Not enough money, not enough time, and not enough in-house expertise – those are the three obstacles cited by SMEs preventing them from implementing a digital transformation. By debunking 6 preconceived notions, we look at ways of removing these obstacles so you can finally implement a winning digital strategy.

Preconceived notion #1: Digital technologies will change neither my market nor my business 

A few figures are all it takes to dispel this myth:

  • 68% of people in France spend around an hour and a half browsing social networks every day.
  • 5 billion people are connected to the Internet.
  • LinkedIn has 250 million users, Instagram has 150 million, Google+ has 300 million and Facebook has 1.2 billion.
  • Smartphone penetration in France is 108%.
  • 1 in 2 people uses more than 3 screens per day.
  • 50% of companies send out more than 500,000 emails per year.
  • There were 15 billion connected objects throughout the world in 2012; there will be 80 billion by 2020.
  • 10 million nights were booked in Airbnb rooms in 34,000 towns and cities across 192 different countries.
  • 62% of consumers look for information while they’re making purchases and in stores.
  • And the list goes on…

Nowadays, a team of only 5 people can target extremely extensive markets – something which used to require far bigger teams. Digital technologies won’t change your business: they’ll revolutionize it.

Preconceived notion #2: Digital technologies are a hindrance for SMEs

Digital technologies are more of an opportunity than a hindrance. Indeed, they are becoming unavoidable in many types of business. But change management, acquiring relevant expertise and transforming working processes all require effort. Nevertheless, they create very real business opportunities, resulting – most importantly – in an increase in your turnover.

They are less of a hindrance and are, first and foremost, an opportunity for your SME. You can use them, for example, to:

  • Provide your traveling sales reps with a sales management tool
  • Optimize your accounting or customer relations management practices
  • Increase your sales potential by linking your in-store sales to your online sales of products and services

Preconceived notion #3: Digital technologies have a slow return on investment

The way in which an SME’s digital strategy is financed is a key point – the company’s investment capacity is still a function of its short-term sales results. Yes, implementing a digital strategy does require long-term investment. Yes, return on investment can be rapid provided the targets have been properly defined in advance.

Do you want digital technologies to help you acquire new customers and develop their loyalty? Are they intended as a means to raise your profile by helping to improve your company’s image? Do you want them to increase your visibility at the local level, close to where your branch and store are based? The financial investment required and the tools that need to be created or managed will differ depending on what the aims are. The first thing that needs to be considered is, therefore, the role you want digital technologies to play in the relationship you have with your target. Your financial investment then has to be deployed in several stages, so that your digital strategy has enough time to gain momentum.

Preconceived notion #4: It requires expertise that I don’t have 

As far as expertise is concerned, SMEs have to be able to easily locate the resources they need to create their application or website, as well as maintaining them at low cost. From a marketing and sales perspective, digital technologies are a new area to be explored. From a technical perspective, the main challenge facing company leaders involves sorting through all the existing technologies in order to find one that will enable them to:

  • Quickly deploy their app or website
  • Upgrade it
  • Find a developer who can be tasked with production and maintenance

Platforms such as Wakanda can be used to rationalize the need for expertise and make selecting a technology simpler: you unify all the technologies behind JavaScript. That way, you only need a JavaScript developer who can prototype, develop and deploy your mobile and web application.

Preconceived notion #5: Applications cost a lot

According to a survey carried out in September 2015, more than 8.7 million people download at least one application per month onto their smartphone. The cost of a mobile and web application can range from a few thousand to several hundred thousand euros. The criteria that affect the price are the graphics used in the application, the way in which web services are integrated into it so that it can be connected up to your own IT system, whether or not it features a payment solution and the project management and acceptance phases for ensuring that it all works properly.

Can the overall cost of ownership be reduced? Yes, provided that:

  • The app’s or website’s aims and target uses are properly defined
  • An end-to-end platform is used which can manage your application’s whole production cycle – design, development, and publication – in the same working environment

You streamline your design and development costs, and you keep the costs of maintaining and upgrading your website or application down.

Preconceived notion #6: Implementing digital technologies takes time

Whether you want to create a website, build a presence for your company on the social networks or roll out a mobile app, there are always two key phases involved in implementing digital technologies. The first is a period of reflection during which you decide on what strategy to adopt. Regardless of whether or not digital technologies are involved, this is the time that you allocate to your business development. Strategic support from a digital transformation company will help you determine your needs more quickly.

The second phase involves production and roll-out. This period – which usually last several weeks – can be reduced if the three tasks involved in implementing digital technologies (design, production, and roll-out) are performed in the same working environment.