Can Small and Medium Companies afford (and survive) the cost of Digitalisation?


No matter the business sector you belong to, the word digitalisation is thrown around now more than ever, and there’s a big reason for that. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are taking a journey to the unknown by entering the digitalization process, hoping to achieve ultra-functionality, and ultimately, profit.

But what are the costs of digitalizing, and most importantly, what are the costs of NOT digitalizing properly?

We want to take a different approach and observe this necessary transformative process from a unique angle, all in order to once and for all break the myths built around digitalization. By arming yourself with knowledge, you will know how to scale the costs and manage the budget to fit your businesses’ best interest.

Set your expectations straight!

The very first thing, before the process even begins, a lot of companies try (mostly out of fear of failure) is to predict the results of digital transformation accurately. This, more often than not, leads to setting very high expectations, and often a disappointment.  Do not expect to transform your business via digitalization completely!

Since managers across the globe are known for overestimating the final benefits, and overall ROI, of digitalization, it is always better to take a step back and assess the situation through the prism of business streamlining, rather than root changes. 

Going from paper pushing to an automated AI-assisted task scheduling is not something to be done overnight, and patience is a virtue in this case. However, to set a reasonable level of expectations, you must prioritize your weak points.

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

When it comes to SMEs, one of the most common budget drains is lack of prioritization. We are not talking about the execution and application of the new system. We are talking about the “copycat” problem.

“The XYZ company got the new AI implementation for their platform, and we MUST get one too!” – We are sure that a sentence like this found its way into a board meeting or two, and the hard truth is: it is absolutely wrong! A solution made for one enterprise can set back, or sometimes even bankrupt the company that tries to copy.

For this reason alone, it is best to make a list of priorities and execute accordingly. Consult with the team in charge of the whole digitalization process, and try to cut unnecessary “one-fits-all solutions”. A skilled team will have the extra features ready, but they will also apply unique solutions to fit your enterprise.

A euro saved is a euro earned. By cutting back on shiny things, you boost your chances to survive the whole process without severe injuries to the budget.

Embracing automation allows new talent to grow!

If we were to single out a major digital transformation benefit, especially for SMEs, it would definitely be automation. Let’s face it, there is no more need to do all the dirty work by hand, and the benefits of automating are much more significant than it seems. By alleviating the pressure from repetitive processes, you allow the team members to think about solutions.

On the other hand, by alleviating the pressure away from the repetitive work, you leave enough space for your employees to focus on more important matters. As long as you establish that these new tools digitalization brings are not about technology but about business, your course is set.

Plan smart, plan ahead, and do not do it alone!

Having a clear vision of what your company will become, after you’re done with the digital upgrade, is not an easy task. Split the project into stages, accounting for at least three: near future, next year, and next 3-5 years. It is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of not tracking the process, because “it’s digital progress, right”? To make sure that you have a solid contingency plan, the safest bet is to dedicate a team that will always have detailed data about the ongoing stage of digitalization. You will be surprised by how much funds this could save you.

Lastly, what you will need is a dedicated team of experienced professionals to help you. If we take into account that you still have to maintain your client base, while undergoing the digital transformation process, AND you need to think about budget issues and how to avoid them, it is best to have someone by your side.

Development teams, such as LifeUp, are not there to hold your hand while it is over. The key function of a group like this is to learn how your enterprise breathes and to forge a platform that will not only address your weak points but leave you with a set of tools to grow your business along with the trends of the digital era. 

One final thought for the road

The truth is that no one knows what precisely the future of economics brings. New companies rise and fall daily, and old, established enterprises stand and watch, choked by the fear of failure. Constant assessment and reassessment are paramount to survive this transformational period. You do not need to implement every digital solution right away, or ever in some cases! But if you wait for the right moment for too long, you might just miss it. Be proactive, not reactive, and be prepared!


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Let’s make something more

We are ready to invest in the first steps of your digital transformation! 

Our key consultants can help you to build a successful digital transformation roadmap.

What will you receive:

  • Set of workshops to map your services, requirements and needs.
  • Tailor-made TO BE vision of your services, processes and operations.
  • Step-by-step changes implementation plan.