even more. There is no better time for SMEs to explore how they can improve their operations. The first step to a successful digital transformation strategy is to understand the broader challenges facing the business. Armed with that information SMEs can begin building transformation plans with clearly defined goals that make the best use of technology.