Thinking Small in Business Tech Hurts
Investment in technology, and more specifically business automation, has been last on the list of strategic investments made by MSMEs. In my career spanning over 30 years, I can safely declare that SMEs are afraid to invest in technology. And they are not to blame.
A variety of reasons can be attributed and responsibility for this has to be borne not just by the founder but also the tech companies and the popular press. Perhaps you as a MSME would agree to some of the reasons I highlight here.
Lack of Tech Orientation
While the latest phone and the fastest computer may be used, the average business owner does not spend time to grasp the process and tools of business automation. This leads to a lack of appreciation and application of how tech can be used to spur business growth.
Founders must treat tech as an important factor as much as finance, sales and operations. Staying aware and exploring tech solutions will give you enough ideas to use tech for staying ahead of the competition.
Fewer Success Stories
The popular press does not highlight the success stories of MSMEs, and tech vendors are also not spending enough to promote them. Sharing within the MSME community is limited for fear of competition. Business owners do not hear success stories and hence are not motivated to explore deeper.
Tech vendors, government bodies and business communities can fund and publish case studies for specific sectors and technologies that help MSMEs invest in tech.
Overenthusiasm of Tech Partners
Tech partners are to blame for promising unrealistic returns for tech investment and many times for not delivering on expectations. A general lack of business requirements is another reason why there is a gap between expectations and fulfillment.
Tech companies must invest time in understanding business requirements and gap analysis to ensure a good fit. Educating business owners on the process of automation and managing expectations from the planning stages can help tremendously.
Expectations of Quick Returns
The biggest factor, I’d say, is the business owner expecting benefits to flow like water as soon as the tap is opened. Tech is not a destination; it is a journey and you gain benefits as you travel. Businesses must give time and resources for proper implementation, training and adjustments as a continuous cycle.
I hope my small article helps business owners to invest deeper in tech and reap the benefits.
Mohammed Sutarwala, Managing Director, emQube