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The complete guide to SME digital transformation

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Last editedMar 20233 min read

Many larger enterprises have already undergone a process of digital transformation – but how does it relate to SMEs? Digital transformation goes beyond merely automating internal processes. For SMEs, it means incorporating digital technologies into every aspect of your business. A successful SME digital transformation strategy not only streamlines your workflow, but adds value for customers at every step of the journey. In this guide, we’ll discuss the primary elements of digital transformation for SMEs as well as best practices to ensure success. 

What is digital transformation in SME?

Innovation sits at the heart of digital transformation for SMEs. This term refers to the shift from paper-based processes to digital applications with the goal of providing a better customer experience. It represents not only technological upgrades and automation, but also cultural changes within an SME’s organization.

In addition to improving the customer experience, goals of digital transformation can include increased productivity, greater efficiency, and higher profitability. You can tailor a digital transformation to your business’s needs by identifying areas for improvement. For example, a web design company might use new software to improve internal collaboration between developers, designers, and marketers.

Essential components of digital transformation in SME include technologies such as the following:

  • A digital platform capturing and analyzing customer behavior with real-time data

  • A content management solution to manage digital assets and track marketing data

  • An ecommerce solution that provides personalized shopping experiences

  • Cloud solutions to host and manage financial and marketing strategies

  • Innovative payment solutions to improve the customer experience

When do you need SME digital transformation?

There are a few signs of inefficiency that any SME should keep in mind. If your company ticks any of these boxes, it might be worth undergoing a digital transformation.

  • Lack of referrals due to an inefficient or hard-to-find website

  • Lack of a joined-up online presence between social media

  • Inefficient communication between company departments

  • Use of multiple apps without synchronized data

  • Reliance on paper-based processes and workflows

There’s no singular solution that works for all businesses. Start your digital transformation by evaluating areas with room for improvement, whether it’s in relation to customer experience, collaboration, or data collection.

How to start implementing a digital transformation

As with any business transformation, a digital transition doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need to put a firm strategy in place along with the willingness to undergo cultural change. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to get started:

Step 1: Define your goals.

If you’re struggling to pinpoint your larger vision, think about trouble spots within your business. Are there burdensome workflows or blind spots with data? Is there a point in the customer journey where you fail to convert leads? Look at areas for improvement and define the outcomes you’d like to see. Start with the bigger picture, and work backwards to outline the steps needed to achieve these outcomes.

Step 2: Select the digital technologies.

There’s a seemingly infinite array of digital technologies out there now, from cloud-based software to content management systems and AI-driven apps. Research the type of technology that will help you achieve your goals, including digital adoption platforms and apps. The best will be customizable to best fit in with your organization.

Step 3: Tailor services to your customers.

Digital transformation in SME can’t happen without considering the customer journey. There’s no need to do away with all your existing systems; instead, look at ways to join the apps you’re already using. The aim should be to unify your customer data and better understand their journey. This helps you refine the journey at every step using real-time data analysis, from onboarding to payment and returns.

How can GoCardless help with digital transformation?

A smooth digital customer experience extends to the payments process. Today’s consumers expect fast, seamless payments processed in real-time. For SMEs, providing a painless checkout can improve conversions and profitability.

GoCardless can help with this aspect of digital transformation by offering a fully digital ACH direct debit payments solution. There are plentiful benefits to bank debits, from lower fees to fraud protection. With GoCardless, small businesses can offer full end-to-end digital payments experience with automated workflows. Collect payments directly from customer bank accounts for full control over incoming payments. GoCardless also integrates with over 300 partners including invoicing software like Xero and others, fitting neatly into a wider digital transformation.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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