SMEs need a tech upgrade to survive in the Covid-19 economy - TechCentral

SMEs need a tech upgrade to survive in the Covid-19 economy

Strict lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut down businesses and limited human movement.

The economic impact of these measures has been profound, especially on small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which tend to be less resilient than large enterprises due to limited capital and cash flow.

According to a survey by local financial services group Sasfin, only 45% of respondents said they could survive for between one and three months. Businesses in the tourism, retail and services industries have been particularly hard hit.

Now, as the government plans to reopen the economy by rolling back restrictions in a phased, risk-adjusted approach, some degree of economic activity will return.

The fundamentals to SME sustainability in this new operating environment will hinge on cost containment, operational efficiency and, above all else, agility.

Technology remains a fundamental enabler for these attributes. Cloud computing and the mobility this enables can create the nimble and agile operations that will survive and thrive in an age of social distancing, remote working and the ever-present threat of move back to level-4 or -5 lockdown.

Providing staff with reliable, powerful connectivity and communication capabilities sits at the heart of this new operating model.

Feature rich

Mobility solutions will keep staff connected to company applications, empowering them to access backend systems to maintain operations. Feature-rich devices that offer collaboration capabilities will make it easier to orchestrate business activities among a disparately located workforce.

Constant communication and updates will also become vital to mitigate the impact of constrained supply chains. SMEs that can’t effectively engage with suppliers won’t be in a position to respond to possible upticks in demand.

More importantly, SMEs require digital capabilities to ensure frontend staff remain connected to customers, and that companies are able to adapt to and operate within the burgeoning digital marketplace and platform economy as brick-and-mortar storefronts remain closed or unable to operate at full capacity.

The harsh reality is that restarting businesses and attracting consumer business aren’t necessarily linked amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Even with eased lockdown restrictions on movement, many consumers remain wary of circulating in public, with many opting to remain at home and rather shop and interact online wherever possible.
As such, SMEs will need to create and maintain a digital presence, operating some form of virtual storefront, platform play or online ordering strategy to craft a sustainable business model amid lockdown restrictions or pivot their offering to unlock alternative revenue streams.

However, with limited working capital a likely financial constraint and the need to conserve capital expenditure over the short term another important survival strategy, SMEs require cost-effective solutions that do not compromise on functionality.

With a device like the Huawei Y7p, introducing innovation and agility into your SME doesn’t need to be a costly exercise.

Available for R3 999 from the online Huawei store, this cost-effective smartphone solution provides all the functionality an SME requires. The 6.39-inch Punch FullView display provides the ideal physical interface to access a virtual business environment.

Higher system speed from the EMUI 9.1 Smart Life processor, 4GB of RAM and intelligent system scheduling improve usability.

The smartphone’s Full Scenario Accelerating Engine regulates system resources according to task priority to optimise system fluidity and boost performance, while the Smart Memory Engine can rapidly allocate memory resources, resulting in 27% better system performance and improved app launch speeds of up to 19%.

Scan documents

A 48-megapixel triple camera with AI stabilisation allows users to easily scan documents for upload to digitised systems for order processing or other administrative tasks.

The 4 000 mAh battery delivers extended usability to keep staff connected and working through the workday. Users can benefit from 47 hours of talk time or 20 hours of Web surfing.

And multifactor security features, including Face Unlock 2.0, which builds a user’s biometric profile with scans taken from multiple angles and includes eye detection, and fingerprint access, ensure devices that connect to the company network are physically secure to protect sensitive data and personal information.

These features will ensure your company remains always-on and ready for business in the growing digital, on-demand marketplace.

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