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The pandemic has taken its toll on many businesses. But it’s the SMEs that are having a really hard time. Simon Renshaw, senior insolvency practitioner at Company Debt, highlights a lot of major problems that SMEs are facing right now, such as dwindling cash flow and inaccessible supply chains, which are causing setbacks to their operations. Fortunately, these testing times also saw the rise of technology, and it’s through these innovations that are helping SMEs to adapt and survive.
Let’s take a look at how technology has helped SMEs across industries.
The pandemic has been tough on small retailers everywhere, especially those with physical shops. But these people were also the first ones to discover the advantages of technology.
Dazze Studio, for instance, is an e-commerce web development company that caters to SMEs. Local retailers such as Alex Eagle and LL-CC have been able to open up online shops because of their service. Of course, there’s also plenty of support for retailers opening up physical stores. For example, AR fitting tools like those made by Zeekit and Superpersonal are allowing shoppers to try on outfits without touching any of the clothes on display. Contactless payment technology providers like sQuid and Applied Card Technologies are also making their rounds in the industry.
While a lot of traditional trading is carried out on trading floors, it is difficult to do right now because of the obvious health risks. Fortunately, there are lots of apps and programs already developed to take trading into a more remote, digital sphere.
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FXCM’s MetaTrader 4 allows users to create practice accounts if they are new to trading. It’s available on Android and iOS, as well on browsers, making it a great tool for anyone looking to trade on the go. Similarly, Collaboration Services have customised their messaging service for financial firms. And Called Symphony encrypts all conversations, allowing traders to share sensitive information on the platform without risk of any breaches. It also integrates a lot of third-party plugins like Infront Analytics, ChartIQ, and FlexTrade that financial analysts can use to complete their tasks.
Insurers usually meet up with potential policyholders in-person to close deals, but, again, this is very difficult to do right now due to social distancing measures. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps and digital services that insurers can take advantage of to continue operations. Zego is a cloud-based property management solution platform that allows insurers to activate policies via an app or through their software. For instance, while they normally require ID and signatures from the policyholder to activate the contract, Zego is built with multiple verification procedures. This way, they don’t need to see the client in-person. There are also several e-signature software companies like DocuSign and Secured Signing that can replace the need for users to sign documents in-person. Every e-signature has a unique key, so it can never be copied.
Manufacturing is one industry whose demand will never dip because of the need to keep the supply chain going. However, today’s unprecedented circumstances have created a lot of bottlenecks such as limited transport capacities that are costing SMEs time and money. Thankfully, technology is here to speed things up. The government is backing a program called the Made Smarter Initiative, which aims to provide manufacturers with the technology they need to make their operations more efficient. Some of the technologies they’re offering includes but is not limited to additive manufacturing, big data, robotics, and much more. Other manufacturing tech companies like AI Build and Tharsus Group are providing similar services as well.
The pandemic has changed so much across so many different industries. But technology is making it easier to adapt to the changes, as companies pivot to adapt to the current climate.
If your business is ready to make that change, take a look at our previous post on ‘Pivoting – The Challenges and Opportunities for UK Tech SMEs’.