Digitalisation is the key to SME success in 2024

Image of Digital On Demand business unit manager Jessica Harvey

JESSICA HARVEY AI and machine learning can reduce the load on the limited personnel resources of SME’s, enabling the business to scale without having to increase headcounts or overheads

16th February 2024

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to drive sustainable economic growth across South Africa in 2024, digital transformation is critical.

The impact of SME digitalisation is far-reaching, promoting sustainable economic growth, inclusivity and resilience against economic headwinds.

Digital transformation itself is no longer a competitive edge and is imperative that SMEs, which are crucial for South Africa’s economic growth, start this journey post-haste, says specialist cloud platform provider Tarsus on Demand division Digital On Demand (DoD) business unit manager Jessica Harvey.

Digitalisation makes it easy for smaller businesses to broaden their scope and expand their operations.

Further, many companies require partner companies’ processes to be aligned with their own business, and a lack of digitalisation creates the risk of losing clients.

This emerges amid a growing trend towards digital solutions in the business landscape, which significantly enhances business operations.

According to the 2023 SME Confidence Index, about 64% of local SMEs say that they believe ecommerce will have a positive impact on their business.

However, one of the foremost challenges SMEs face lies in identifying a starting point for their digital transformation journey.

“The survey highlights the top areas where SMEs in Africa require support, with some 88% suggesting they need help digitalising their businesses,” says Harvey, pointing out that this was one of the key reasons Tarsus launched its DoD unit, which aims to assist with the education and acceleration of the digitalisation process for SMEs throughout Africa.

DoD has created a platform, the Digital Business Hub, which features cloud-based solutions designed to solve the challenges experienced by typical businesses using technology and cloud-based solutions.

“DoD understands this problem, providing a roadmap specifically tailored to both the unique needs, and the future aspirations, of each business,” she explains.

This includes creating automated processes, so the business can start gathering data, the lifeblood of the digital world, from the start.

“There are many reasons to digitalise your business, not the least of which are the near-future implications of the latest technologies. For example, in 2024 the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be a key focus for many businesses in the SME arena,” Harvey continues.

SMEs can reduce the load on limited personnel resources, enabling the business to scale without having to increase headcounts or overheads, through the implementation of AI and machine learning.

According to Harvey, there are two other big opportunities for growth in 2024, namely fostering a strong focus on microlearning, which is more about learning skill sets and knowledge bases, and embracing sustainability, which will increasingly inform customers’ decisions, with the modern consumer wanting to do business with others that are equally focused on sustainability.

“At Tarsus on Demand, we envision being at the forefront of the African digital narrative for SMEs, facilitating seamless transformation and promoting growth and innovation within this vital sector.

“DOD is poised to set the stage for a more vibrant, innovative and balanced economy, one in which SMEs can play their critical role in helping South Africa towards a prosperous future for all,” she concludes.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor




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