Digital transformation: a priority for SMEs/ETIs?

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The digital hubbub has exceeded the threshold of the marketing effect. The time is no longer for a bargain, but for a digital transformation at the heart of business models. “Pass, pass,” customers, and their smartphones, will decide for you.

Digital identity is no longer an “extension” of the company, but the first channel of acquisition and conversion of customers: reassuring, legitimising, credibility, seducing… Your professional ecosystem now includes the digital aspect in its own right. Website, e-reputation, social selling, inbound marketing… Your customers know you before they know you…

From visibility to business model transformation

Beyond a single visibility strategy, the most knowledgeable leaders have already begun their transformation. However… A recent BPI survey show that of the 1814 SME and ETI executives surveyed, 87% do not see digital transformation as a priority for their company’s strategy. Lack of information and vision about all that digital can bring to them for 45% of them; while 47% of them believe that the implementation of digital will have only a minimal impact in the next 5 years on the activity of their company.

However, digital, well realized, can have a significant impact on the visibility of a company, regardless of its sector, by attracting more people who are likely to become customers, and thus to increase turnover. But this is not limited to the use of digital tools alone, other parameters must be taken into account in the great equation of a successful digital transformation, such as reviewing the organization of his company, or even its partners… not to mention the customer, who is becoming more and more demanding and picky.

A certain reluctance in the face of a major restructuring

While some argue that digital is of no use to them, it is not necessarily the real reason for this inertia. Indeed, the main reason (34% of executives surveyed) is the lack of knowledge or even mastery of the subject, or the lack of internal skills that can be mobilized, followed closely by a lack of financial resources (28%) for small structures sometimes young and in the middle of building their business model. Finally, at the very heart of the company, employees are sometimes quite nervous about changing the way they operate and do not want to change their working methods.

The key to success? To embark on this transformation with all employees, and in particular the so-called “operational” teams, so that everyone benefits from the same methodologies and trainings. The key lies in a hierarchical organization (so that each crew member is guided by the “ship’s captain”) and a collaborative implementation (so that everyone, from bow to stern, becomes aware of the importance of their role).

Goal: from constraint to performance

So there is still much to be done to change the habits of some skeptics, in order to make them aware that digital is a more than effective way to win over new customers. In this sense, setting consistent and progressive goals, in correlation with the company’s overall strategy and its competitive environment, should enable managers to move forward with all their employees towards success.

The place of digital in the company is therefore becoming more and more central, and the democratization of new methods and technologies should inspire many business leaders of SMEs, ETIs or even TPE. A digital shift no longer to come, but indeed to take …

Audrey Kozaczka
Alexandra Zwang
Bordeaux Business


BPI Australia

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