Survey: 8 out of 10 PH SMEs say technology improves business, customer experience

Digital printing solutions firm Epson found small and medium enterprises (SME) have a favorable opinion in terms of using technology to improve business operations and customer experience. In the survey “SMEs Striving for Digital Transformation Amidst Many Hurdles,” saw 86% or 8 of 10 of Filipino respondents believe businesses adopting different types of digital solutions have better chances in an extremely competitive environment.

Filipino SMEs come second to Indonesians in the aspect of technology appreciation in organizations. Across the region, over half of respondents (55%) reported being at the very early stages of digital transformation.

More than 800 SME decision-makers in the six largest Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries by Gross Domestic Product, including 154 respondents in the Philippines participated in the survey conducted by Intuit Research and commissioned by Epson. More than 80 percent of the respondents were either business owners, key decision-makers, decision influencers or senior managers within their respective organizations, which spanned the manufacturing, corporate, retail, food, and beverage and hospitality, engineering, architecture and textile sectors.

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“This survey highlights the tremendous interest that SMEs in the Philippines have in using technology to improve business functions, especially in areas impacting the customer,” said Eduardo Bonoan, GM for Marketing, Epson Philippines. “Although SMEs in the country have generally begun to adopt digital technologies, more work is needed to help and encourage these companies to extend digital technologies further beyond customer-facing areas of the business.”

Transformation initiatives

The digital transformation, according to 74% surveyed Philippine-based SMEs, employ solutions geared toward their customers’ needs. A part of it involves marketing and sales.

In the retail sector specifically, 31% of Filipino SMEs in the retail, food and beverage (F&B) and hospitality sectors have deployed mobile projectors over interactive models, which can be used in malls and other environments to attract and deliver a superior customer experience.

SMEs in the Philippines are also moving closer to tracking and making decisions based on information available in real-time, the survey said. More than half (56%) of respondents reported being able to do this in the Philippines while another 515 noted that their organization can make quick decisions across departments and business processes on most occasions outpacing their regional counterparts.

Technology deployment

However, Philippine respondents recognize the steep cost of constantly upgrading to and adopting emerging technologies. Disposing of legacy systems has its challenges especially if by digital transformation, it would mean migrating all corporate data into the cloud. The task is not only tedious but can be costly.

Overall, respondents indicated a preference for products that were more reliable, performed at a consistently high quality and connected seamlessly with back-end systems. However, about three out of four Filipino respondents (76%) also considered the environment when making printer purchases. This consideration was higher than the regional average of 69%.

“In order for digital transformation to reach maturity in the Philippines, SMEs need greater awareness of the total cost of ownership beyond the initial investment,” Bonoan said. “With access to information and industry support, SMEs can overcome the perception that deploying new technology is beyond them.”

Environment-friendly technology

The survey also revealed Filipino businesses’ high level of awareness in technology’s environmental impact. When choosing a printing solution, over two thirds (76%) consider the impact on the environment, and 78% are mindful of the effect of heat and dust particles on the health of their staff.

Fostering digital transformation today requires more than the adoption of new technologies. It means creating environments where businesses can leverage innovation to deliver meaningful change that drives positive business outcomes. With SMEs at the heart of the economy, they need to be empowered with the right tools to tackle the next steps towards being a sustainable business.”