Innovation is necessary for growth.

In the new normal, however, many businesses are aiming for survival, while growth takes a backseat on the strategic agenda.

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The new normal foisted on economies, a result of an unexpected global viral pandemic, has resulted in an uncertain business landscape across the globe in mature, developing and emerging markets alike, where large corporations in sectors previously thought shock-proof against downturns, are struggling.

What more, then, for small and medium-sized enterprises?

SMEs, as they are termed, make up a large part of the Malaysian economy and contributed up to 38% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2016 (source: Department of Statistics Malaysia). The majority of these SMEs, 89%, operate in the service sector, numbering over 800,000 businesses, while other SMEs operate in the manufacturing and construction sectors, comprising over 40,000 and 39,000 businesses respectively.

The new normal has highlighted acutely the stark realisation that digital transformation is necessary as consumers wholly embrace and adapt to new ways of consuming. Just the example of online grocery shopping, necessitated by enforced social distancing, is sufficient to drive home the benefits of digital transformation of a business for survival and growth.

We explore what SMEs now face in terms of challenges, and the technological solutions to be considered, to help them survive the new normal with some measure of confidence, and hopefully, provide the boost for future growth.


Facing New Challenges

In any business of any size, a key goal is the optimisation of resources and processes to yield maximum output at the lowest possible cost. That goal in itself is a challenge; it is a precursor to the next challenge, which is growth.