Covid-19 accelerated the business digitalisation process

Before Covid-19, there were questions among the SMEs on whether or not digitalisation is needed


DIGITALISATION used to be an optional path rather than a mandatory move to develop or grow with the time.

However, Malaysian Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) CEO Surina Shukri said as the world changes with new competitors in the market and new business models, people are beginning to consider digitalisation.

“From the small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) standpoint, there were questions on whether or not they needed it,” she said at the Digital Leadership in Accelerating Digitalisation panel discussion at the SME Digital Summit yesterday.

“The Covid-19 outbreak, however, has accelerated and demonstrated that the act of digitalisation is the key that shows businesses would have to be better, faster and cheaper and continue to deliver overall good customer experience to retain their clients.

“Now, SMEs have realised that it is no longer an option,” she said.

SME Corp Malaysia chief cluster development officer Zaky Moh said the company looks at all aspects in which an SME may adopt digitalisation.

“We are looking not only at the front-end, which would be the hardware or how they deal with clients, but also the processes which happen within the company.

“Although we cannot come up with one programme or funding, we can look into the processes for the SMEs and find ways to improve them,” he said.

Malaysia Productivity Corp Digital Productivity Nexus champion Datuk Wei Chuan Beng (picture) said company leaders are responsible for both the survivability and figuring out a way to make the breakthrough for their companies, and one step to breaking through would be digitalisation.

“For any huge undertaking like this, it must start from the leadership level.

“Leaders should be able to overcome obstacles like developing people who may not have the skill sets, funding or the lack of any other source of competency,” he said.

Wei said there would always be a need to tweaking, customising, adjusting, training and achieving the breakthrough.

“We can only transform into a digital country if we can do all that together,” he said.

He also added that there would always be a state of unreadiness. However, during the Movement Control Order (MCO) itself, any SMEs who wish to continue with their operations may apply to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry via its website.

“In the first half of the day that this was announced, 100,000 SMEs applied online, and by the end of the day, 170,000 SMEs have applied, showing that going digital might as well be the necessity.

“Similarly, I would question anyone who says that SMEs are not ready to go digital,” he said.