Dodging a bullet: how digitisation is keeping SMBs alive

By Luke Hamman, Head of SMB, Docusign Australia

SMBs can do it tough. The pressure to win new customers and keep the business afloat can sideline other tasks. But a little digital initiative now can pay off in the long run.

Digital transaction management (DTM) is the perfect panacea for many SMBs’ woes. It is a simple technology solution that businesses of any size can implement to save time and money, and enhance the customer experience.

Despite the obvious benefits of DTM, many SMBs are yet to update their processes. The reasons are many and varied:

  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of money
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of losing customers
  • Misconception that the technology is expensive

These are valid concerns. And they mirror the concerns that SMBs would have voiced in the 1980s and early 1990s, when office workers had to wrap their heads around word processors. Change means uncertainty. But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned from the transformation from pen-and-paper to word processing, it’s that technology drives efficiency and agility.

DTM is no different. Yes, it’s a new way of securing sales and signing contracts. But just like other business processes that have been transformed by technology (fax, I’m looking at you), it’s a solution that businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from.

In this early-adoption stage of DTM, we field many questions about digital transformation. Here are the most commonly asked questions we get asked.

What is digital transaction management (DTM)?

DTM is an emerging category of secure cloud-based software and services to help you digitally manage end-to-end transactions involving people, documents and data. It takes previously manual processes like the signing of sales contracts and converts them into fast and seamless digital processes.

Just like email replaced fax, DTM is replacing the drawn-out task of sending documents to and fro for sign-off.

Why should SMBs consider digital transformation now?

Speed and agility are critical to all companies, especially smaller businesses that are trying to grow. Digital transformation has speed and agility at its core.

Moving to digital transactions, for example e-signing contracts, removes the friction and complexity of doing business manually. It also frees up resources, people and money – which can then be directed towards other business initiatives. By simplifying business processes, you can focus on the things that matter. That is, your customers and their success.

Do smaller companies have any advantages in going digital?

Yes, SMBs reap immediate benefits from DTM, even with small-scale deployments. By starting small, you can implement fast – perhaps within one department or line of business. Then, once you have reportable benefits in this first line of business, it is easy to justify the solution across other areas of the business.

How has the changing tech landscape made digital transformation easier?

In decades past, digital transformation meant the full-blown implementation of systems like Oracle and SAP. Deployment would take years, and by the time the system was up and running it would need to be updated. Things are very different today.

Cloud-based software services can be deployed quickly and easily. There’s an app for everything and  you don’t need an IT department to use them. You can get a taste of digitisation through a simple use case (for example, digital employment contracts) and test it to see if you like it.

Does mobile technology play a role in digital transformation?

Not necessarily. But, mobile is key to meeting user expectations. To ensure maximum adoption of new technologies, they should be compatible with the way your employees and customers work. Today, users expect that any new tool will work across every platform and every device. Meeting that expectation will reap rewards for your business.

To learn more about Docusign for SMBs click here.

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