Post Covid-19 Economy - Digitisation Tips for SMBs

| Updated on June 27, 2020

Much disruption has happened to MSME businesses in the last few months. Unavailability of employees at workplace, demand slowdown, supply chain disruption,cashflow issues, working capital crunches, looming loan burden are key factors. As MSMEs re-imagine business, embracing technology will be an important proactive step. It is time now to relook at the entire gamut of digitization for MSMEs.

The uncertainties under which businesses operate now brings in new challenges. Working in a distributed environment is a reality now. Social distancing, containment zones etc will continue to prevent some employees to come to office.  Working remotely has suddenly become much more prevalent for specific types of work.

Some of the major benefits that SMEs can accrue from digitization are increasing efficiencies of operations, expanding their presence to find new customers, increasing ability to work in a distributed environment and eventually better profitability.

Digitize operations

In this journey, documenting the business transactions digitally is the first step, starting with operations like order management, invoicing, inventory, bank reconciliation, GST compliance etc.  Training and building capability are key factors for the business to start using digital solutions. For this, it is important to use a software solution like Tally. ERP 9 that focus on simplicity and intuitiveness of usage. This will bring down training and start-up costs, making move to digitization and sustained operations smoother.

Access from anywhere

Once data is maintained and available in digital form, people need to be able to access and modify it from wherever they are. Quality and speed of connectivity is super important when one is working over the internet. We find that internet access patterns vary from broadband to mobile phone hotspots. Unstable and slow internet connection negatively affects the productivity of the employees as they work remotely on a pure cloud-based software. Hence, it is necessary to look at a combination of on-premise and cloud-based approach. The speed and convenience of working on a on-premise software is unmatched.

Add to this the capability to make data available elsewhere via the data exchange/distribution capabilities of the cloud, and this points to the best-in-class solution. And whenever any data is available is on-transit or stored in the cloud, it is vital to guarantee privacy and security of that data. It ensures that nobody other than the customer, i.e. neither the cloud provider nor the software application provider, can read this data.

Integration with other software systems

Digital payment is gathering pace. On one hand there is the fear of infection by exchanging cash, and on the other hand there is the inability of customer to visit the place of purchase. Because of these, the ability to accept and make digital payments becomes crucial. For example, wallets like Jiomoney, Amazon Pay, Paytm registered impressive growth during the lockdown period even though the economy was slowing.

As MSMEs rethink their businesses during and post COVID, they need to rethink how to make inventory available to customer to see and purchase, manage orders and track fulfilment. The ability to take all these things online is a very important change that many will consider bringing in.

To facilitate these, it is necessary that the software solutions of choice have strong capabilities to easily integrate with other 3 party software systems like e-marketplaces, banks, digital payment systems.

In the ongoing and post COVID scenarios, increasing usage of technology will certainly give MSMEs new options to re-plan their businesses in order to bounce back. This document explores a few critical aspects that businesses should consider while taking benefit of digitization.

By Nabendu Das, Head – Engineering, Tally Solution

Published on June 26, 2020

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