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How tech can help SMEs build back better

Home Engineering ICT How tech can help SMEs build back better

MORE than a year after COVID-19 compelled businesses to pivot and hastily implement remote working strategies, many are still trying to adapt to new ways of working with hybrid working models becoming common place.

That’s according to Farhad Suleman, CEO of internet service provider (ISP) Simpli Connect, which hosted a podcast on the subject recently.

He cited a study conducted by World Wide Worx titled The Digital Corporation in South Africa 2021, which revealed that the percentage of organisations who have increased their digital transformation efforts (15 percent) is very close to the proportion of staff who are able to work remotely (18 percent).

Conversely, the 20% of organisations surveyed, who have fallen significantly in digital transformation is almost equivalent to the 24% who had only a few staff members working remotely.

The study goes on to highlight that 97 percent of respondents see connectivity as a key area of ICT expenditure. This is significant as connectivity has never been more important than it is today.

However, many SMEs do not have their own IT departments and may not have time to call service providers about problems they might be experiencing with connectivity. Many may need to visit mobile provider outlets and may not get the business advice that they seek, with consultants being very focused on a consumer market. SMEs are entitled to business grade service and offerings.

Simpli Connect is a local ISP that specialises in connectivity solutions for businesses of all sizes, but with special offerings for SMEs. Suleman said that by aggregating solutions from multiple providers they ensure the customer need is met with the best solution on the market rather than trying to fit the customer’s requirement into ‘similar’ solutions from a preferred vendor.

“We are in a position where we know we can play a part in helping SMEs build back better and we have developed product bundles to do just that. We have also assisted to repair infrastructure where we can and are currently allowing potential customers free trials for three to six months before we expect potential customers to commit to any of our products or solutions,” he said.

Pointing to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index which showed that 79 percent of organisations in South Africa have fast-tracked some digital transformation programs this year, Suleman said Simpli Connect offers SME customers assistance and advice on digital transformation, digital marketing strategies based on their own experience and advice on taking businesses from brick and mortar to digital.

“This transcends the boundaries of an ISP, where Simpli Connect is vested in SMEs and provides bundles of products aimed specifically at SMEs that provide enterprise-grade products at a fraction of the cost.”

In the first episode of the Simpli ConnectED Podcast Series, Suleman and colleague Tanya Dreyer are joined by World Wide Worx CEO Arthur Goldstuck and Ismail Gani, Managing Executive from Vodacom Business to provide practical advice to SMEs. –

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