Digital Transformation for Small Business

In an earlier post, we explored the 5 myths of digital transformation. The first of them was that digital transformations are expensive. They’re not. We debunked that myth. Knock it out of your noggin’! Alright…let’s get to why small businesses have a distinct advantage!

Size = Agility
For large enterprises, a digital transformation can be a lengthy and fairly expensive process and given the scale of such an endeavour, success can be marginal and subjected to a number of factors that may impede a successful implementation.

Small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s) are by nature, more agile. With a limited amount of owners and often fewer shareholders, decisions can be made faster. Threats are often closer and more real and the culture of the business is often less political, with fewer silos. In other words, a flatter organisational structure. This all offers greater agility to adapt to the market place and shifts. It also offers greater vulnerability to market changes, regulatory impacts and globalization from disruptors and competitors.

Technology that favours small business
For larger enterprises, deploying almost any technology across the enterprise or to just a few departments or teams can be complex and expensive, involve a number of people and thus power plays and silos. This is far less so with SMB’s. So many cloud services today can be implemented at low costs and not require much, if any, capex funding. This makes them easier to choose and implement.

More adaptive
Smaller organisations can adapt products and services faster as well. This gives them flexibility to integrate to new models and existing technologies. That means lower cost to make changes to the business model, easier to train and adapt sales and marketing efforts and faster to see an ROI.

Culture and People
The absolute and most critical aspect to a digital transformation project by any organisation, large or small, is the culture and people. In larger organisation’s, cultures tend to be massive ships that are hard to turn around and with more people come more silos and power-plays. All things that can derail a digital transformation. Whereas small businesses have less hierarchy (typically) and can adapt faster and easier. The people can be more engaged and feel part of the whole project, significantly increasing the chances of success.

There’s more to it, but that covers the basics of the advantages for small businesses with a digital transformation. What are your thoughts and experiences?

About the Author Giles W. Crouch

Giles Crouch is a design anthropologist and CDO/CIO. He spent over 20 years in globally-focussed marketing communications for technology products and services, but his roots are anthropology in a modern sense. He uniquely ties his deep knowledge of technology, marketing, design thinking and design anthropology as a polymath to help clients seeking digital advantage in today’s complex world. Giles has been regularly interviewed by international news media on topics such as social media, blockchain, artificial intelligence and it’s impacts on society. He is a passionate practitioner of design thinking and anthropology. Giles is prolific writer and public speaker, lecturer and keynote. He has also completed over 250 netnographic research projects since 2009. His secondary activity is as Group Publisher with Human Media Inc.

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