The pandemic has forced businesses to consider new possibilities and think differently. For the first time, meetings were done virtually, while some retailers had to rely on live streaming services to promote their products.
At the same time, it was not an easy period for businesses, who had to adapt quickly to the new reality and ensure that they could still reach their customers, suppliers and employees despite the restrictions on activities.
A key lesson that many businesses walked away with from this pandemic is that they need to digitalise their services. Now that the country is recovering from the pandemic, it is a critical time for them to leverage on technology to increase their productivity and ensure business continuity.
“It is clear that we are heading towards an increasingly digital world, and businesses have the opportunity to be more agile, adaptable and embrace change for the better,” says Kevin Lee Guan Keong, head of SME for Maxis Bhd.
SMEs, in particular, need to digitalise as they are an important contributor to the Malaysian economy. Maxis has been working with SMEs for years to assist them on this journey. In light of the pandemic, it has also been taking steps to assist these companies.
Most recently, the telecommunications company was identified as a Technology Solutions Provider (TSP) by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for the SME Digitalisation Grant under Budget 2020.
“Our priorities for this segment are to help them kick start their business with bundled and cost-effective solutions for the short term. We also want to help them future-proof their business with the right technology,” says Lee.
Among the telecommunications TSPs identified for the Grant, Maxis offers the widest range of connectivity and digital solutions, Lee adds, as it has more than 17 types of solutions to serve various business needs.
These include digital marketing, electronic Point-of-Sale (ePOS), remote working and e-commerce solutions, all of which leverage on Maxis’ unique fixed and mobile network.
“Our digital and connectivity solutions under the SME Digitalisation Grant will benefit any business that manages a retail shop, office, restaurant, small factory and warehouse or more,” says Lee.
There are two categories of solutions eligible for subsidies under the grant. The first is for Solutions-Only, which qualifies for a 50% subsidy of up to RM5,000. The other is the Connectivity and solutions bundle with a 30% subsidy up to RM3,000.
“As SMEs can only apply once for the grant, they would be able to take up multiple types of digital and connectivity solutions for their business needs if they apply through Maxis, as we have the widest offerings,” says Lee.
These grants are limited to the first 100,000 SMEs who apply to upgrade their systems: “So those who are keen should quickly apply today,” he adds.
To simplify the application process, Maxis partnered with Bank Simpanan Nasional to create an efficient and convenient application process. Maxis will help SMEs manage the entire application process with a completely digital on-boarding experience.
SMEs can also go to any of the 400 Maxis Branded stores nationwide to enquire about or apply for the grant. In addition, SMEs have access to a dedicated Maxis Help Squad to assist them to find the right digital and connectivity solutions.
“Essentially, we are making it easy for SMEs to get the grant because we will help them apply for it, follow up and once approved, we will notify them, saving them the hassle of managing their own submissions,” says Lee.
Why SMEs must digitalise
Maxis has been working with SMEs to increase awareness about the benefits of adopting technology over the years. This is important because SMEs can help Malaysia’s economy grow.
“There is a huge potential for Malaysia to become a stronger economy in the future, given the appetite to drive competitiveness and also, the government’s support for the digitalisation of SMEs. This will enable SMEs to grow in the domestic market and expand into international markets, where reliable connectivity and e-commerce capabilities will be imperative,” says Lee.
The 4th Industrial Revolution will enable manufacturing companies to take advantage of 5G and the Internet-of-Things to boost productivity and competitiveness of the companies in the country, region and globally.
Adapting to this trend, however, will require SMEs to constantly digitally transform themselves.”This is where Maxis comes in as a trusted partner of businesses to help them take full advantage of the benefits that technology can offer,” says Lee.
It is also important for SMEs to understand where they stand in this journey in comparison to their peers. To this end, Maxis has developed the Business Digital Readiness Index, an online interactive tool that helps businesses gauge their digital readiness and assess themselves against competitors and industry benchmarks.
“Upon receiving their full report, SMEs would be able to get recommendations for the right solutions to equip them to succeed in this evolving digital age. The index provides valuable insights into opportunities for using technology to improve efficiency, productivity and profitability,” says Lee.
How else has Maxis been helping SMEs?
When the pandemic outbreak was at its height in March, Maxis launched the #KitaSapotKita campaign to call on the nation to inspire one another positively, whether as consumers or businesses.
During the first phase of the campaign, Maxis collaborated with business opinion leaders to create 100 stories with constructive tips and hacks on how to stay in business during these difficult times. It also invited SMEs to share their stories and experiences.
“Our goal was to help businesses uplift the SME community. Remarkably, it drove more traffic to the Maxis Business website than any other campaign, with 6.5 million visitors tuning in to listen to the case studies at the Maxis Business Insights Hub,” says Lee.
For the second phase, Maxis mobilised a Help Squad to provide more than 100 business advice to SMEs on topics like digital marketing and e-commerce.
“In addition, we developed a series of ‘how to’ cheat sheets that are free for anyone to download from the Maxis Business Insights Hub. These are centred on hot topics such as government aid, loans and grants, e-commerce tips, upskilling of employees and more,” says Lee.
In addition, Maxis launched the Digital Entrepreneurship Programme for entrepreneurs from rural communities and cottage industries. These entrepreneurs are taught how to optimise their business using social media, content creation and photography by Maxis volunteers known as the M Squad.
These new skills are essential as the pandemic gave rise to new methods of marketing through Facebook Live and webinars. For instance, small fishing companies in Malaysia are now conducting fish auctions on Facebook Live.
“Maxis hosted more than 20 webinars and engaged more than 1,500 SME customers. In these sessions, we shared tips to help SMEs pull through in this time of economic difficulty. We are committed to helping businesses in Malaysia simplify and accelerate the digital transformation journey and to always be ahead in a changing world,” – Kevin Lee Guan Keong, head of SME for Maxis Bhd
For more information on the SME Digitalisation Grant please visit https://business.maxis.com.my/campaign/smegrant/
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