Covid-19 Shocked SMEs Turning To Tech For Salvation

Covid-19 Shocked SMEs Turning To Tech For Salvation


While many Kiwi SME owners have long been famous for
their ‘she’ll be right’ approach to managing a business,
Covid-19 may have startled many business operators out of
their apathy and steered them towards putting more money,
time and effort into technology.

“The Covid-19
lockdown was a shock to many businesses, and it has resulted
in a shift in the kind of work our business is doing,” says
tech company OneHQ director Warren Hughes. “You might say
the thinking is moving from making do with ‘Number 8 Wire’
to embracing more advanced, innovative

“Many New Zealand SMEs I have worked with
over the last 30 years did not have clearly defined or
articulated goals. They tended to operate based on organic
(reactionary) and tactical development. Covid-19 forced a
rethink on business and what we are trying to achieve —
nobody wants to be tied up in the day-to-day anymore — but
instead to eliminate as much uncertainty as

Hughes says he often finds that the
business technology systems in your average Kiwi business
haven’t kept pace with the changing needs of their

“We find that importers, exporters and
manufacturers — who make up most of our client base across
New Zealand — are cautiously optimistic, but it’s not a
business as usual mindset. The last few months forced
businesses to make decisions and examine more closely their

“The result is that they are no longer
postponing change. They’re engineering and leaning towards
greater automation. One client, a manufacturer was dealing
with high, demand before the Covid-19 lockdown. They had to
shut down all production during the lockdown, and that has
driven demand through the roof. They need to automate more
to cope.”

While businesses owners are eager to
automate, Hughes says his advice to many is that technology
and human development go hand-in-hand and neither should be
ignored at the expense of the other.

“Much of the
inquiry coming our way is for a digital review process
because business owners are trying to make those connections
between the plans they have for the business and the
technology they’ll need to achieve them, at the right time
and pace.”

For those business owners contemplating
‘future-proofing’ their businesses through future upheavals
like the Covid-19 lockdown, and the potential downturn that
may result, Hughes offers the following tips on how to
conduct a digital review process:

Understand the metrics

Workshop your metrics,
your goals and your already known challenges.

“Map out
your critical business processes to identify the unknown
opportunities for improvement.”

2. Roadmap
your business technology and people

“Turn the business processes
that come out of your workshop into an easy-to-understand
format. Create a set of recommendations for the actions you
can take to improve the use of technology and people in your
business, along with the expected

3. Implement an action

“Assign costs to each step you’re going
to take, along with potential resourcing issues, bottlenecks
and required staff training.”

Hughes says that while
in the past most businesses were too busy executing
processes to map them, many businesses were now aware of the
need to future proof.

“Don’t put everything at risk by
rushing in. Buying big enterprise software solutions that
offer to do it all for you is the biggest mistake most
businesses make. Understand your needs first, plan to
achieve your goals and then add whatever resourcing —
including technology — you

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