Keeping up with digitalisation

By utilising digital technologies, SMEs can contribute to the growth and prosperity of the economy as a whole 

MORE than 25 years ago when I kick-started my career in journalism, all I had with me was a notebook and a pen as companion and a desktop at my desk. The Google era was just beginning and Hotmail was still the most popular email service. 

Mobile phones were not smart back then, but Nokia’s analog phones were popular for its addictive snake game (yes, I too was hooked on it). 

Journalism, like many other industries, has undergone significant changes in the last 25 years, largely due to the advent of technology. From the way news is gathered and reported, to the way it is consumed and distributed, technology has played a critical role in shaping the face of journalism. 

One of the most significant changes in journalism is how news is gathered. With the rise of the Internet and mobile technology, journalists now have access to a wealth of information and sources not available to them in the past. 

Reporters can now easily search for and find news sources, and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become important tools for journalists to gather information and find sources. As a result, the speed at which news can be gathered and reported has increased dramatically. 

Technology has also changed the way news is reported and distributed. In the past, journalists relied on print and broadcast media to distribute their stories. 

However, the rise of the Internet has made it possible for journalists to publish and distribute their articles online, making it easier for people to access the news and share it with others. Additionally, the use of multimedia such as video, images and audio has become an essential part of journalism, allowing reporters to present stories in a more engaging and interactive way. 

Another way in which technology has changed journalism is the way people consume news. In the past, people relied on traditional media such as newspapers, magazines and TV news programmes for their daily dose of news. 

Today, however, people can access news anytime, anywhere, through a variety of digital platforms, including websites, apps and social media. The rise of personalised news algorithms has also allowed people to tailor their newsfeeds to their specific interests and needs, making it easier for them to stay informed on topics that matter most to them. 

Technology has had a profound impact on the practice of data journalism. In the past, journalists had limited access to data, and the process of analysing and presenting data was time-consuming and often required specialised skills. 

Today, however, journalists have access to a wealth of data through online databases and APIs (application programming interfaces), and they can use powerful data visualisation tools to present their findings in a more engaging and accessible way. 

There is no doubt that technology has changed journalism in many ways over the last 25 years. As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that journalism will continue to change and adapt, offering new opportunities for journalists to tell stories and inform the public. 

Likewise, in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business environment, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) must constantly evolve and adapt to changing market conditions in order to remain relevant and profitable. The Covid-19 crisis has emphasised the importance of digital transformation for SMEs and has served as an accelerator. 

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the enforcement of the Movement Control Orders (MCOs) in Malaysia resulted in an unprecedented slump in economic activity. The MCOs ordered the temporary closure of non-essential businesses and prohibited nationwide mass movements. Within a week, 70% of SMEs reported a 50% drop in business. 

When compared to the same period in the digital space, online non-food shopping increased by 53%, online grocery shopping increased by 144%, and online food delivery increased by 61%. Food delivery platforms GrabFood and Foodpanda saw a 30% increase in orders on the first day of the MCO alone. 

The contrasting trajectories between online and offline economic activities indicated that it is crucial for SMEs to participate in the digital economy if they are to survive and succeed in the post-Covid world. 

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, SMEs must be able to quickly respond to new opportunities and challenges. Digital technologies can help SMEs become more agile and flexible, allowing them to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, respond to customer needs and preferences, and seize new opportunities. 

By embracing digitalisation, SMEs can remain relevant and competitive, and ultimately achieve long-term success. Just like in journalism, digitalisation is no longer an option but a necessity for SMEs in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business environment. 

By utilising digital technologies, SMEs can increase their efficiency and productivity, enhance the customer experience, expand their reach and improve collaboration and communication. Doing so, SMEs can contribute to the growth and prosperity of the economy as a whole. 

  • Rupinder Singh is the assistant corporate editor at The Malaysian Reserve. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition