Malaysian SMEs must first leverage digital payment capabilities. Source: Shutterstock

Malaysian SMEs must first leverage digital payment capabilities. Source: Shutterstock

Malaysia scales up strategies to help SMEs go digital by 2022

WITHIN Southeast Asia, there is a constant need to accelerate the digitalization of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to stay relevant in the global market and gain a competitive edge.

Naturally, efforts are being scaled at a national level to push SMEs to be digitally-enabled and technologically equipped to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world.

Malaysia is evidently keen on achieving such goals by the year 2022, in line with governmental efforts to empower a digital society.

The country is actively taking on multiple initiatives to get businesses to leverage viable solutions that could help automate operational processes and achieve digital proficiency.

The government, especially, has prioritized digitalization efforts among SMEs to maintain relevance, maximize business efficiency, and increase productivity.

There is also a strong focus on digital payment capabilities as the country believes that enabling the service is a crucial first step to digitalization.

As a result, the government is working closely with banks to offer SMEs a seamless and interoperable integration with banking systems.

For example, RHB Bank has put forward a set of application programming interfaces (API) to assist in automating payments and reconciling accounts for SMEs, further extending the availability of digital support.

“Digitalisation is coming, given another two to three years, I would say almost all SME will go into cashless payment,” said SME Corp Chief Executive Officer Noor Azmi Mat Said.

Aside from digital payments, the country is also making an effort to fuel digitalization efforts and recognize those that have succeeded with implementing technology through the Enterprise 50 (E50) 2019 Award program.

The program is among the initiatives by the corporation to reward SMEs for various milestones, including digitalization.

SMEs were free to nominate themselves and were evaluated against a number of criteria to identify those that have adopted solutions and utilized technology tools effectively.

According to Said, SMEs that have submitted their application went through a rigorous assessment process based on various benchmarks, including technology adoption, innovative efforts, and management process.

Although only 10 winners were chosen, 78 companies seemed to have fulfilled all the criteria signifying the effectiveness of the country’s transformation strategies.

Understandably, the demands for digital capabilities will turbocharge technology adoption among SMEs, resulting in increased market value — helping drive the economy forward.