The Trend Towards Digitisation - Business Insight - Canon Singapore

    The Trend Towards Digitisation

    The Trend Towards Digitisation

    by Vincent Low

    At a recent gathering, I had a conversation with an older acquaintance that went like this.

    “Today anyone can become a millionaire. You just need to create an app”. I replied, “Then why don’t you create an app? Don’t forget me when you become the next Zuckerberg”. Chuckling, he said, “I’m still trying to figure out how to send emojis in WhatsApp, let me figure that out first.”

    Be it baby boomers or Generation X, Y, Z, we are all constantly learning new things every day. But one undeniable truth from our conversation is that digitisation has seeped into almost every inch of our lives. As you plan for the year ahead, there may be uncertainties and struggles ahead, but one thing is for sure: technology, especially digital technology, is here to stay. We work with our laptops every day and can’t leave the house without our phones. The way we communicate has also drastically changed. No longer are we bound to paper and pen; in today’s day and age, a few buttons do the job, sending our messages in little to no time. This has made us, as a society, move faster than ever.

    Look at how we quickly busy ourselves with work. How many times have we witnessed society evolving into something different and new? As society progressed on, each milestone saw the rise and fall of great companies – only those who are smart enough to keep up will thrive.

    The pervasiveness of the Internet marks the importance of our increasingly digital society. Clearly, digitisation is hardly a fad. Companies should not only think about going digital but already be in the midst of a digital transformation.

    The Time to be Kiasu

    Whether we like it or not, digitisation is happening and it’s happening fast. All around the world, this global phenomenon is gaining traction day by day. According to the 2018 Global Digital Report, 4.02 billion people globally are Internet users – that’s more than half the world’s population! It’s no wonder that more and more companies are building an online presence to get word of their business out. There is an even more urgent need for Singaporean businesses to digitise with local Internet penetration at 84%, more than 30% higher than global numbers.

    SMEs that are still operating with traditional or obsolete methods are, more often than not, doomed to go extinct. The writing’s on the wall – we are living in a digital culture, and companies have to start their digital transformation now to survive.

    Why It Pays to Digitise

    Across the board, organisations in every industry – from banking and financial institutions to retail and shopping enterprises – are digitising their services. According to McKinsey, besides ensuring consumers have a smooth digital experience, more and more businesses are choosing to streamline their processes through automation.

    Let’s look at document management. With a single central platform, you can effectively consolidate and archive your documents easily. Not only does this result in cost-savings but it also makes things much more efficient.

    My colleague Daphne Yeo from Canon Business Services recently appeared on MoneyFM to discuss the benefits of digitisation, and I couldn’t agree more with what she has said. In the long run, the benefits of digitisation will far outweigh its initial costs – significant efficiency improvements, cost-savings, and a more organised system will free up invaluable time to let you focus on more important things, such as improving your business model or innovation. In fact, some studies have shown that failing to digitise may even cost you more.

    Are our jobs at risk?

    The fear of losing out isn’t new in our competitive landscape today. Many of us have this preconception that our jobs are the cost of automation. In some respects, they are right: in their Future of Jobs Report 2018, the World Economic Forum estimates that 75 million jobs will be ‘displaced’ by 2022. But it is also key to note that another 133 million jobs will also be created because of digitisation, resulting in a net positive outlook for the job market.

    To me, one thing that many overlook in the midst of Industry 4.0 is the importance of relationships. The human connection is what gives faceless corporations a personal touch. That is why I always tell my team that it’s crucial to build relationships. At the end of the day, people are still the one making decisions, not machines. Maintain good relations with your customers but don’t forget to take care of your team. Leaders have to pave the way towards this change and ensure that their employees adapt correspondingly. Having a strong team culture only reinforces how important unity is when approaching issues such as digital transformation.

    We’ve come a long way from the early days of tech in the 1990s. Companies need to start digitising their processes to cater to consumers who are clearly embracing this trend. This is something I always tell my customers, and they will see that their bottom lines do improve.

    Organisations who embrace digitisation and take actionable steps for their business to transition to this in the right places, at the right time, are the ones who will flourish and set the bar in today’s business landscape. The future doesn’t wait for anyone – the time to digitise is now.

    Perhaps one New Year’s resolution to make is to embrace digitisation, be it in your personal or professional life. If you are keen on digitisation, but unsure of where to start, why not reach out to partners who are well-equipped and ready to help you take your business to the next level, such as Canon Business Services? Our specialist consultancy and outsourcing arm is the perfect partner for SMEs who are looking to streamline their business processes for a more efficient workplace. I wish everyone a fruitful and productive year ahead!

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