Malaysian SMEs now have digital guidebooks for digitalization

in retail and F&B that are still considering digitalizing their operations can now better understand and learn more through digital guidebooks.

Launched by the Malaysia Digital Economy Malaysia (MDEC), the SME Digital Guidebook and Quick Guide for the Food & Beverages (F&B) and retail industry are part of MDEC’s 100 Go Digital initiative.

A quick how-to for Malaysian

These resources aim to help SMEs in the retail and F&B sector to reassess their digital opportunities and readiness via a step-by-step guide on how to enhance their current digital capabilities and begin their digital transformation journey.

“Digital technologies are massively transforming every sector. While this poses a tremendous number of challenges for SMEs, particularly traditional businesses, it also creates a wave of new opportunities.

“Malaysia may have scored high on digital readiness rankings, but digital adoption by SMEs and traditional businesses are often hindered by – among others – lack of awareness, readiness, know-how, and appreciation of the benefits of digitalization; as well as the oft-misperceived high cost of implementing new technologies”, shared MDEC CEO Surina Shukri, in a statement last week.

At the time of writing, Shukri, who has led MDEC since 2019, will leave the organization by 31 August 2021.

In Malaysia, an overwhelming 98.5% of the 920,624 business establishments in Malaysia are small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Despite being the backbone of the country’s business environment, digital adoption among SMEs lags behind that of larger enterprises, according to the World Bank Malaysia. 

The SME Digital Guidebooks serve as the first point of reference for SMEs interested to embark on digital adoption. It also lists down the latest trends that will impact SMEs, talk about the importance of digitalization, and also direct SMEs to available initiatives within Malaysia that they could leverage on.According to MDEC, these essential guidebooks are structured, with an easy-to-follow method. This will enable and empower businesses with the necessary skills and knowledge, ensuring resiliency and agility, especially during a time where a pandemic is raging.

Guides come in two forms

Currently, the SME Digital Guidebooks are focused on the retail and F&B industry and comes in two reference guides for each sector. 

The SME Digital Quick Guide is an easy-to-read document for quick reference, providing a high-level view for businesses.

The SME Digital Guidebook, on the other hand, is a full document that will take a more structured approach in mapping digital needs, technologies, business goals, and best practices to guide SMEs in elevating their digital capabilities. The Guidebook was co-developed with International Data Corporation (IDC), which provided analysis of the market and technology insights.

“Being a ‘digital first’ entity is no longer a choice but has risen to be a focal point for many SMEs to operate in current market conditions, and to thrive beyond 2021. The pandemic has permanently changed the manner consumers and businesses operate – and the profound impact of this change has resonated across all sectors of the economy; with retail and F&B segments being severely disrupted. 

“To accelerate in a Digital Economy, it is crucial for SMEs to leverage upon available platforms and to transition its traditional base to one that is digitally-led”, said Sudev Bangah, Managing Director, IDC ASEAN.

The SME Digital Guidebook was launched during the Malaysia Tech Month 2021 (MTM’21), a virtual and month-long curation of digital and technology events geared not only towards showcasing Malaysia as a hub of digital investments but to also enlighten businesses with topics, solutions, and tools that can aid them in their digital transformation.

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