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SMEs could outsmart larger competitors

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Economic uncertainty and the weakening rand, coupled with the declining credit rating of the country I,s cause for serious concern for South African companies.
Although many of them are struggling under the current tough operating conditions, SMEs are more innovative and have started sharing knowledge to outsmart their larger competitors.
Empowering SMEs would help accelerate their growth. Government says access to high quality, innovative business support could dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures.
Xuviate is currently driving a process to help SMEs transform to become more competitive in the fast-changing digital world, and has made it its mission to unlock the true business value of IT in mid-sized businesses.
Mathias Tölken, chief operating officer of Xuviate, says SMEs have a new weapon to help each other to become more competitive. “Considering that IT is the number one competitive advantage for SMEs, is reason enough for them to kickstart their digital transformation journey.
“While large organisations have many specialists in all fields, they are often afraid of giving away any competitive advantage. SMEs on the other hand are innovative and always keen to help each other to make each other stronger,” he explains.
SMEs not only need to lower their expenses and become more efficient, but they have to embrace technology. They are isolated and need to work together to become stronger.
Xuviate has created a platform for SMEs to brainstorm, to educate and to offer support for digital transformation. The company supports business and IT leaders who want to acquire essential business technology management skills in support of their companies’ digital transformation journey.
Tölken points to initiatives like the Mastermind Groups where SMEs can now receive couching from others in similar positions. “Our facilitated, online Mastermind Groups create the ideal learning environment for leaders who want to get their businesses started on a journey of digital transformation.”
Mastermind Group participants are selected from across the world. The groups are online-only and group members are matched based on industry, company size, relevant IT maturity, IT leadership focus and many other criteria to ensure maximum learning for all.
Xuviate has also developed a business IT maturity framework for SMEs called the Relevant IT Methodology. The structure and guidance it provides is useful for keeping everyone focused on the competency-building activities that truly matter during a digital transformation journey.
“Confidence levels are low and there is a lot of uncertainty in the market, causing SMEs to hold back on investments. Something needs to be done urgently to instil confidence in the economy and digital transformation is a good start,” he adds.