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How COVID-19 shows that technology is critical to getting SMEs back on track

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the critical role that technology plays both as an operations player and for business continuity purposes.

SAP Philippines Managing Director Edler Panlilio said the global health crisis changed how businesses operate as employees, customers, and organizations adjust to a new way of working such as working from home, transacting via online or virtual channels, as well as being able to manage business operations remotely.

“These quarantine guidelines demonstrated how technology continues to play an important role in supporting business continuity. Organizations now rely more on digital tools and platforms to move labor-oriented practices into more automated and technology-oriented processes,” said Panlilio.

Technological advancements, on the other hand, will, most likely, continue to grow in significance even after the government eventually lifts quarantine guidelines, Panlilio noted.

He also encourages local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), to start viewing technology as an important asset, instead of an option, if they are to thrive in the new normal and continue to be resilient despite possible disruptions brought about by the pandemic.

Although many digital solutions were once exclusive to large businesses, Panlilio emphasized that SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign will help SMEs turn businesses of whatever size, including SMEs, into “intelligent enterprises”. By becoming an intelligent enterprise, they can achieve greater productivity, more efficient operations and better cost-saving processes.

SAP Business One (SAP B1), an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software platform, specifically intended for SMEs. SAP Business ByDesign, on the other hand, helps in managing the business with a single cloud ERP solution, helping SMEs expand and compete with more established businesses with less complexity and cost.

Several SMEs who have used these solutions have emerged to be fast-growing enterprises whose names are now familiar to us today.

With SAP Business One, Sta. Elena Properties gained the capability to seamlessly integrate their financial accounting system and deliver reports more effectively. They also gained access to real-time data that enabled them to make sound and informed decisions. VP for Sales Marketing and Business Development Katrina Tantoco-Lobregat says, “Optimizing our financial and accounting system through technology has helped us improve our business processes and nurture the company’s growth.”

Steel manufacturer MM Steel Service Center Corporation has also used SAP Business One to help steel production and delivery run 24/7. They now have full visibility into their stock items and production orders, supporting them to identify future demand and guarantee customer satisfaction. “We have been successful in implementing SAP Business One across our supply chain. We are now always confident to fill customers’ orders. Because at any time of the day, we know exactly how much stock we have on hand, what orders are incoming and how much stock is in transit,” says Accounting Supervisor Marcel Gako.

“This means zero delays across the entire supply chain. Uninterrupted supply means uninterrupted growth,” adds Raymond Seminiano, Supervisor of MM Steel.

“Intelligent enterprises can collect insights better from customers, employees, products, and brands at every touchpoint as they use powerful technology to sense opportunities, risks, and trends and, turn this intelligence into action across every part of the business,” Panlilio continues to say.

Robust technology can certainly help more organizations even as we move to a ‘new normal,’ as organizations need to be equipped with advanced technologies to help businesses persevere and meet the resurgence of demand once quarantine guidelines are lifted.

Panlilio said that as purpose-driven company, SAP focuses on helping our customers and organizations manage their businesses successfully amid new adversities that come their way.

“SAP’s mission has always been to help every type of organization in whatever size or shape, to run better. Especially in the Philippines where SMEs are essential to our thriving economy, we remain focused in providing access to technology that will support their growth and resiliency.”

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