Digital transformation for SMEs: A short guide

See how your business can gain a competitive edge from the latest technology

More than half (54%) of SMEs in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK consider the adoption of new technologies to be necessary to ensure their future competitiveness. For about three-quarters (76%) of SMEs, digitalisation is a management priority.


Business leaders are taking steps to ensure their organisations have the knowledge, technologies and capabilities to transform digitally both now and in the future.  

If you count digital transformation as a top priority but are not sure where to begin, we've prepared a short guide to help you kick-start the process for your business.  

Build a foundation for change

If you're going to use technology to change your business for the better, then you'll need to make sure you're not reliant on older hardware and software. Research suggests almost two-thirds (61%) of SMEs  believe that technical limitations from legacy architectures are hindering their digital strategies and business agility.

You can use networks to help transform your business to become more agile.  By using mobile technology and modern, cloud-based applications, your employees can work remotely. This reduces overhead costs and offers your employees flexibility. A high-performing 5G network gives your business a foundation for digitalisation, allowing your employees to have conference calls in HD, to access cloud services in real-time and to send large files of data from all destinations.

Work with a trusted digital partner

Finding the capability to turn digitalisation into a business strategy can be a tough challenge. While 48% of UK SMEs say digital transformation is the most pressing change facing their business, as many as 72% find it challenging to find professionals with the digital skills they require.

If you want to keep pace with the rapid rate of change, you'll need great awareness and knowledge of the technological options that are available to help transform your business. Thankfully, you don't need to tackle this on your own.

To make the most of digital transformation, you should look for a partner that can help your company to identify and exploit the technologies in the marketplace right now.

Look for ways to boost customer experiences

Perhaps the most significant way that companies are taking advantage of digital transformation is by creating new and improved ways to serve their customers. For example, Uber and Airbnb have developed their business models around customer service and as a result, have disrupted their respective sectors.

Transformation also needs to spread to other areas, like payment services. Experts suggest customers are losing patience with businesses that don't offer alternative payment services. Up to three million SMEs are still cash-only– and these companies could be losing out on over £23,000 of profit a year on average  because they cannot accept card payments.

Invest in and prioritise the tech that's right for your business

Digital transformation might be an important goal but some smaller companies are concerned by the cost of change. A quarter of SMEs say that lack of appropriate financing possibilities is a key barrier to digitalisation in their companies.

The key to exploiting digital transformation is in the identification of the business challenge. Are you using the right mix of digital technology to solve your key operational challenges?

Take an area such as fleet management, which experts recognise is a key issue for cost-conscious SMEsSpecialist device Auto Mate can be plugged into cars or vans and used to analyse driving data, monitor vehicle health and manage expenses. For the small business on a tight budget, this digitalisation is an easy way to reduce operational costs.

Keep one eye on the future

Digital transformation is not an end itself. New technologies continue to be developed and adopted. Such is the pace of development that experts suggest business leaders should think of digital transformation as more of a continual business-change project, where your use of technology is in a constant state of evolution.

You should create a similar digital strategy in your own business. Emerging technologies – like artificial intelligence and automation – will continue to bubble up and change how businesses operate and interact with their customers. Your business needs to keep a watchful eye on these developments and be ready to invest once the right business case emerges.

While you should look to develop knowledge internally, you can't expect to keep abreast of all pioneering technological developments. That's where a trusted partner can help. By working with an expert in digital transformation, you can assess how innovations might affect your business before committing your company's budget.


Digital transformation is critical to business success.  The reward is a more agile, cost-efficient business that's better able to give customers the service they expect.  But you can only digitalise your company if you've got a high speed and reliable network behind you.  So whatever stage of the journey you're on, you make sure that fundamental is covered https://ee.co.uk/business/small/network/5g/

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