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SMEs: go digital and grow

Australian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are beginning to reap the cost, flexibility and efficiency benefits from cloud-based platforms, winning back time to focus on what’s important to their customers.

SMEs are replacing legacy software systems with new digital solutions which automate manual tasks and simplify processes for everything from file management, accounting, human resources, invoicing and stock-management tasks, once deemed out-of-reach for small businesses.

"Digitally engaged businesses are more than eight times more likely to be creating jobs.” 

Cloud-based services have evolved to a point where the technology presents cheaper and more agile solutions for smaller businesses, helping them to run their business in a more efficient, agile and enjoyable way. 

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Recent analysis of digital trends in Australian SMEs show that digital engagement levels continue to rise. Digitally advanced SMEs are 50 per cent more likely to be growing revenue and earn 60 per cent more revenue per employee compared to those with basic levels of digital engagement.

Furthermore, engaged businesses are more than eight times more likely to be creating jobs – an average of 12 additional jobs compared with the previous year – and seven times more likely to be exporting and 14 times more likely to be innovating by offering new products or services.

Time back

Adelaide-based business owner Daniel Milky runs Argo on the Parade, a family owned café which employs over 100 people.

Speaking to more than 200 business owners at a recent event, Milky said human resources (HR) software Employment Hero has given him precious time back to focus on growing his business, driving a strong internal culture and engagement with customers.

“We started a café with my two sisters and eight staff in 2010 and now have three cafes, a coffee roastery, cold-press juice bar and five barber stores employing more than 140 staff,” he said.

“The growth phase and diversification has required onboarding a large amount of employees, ensuring we meet all regulatory requirements and provide the resources so that employees understand their role and our company’s culture and values.”

Milky said the group’s employee-related processes – everything from onboarding, performance reviews, occupation, health and safety management – are now more streamlined, saving up to 22 hours a week in administrative tasks.

“This has afforded me more time to invest in growing the business, such as creating new, on-trend dishes for the cafe menu and being able to get them to customers within less than 24 hours,” he said.

Five tips for SMEs considering cloud-based solutions

  • Be clear on your business strategy and objectives
  • Consider the customer support and training options available
  • Scalability - can the solution grow with your business?
  • Sector compliance - does the solution meet industry standards?
  • Security management - define your supplier and customer responsibilities

Niamh Moloney, Employment Hero’s Partnership Engagement Manager, said the adoption of cloud-based solutions by SMBs is exploding - and for good reason.

“Traditional paper-based practices are inefficient, both with time and costs, and have put many businesses (often unknowingly) in hot water due to the difficulty to track and manage documents and processes,” he said.

“This has seen SMBs transitioning to cloud-based solutions developed to make employment easier and more rewarding for Australian businesses through the cloud.”

For Australia’s 2.1 million small-medium businesses, cloud-based solutions are a new frontier with the potential to further increase the sustainability for Australia’s economic engine room.

Gary Parkin is ANZ State Head Small Business Banking, South Australia

You can watch the on the couch session featuring Mitchell Wood, ANZ Area Manager Small Business, Milky and Moloney via Periscope.  

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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