Be Crystal Clear on “Outcomes” First, SAP Tells SMEs

SAP Malaysia today urged small medium enterprises (SMEs) to have a clear focus of the desired “outcomes” and what they would like to achieve, before embarking on technology discussions.

“Be crystal clear on outcomes because when businesses understand what they would like to accomplish, they would then adopt the necessary technology,” said its managing director Duncan Williamson (pic above).

“I would advocate the investment of time and effort for businesses to first understand what they would like to achieve – their ‘purpose’ – and then move on to the technology discussion,” he added.

Williamson cited the case of Grab, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing platform, which was determined to automate its travel and expense processes so as to save employees’ time.

“Because Grab was so focussed on what it wanted to achieve – saving employees’ time – they knew exactly which technology to adopt, which is SAP Concur,” said Williamson.

SAP Concur is known to take companies of all sizes and stages beyond automation to a completely connected expense management solution encompassing travel, expense, invoice, compliance and risk.

“Ever since Grab adopted SAP Concur few years ago, their (previous) pain of managing expenses has gone away. Hence, it freed up employees’ time to focus on growing the business – and Grab has been growing rapidly throughout the region,” he said.

Williamson was speaking at a media briefing in conjunction with an Economist Corporate Network event entitled, ‘Tradition, Technology and Transformation — Embracing change and ensuring continuity in family-owned businesses’ held in Kuala Lumpur today.

SAP SME 02

Its global editorial director Andrew Staples (left in pic above) said that Malaysian family businesses can no longer depend on connections or customer loyalty within today’s ‘borderless economy’.

According to a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit, family businesses in Malaysia are least assured in Southeast Asia about their future-readiness.

“Family businesses and SMEs need to future-proof themselves with digital know-how and innovation so that can compete on the international arena,” he advised.

Williamson also said that SMEs should start viewing technology as an investment and not a cost if they are to realise sustainable growth.

“There’s much room for improvement with Malaysian SMEs which should start viewing technology a business enabler that paves the way for greater productivity, operational efficiencies and cost-savings,” he said.

Also present at the session was Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) vice president (enterprise development) Gopi Ganesalingam who said that local companies need to step up with their digital transformation efforts to ‘future proof’ their core businesses and unleash innovation to stay ahead of the competition.

“As the world embraces the digital age, it is clear that there is a revolution taking place right now with technology taking centre stage by changing all the rules and making disruption the norm,” said Gopi.

“The way forward is for businesses to embrace the idea of being disruptive and not be disrupted.”