Setting the bar higher for Singapore SMEs
It used to be that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) were not expected to do much reporting. A simple report, such as the generation of the financial statement, would do. Forget dashboards. Forget sophisticated analytics. Forget Big Data. These are only for mid-large enterprises.
The operative phrase is “used to be.”
This approach may satisfy a minimum reporting requirement, sure. But who wants to exist just to be able to satisfy the bare minimum? Perhaps those who cling to tradition, are paralyzed by their fear of change, and who set such low standards for themselves. For them, “small” is synonymous with “small-time”.
And then you have Singapore’s new breed of SMES who are concerned with so much more than meeting the bare minimum and staying within their comfort zones.
Analytics, for instance, is a big word, yes, but it’s not necessarily off-limits to SMEs. According to experts, more than 80 percent of enterprise data is unstructured. One cannot readily put them into levels or categories. Assigning data mining principles to them would be a feat. The unstructured nature also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to transform the highly varied data into meaningful, useful, and more importantly, actionable information for the organization.
Analytics makes sense of the jumble of who, what, when, where and why in the entire universe of information. It is what enables retail companies to offer clothes in specific colors during a specific time of the year, because doing so would cause a jump in sales — as history has predicted. It is what enables distribution companies to know when to stock up on their inventory in advanced, predicting the influx of sales. It was enables companies to be more intelligent.
Dashboards, of course, are important in providing a single-glance summary of the system. Like the dashboard of a vehicle, these digital dashboard gives the user an idea of what is going on with the system at a specific time, including warning lights and alerts about areas that may need their urgent attention. Dashboards are those that enables companies to be more attentive.
Given the obvious benefits of dashboards and analytics, and their apparent effects on visibility for rapid business growth, what then is stopping SMEs from having them?
Usually, the acquisition of reporting tools, or the lack thereof, is based on cost. Whenever cost is involved, SMEs get concerned of cashflow and business sustenance. That is the common mindset of the traditional SME.
The Analytical SME however, sees reporting as profit-generating rather than a source of cost. It sees how cashflow will be better monitored and administered with the help of dashboards. It realizes longer and stronger business sustenance because of analytics. It sees the intelligence and analysis of business information as its means to exist and grow.
The good news for the Singapore’s Analytical SME is that today’s leading ERP providers already have analytics and dashboards as part of their product bundles. These do not anymore need to be purchased on top of an accounting software. Products like NetSuite, offer ERP with built in Analytics and Dashboards – covering not only the automation of core business process (Accounting, Sales, Procurement, Inventory), but also Business Intelligence. With NetSuite, Singapore’s Analytical SME gets a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with reports and dashboards at no extra cost.
How’s that for leveling up?
- Productivity and Innovation Credit : http://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/PIcredit.aspx%23About_Productivity_and_Innovation_Credit
- PIC Brochure 2014 Edition: http://www.cloudtecherp.com/cloudtech-downloads-singapore-productivity-and-innovation-credit-brochure-2/
- PIC + Scheme: http://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/page04.aspx?id=15548#About+PIC+_Scheme
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