Technology to help ASEAN SMEs compete better | Source: Pixabay

SMEs rely on tech to boost productivity and profitability

ACCORDING to results of the Asean SME Transformation Study by UOB, D&B, and EY, SMEs in Singapore and the ASEAN region are trying to leverage technology and simplify their business processes to raise productivity and become more competitive.

The study surveyed more than 1,200 business owners or management-level executives across six critical ASEAN markets – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It found that, in the coming year, 78 percent of Asean and 79 percent of Singaporean SMEs will prioritize their technology investment in software. Also, 65 percent of Asean SMEs ad 57 percent of Singaporean SMEs believed that it is time to upgrade their hardware.

Both software and hardware investments, the respondents feel, will help to raise productivity and give them an edge in the crowded marketplace.

However, though many small businesses are focused on technology, they’re yet to harness the benefits of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

The study found that 54 percent of small businesses in Southeast Asia have yet to realize the potential that pay-per-use or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) can offer to address their need for banking and financial services such as accounting, invoicing and compensation.

The preference for traditional licensed software could be due to their familiarity with these options over newer solutions such as SaaS. However, such software could be less cost-effective and may not be flexible enough to meet their needs in the long term.

In conclusion, the report suggests that as small businesses explore technology solutions to enhance business operations, they must seek to understand their options better to use their limited resources effectively.