Article
Grow Your SME with Digital Upskilling
30 Jan 2019
3 Min Read

Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) or data analytics are things many Malaysian SME owners read about on the Internet but have no idea or plan to include in their businesses.

One of the reasons is that such technologies are considered expensive. Another challenge is a lack of knowledge and understanding about how to use the technologies. For many Malaysian SMEs, digitalisation is both complicated and simple. Here is the status according to a recent study.

Digital-Chall.jpg

Around 73% of SMEs use computers, but only 56% use the Internet and only 20% have a website or web presence. Of those that use the Internet and have a web presence, only 71% engage in digital marketing.


Is this good or bad news?


For a country with a high Internet penetration rate of 85.7%, this is not great news. What it means is that you are stuck in the computerisation phase — where you use computers and digital tools but you don’t take advantage of tools like data and connectivity to improve business processes.


The good news is that many of these tools are now so popular that they now have affordable options that SMEs can easily adopt. The bad news is that even SMEs that can afford it and know where to find the technology will not have the skills to use it.


But why should I learn digital skills?


There are many reasons why you should get digital skills, but here are just three to get you started.


1. Affordability
Especially for small enterprise owners or sole proprietors who are just starting out, learning the skills — sometimes free — is more affordable than paying someone else to do it.


2. Business growth
Malaysian SMEs that have adopted digitalisation skills like digital marketing and e-commerce have recorded up to a 27% increase in their productivity. Others that use more advanced technologies like Enterprise Management Systems for data management have reported up to 60% gains in productivity.


Related: What is Digital Marketing? 5 Reasons Why It is Vital for SMEs


3. Business understanding
Your company should eventually get big enough that you can hire someone else or a team to manage the digital tasks, but having the skills means that you will always understand what is going on with and around your business.


How do I get these skills?


Digitalisation has also made getting the required skills easier for many. For instance, you can go online and find free training courses for almost any skills that you want to learn. Some ways to pick up these skills include:


MOOCs
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are free (or low-cost) online programmes that allow anyone to gain skills that they need. Some of the most popular ones for digital skills are Open Learning, Khan Academy, Udemy and edX.


Crash courses
Crash courses are typically paid but allow you to learn digital skills in a short amount of time. Many MOOCs also offer paid crash courses that you can take.


Government-sponsored/financed programmes
The Malaysian government runs several programmes through different agencies that provide digital upskilling and training financing for Malaysian SMEs.


SME BizNet
An annual event by Telekom Malaysia Berhad, SME BizNet presents insights and tips from industry leaders and innovators, as well as digital solutions and upskilling opportunities to accelerate your business. We’ll be unveiling details of SME BizNet 2019 soon, so be sure to catch the latest updates exclusively on SME Community!


Whichever way you choose, the digitalisation of global businesses means that it is important that you master the skills. This will allow you to compete more favourably on an international scale while advancing your business potential locally.

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