Across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific, small and medium size businesses (SMBs) have been looking at the uncertainties of 2020 as an opportunity to work on becoming more tech savvy.

Research from Cisco and IDC tells us that 69% of SMBs surveyed across Asia Pacific are accelerating digitisation to directly address COVID-19 challenges. And over 80% say that digitising will help them become more resilient and adaptable to market changes due to COVID-19, as well as for future crises. 

However, challenges remain. A lack of IT skills and the right technologies are cited as the two greatest digital challenges facing SMBs. So the big questions for SMBs are – where should you focus, and how do you get it done?

Introducing the Resilient Distributed SMB 

At Cisco, we talk to customers about a concept called the Resilient Distributed SMB. It’s all about having the right foundations in place to adapt quickly and easily. So that means using online video collaboration tools like Cisco Webex to stay productive whether you’re working from home, the office or on the road.

Resilience means staying secure and avoiding downtime. For that we have key tools, such as Duo, which protects your data and systems with two-factor authentication so you know it’s your team on your network, and not an intruder. This complements Cisco Umbrella, which centrally strengthens security across the cloud no matter where your team is located. We believe a hybrid of remote and office work is the future, so it’s important businesses stay prepared and protected. 

Speaking of complementing, Cisco is working with business nbn™ as together, our technologies can help fast-track how you take advantage of digital opportunities. For example, Cisco Meraki networking equipment is all about secure, affordable, and better IT performance. But you really notice the difference when it’s combined with business nbn™ services that bring together wholesale features such as high speeds, committed bandwidth and premium service levels that can help meet the needs of SMBs, particularly when they have multiple branches, stores, offices, or sites. 

So where do you start?

Follow these 7 steps and make a plan

People often think “digital transformation” has to be a big, costly, all-changing experience. It absolutely doesn’t. Especially for those making more of a first step in shifting to digital, I recommend businesses start small and make a 3-year plan. 

Follow these 7 business strategy steps, and we’ll help you find a trusted Cisco and business nbn™ partner, to help do the heavy lifting for you:

  1. Develop a three-year digital technology roadmap
  2. Prioritise your critical business processes with a view to automating them
  3. Evaluate and right-size the best technologies to invest in 
  4. Invest in your business’ digital skills and talent
  5. Find the right technology partner for your journey 
  6. Keep up with industry trends and best practices
  7. Simplify, start small, learn and scale  

Many of the technologies that help you become more digital don’t require large upfront investments. Often, they can be consumed monthly with a pay as you use model.   

I can’t stress enough how important it is to make a plan. The first step is finding a Cisco partner and business nbn™ accredited advisor that can help you get connected to the right business nbn™ solution and help pull your digitisation plan together for you.