Overall efficiency across operations is a fundamental element of running a company. Keeping processes, employees, and other resources and assets smoothly aligned to enhance outcomes — while attracting new clients — is a goal small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are striving to achieve.

Cutting-edge technologies have made a huge difference in this quest for enhanced efficiency. Disruptive innovations have completely changed the face of the business landscape and made small enterprises effectively compete with their well-funded large counterparts. Integrating technologies has become a strategy vital to their survival and competitiveness in today’s era of digital explosion.

Small businesses get busy with IT

A rising number of small companies have now been allocating huge amounts to reinforce their IT capacity. According to a survey by Capterra, the top three IT spending priorities for 2019 and 2020 of the SME sector were finance and accounting technology (54 per cent); cloud computing (48 per cent), which has redefined the way organisations access and store their data; and data and information security (47 per cent).

A separate report titled “2019 State of IT” also showed that 42 per cent of total IT budget allocation of small companies — those with less than 100 employees — have been invested in hardware and automated solutions. The number is considerably higher than the 31 per cent recorded in 2018.

In the Middle East and North Africa, IT spending has also taken the upward trajectory. Gartner, Inc. has predicted that, overall, MENA businesses’ IT spending would hit the $160 billion mark this year, up 1.8 per cent from 2018.

Right at the forefront

The UAE has an aggressive stance on improving its IT infrastructure across sectors, in line with its digital transformation efforts. As per IDC findings, IT spending could be valued at $16.7 billion this year, an increase of about 2.5 per cent from last year. Small businesses in the UAE are expected to keep up, not only to remain efficient but be competitive and relevant in serving their now tech-savvy customers.

Digitally driven and automated business management software solutions, for instance, help reinforce efficiency. These end-to-end solutions are not only cost-effective, but equipped to provide insights that help an owner take critical decisions. With advanced features to automate processes, entrepreneurs can avoid human error, increase productivity, come up with analysis-based decisions, and much more.

Efficiency in business operations is not the only benefit enjoyed by small organisations in their pursuit of integrating technologies. Enhanced customer experience and innovation along with higher productivity prospects are now within reach of many.

IT spends can only jump without let-up in coming years. Small businesses must be willing to scale up and thrive in a highly digitised world.

Vikas Panchal is Business Head at Tally Solutions in the Middle East.