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Equipping Singapore’s SMEs for the Digital Age: The Opportunity for MSPs

by James Bergl, Director, Datto, Asia-Pacific


 
Earlier this week we saw Singapore’s Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat deliver the Government’s Budget statement for the financial year 2019, laying out key priorities for the year ahead.
 
A key theme addressed in this year’s statement was Singapore’s evolving digital landscape and the need for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to be up-to-speed and ready to embrace the rapid digitisation which is redefining life as we know it in the Lion City-State.
 
SMEs are the cornerstone of Singapore’s labour force, accounting for 99% of all enterprises in the country and employing more than 65% of the population. Despite this, SMEs continue to have sizeable hurdles to overcome as Singapore’s economy works to embrace Industry 4.0, from rising manpower costs and skills shortages to the increasingly complex business environment in the face of trade wars between the United States and China.
 
In the face of this evolving landscape, the Singapore Budget 2019, underlines the need for SMEs to stay ahead of the curve and embrace digital as part of the nation’s digital makeover, which means having the right digital capabilities – working to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve service offerings for sustained growth in the digital economy.
 
The opportunity for MSPs
 
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are in a unique position to help SMEs in Singapore to take their business to the next level with digital. For MSPs, it’s an opportunity to redefine and strengthen their relationships with customers – by taking a proactive role in their transformation journey.
 
Be the expert
 
To do this, MSPs must be more than just infrastructure providers, they need to take a holistic approach in understanding their customer’s business needs – working to provide expert guidance on the software and services which could benefit the business in the long term, keeping an eye on productivity, efficiency and cost savings.
 
Staying up-to-date on the latest technology and innovations will be crucial, but more than this, it’s about understanding the real value of these technologies and educating clients about new technologies, and working to seamlessly implement them.
 
Success means improving the overall functionality of the business so that it can perform better while alleviating employees of this responsibility, allowing them to better focus on their areas of expertise. If done well, this tactic will not only positively impact how customers view and trust you, but will also lead to longer, more profitable client relationships in the long-term.
 
 Adopt a security-first approach
 
As technology continues to evolve, so does the skill set of cyber criminals around the globe, who are determined to exploit any available vulnerability in order to make a fast buck. The 2019 Singapore Budget also highlighted ‘digital defence’ as a key priority for businesses in the year ahead. We now live in a climate where even small businesses are targets for malicious attacks, so having the right cybersecurity software, protocols and backup in place has never been more important. For SMEs, cyber attacks can be particularly crippling, and lower budgets and less manpower usually means they can use all the help they can get when it comes to protecting their data. This is an area where MSPs can add real value for their SME customers, offering essential guidance which could be a lifeline for their businesses should the worst happen.
 
Be a business partner
 
Differentiation in the marketplace has never been more important for MSPs. Staying relevant isn’t just about what you do, it’s about what you can do and the added value you can bring. For digital transformation, it will be the MSPs who empower customers to experience the benefits of this journey who will reap the biggest rewards. It’s no longer just about the nuts and bolts of technology - it’s how you utilize them in the larger context of the business and identifying where changes in processes could make a positive impact to operations and a client’s bottom line.

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