SMBs should help employees gear up for success

Make the shift - Asia Pacific SMB Growth Ambitions Made Possible with Technology Refresh

SMBs are the growth engine of Asia, making up majority[1] of the region’s enterprises and employing over half of the workforce. As the overall business environment becomes more competitive, and as companies strive to attract the best and brightest talent, SMBs must be at their nimblest and most innovative.

There is so much talk about big data, cloud and AI propelling industries forward, but one very vital but often neglected conversation involves the very tools that we give to every employee to allow them to perform at their best.

New generation, new tech demands

By 2020, millennials will make up 35 percent[2] of the workforce globally and this number is only expected to grow as we progress closer towards the future economy. This new generation of workers[3] value the opportunity of flexibility and their affinity for technology is driving them to demand greater mobility and technology in their work.

A recent study by IDC[4] describes the “Future SMB” as an ecosystem and technology-first organization that can amplify its presence and capabilities for sustainable business growth, productivity, and competitiveness. Due to their small size, SMBs tend of face challenges such as skills shortage, low technology adoption and process automation, but the study added that widely available and easier to consume digital technologies are levelling up the playing field between MNCs and SMBs, mainly in the way they embrace the future of work.

Hence, SMBs must be ambitious and adopt a digital-first mindset and business. They should acknowledge the demands for new ways of working to remain competitive in the business environment. They need to prioritize their resources to develop an IT framework that quickens business development and champions workforce efficiency to successfully attract and retain talent.

Microsoft and TechAisle’s recent research identified several gaps that are hampering this progress. Firstly, it found that majority of SMBs are not upgrading their computing systems and strategic IT applications such as cloud and mobility fast enough. This has created a rift between the technological expectations of the workforce – increased mobility, productivity and enhanced security – and the adoption rate of technology within businesses. More importantly, older computing systems and devices are prone to security risks, higher opportunity costs amounting to US$2,657 just for repairs which results in close to 157 productive hours lost[5].

Closing this gap, SMBs must prioritize investing in the workforce’s demands, starting with the very device they present each employee. For instance, a PC of more than 4 years old has a 3.1 times higher chance of requiring repairs than a newer device. Moreover, these PCs are unable to provide mobility to the workforce because they are often slow to boot up, come with application & disk drive crashes and battery depletion. Older PCs are also more susceptible to security threats and 62 percent of SMBs have experienced a breach in the last year[6].

Pivoting towards greater technological adoption

Upgrading to newer technological infrastructure is simpler than it is made out to be. To address concerns such as the fear of app compatibility with newer operating systems and budget constraints, SMBs can look at implementing tech solutions and offerings such as cloud and managed IT services, which feature security patches and regular operating system updates for optimized use.

Research has shown that cloud adoption has reached 50% within SMBs in Asia and is likely to double within the next one year[7]. And the benefits are real.

SMBs should also consider moving towards Windows 10, the most app-compatible version of Windows-to-date, allowing them to continue work as usual whilst modernizing their workplaces and future-proofing their technology decisions.

Change is the new norm. SMBs in Asia have to confront fast-changing realities brought on by globalization, digital disruption, and the intense competition for talent. At the end of the day, their employees are as good as their skills and experience, enhanced by the digital tools their companies can provide them. In the same vein, SMBs are only as successful as their employees enable them to be, so let’s gear everyone up for success.


[1] Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation

[2] The Millennial Moment – In Charts

[3] Are Smart Digital Enabled Workspaces the New Norm?

[4]New IDC Future SMB Research Reveals 84% of Asia/Pacific* SMBs Need Digital Technologies to Transform Their Businesses while 42% of SMBs are Planning to Start Now

[5] Microsoft-TechAisle Pan-Asia SMB PC Study

[6] Microsoft-TechAisle Pan-Asia SMB PC Study

[7] Microsoft-TechAisle Pan-Asia SMB PC Study

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