How small and medium-sized enterprises drive business and economic results through digital innovation
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the heart and soul of the Australian economy and community. They generate more than half of Australia’s economic growth and employ about two-thirds of the local workforce. They are the main catalyst for innovation, responsible for creating most of the country’s new products, services, processes, and business approaches.
SMEs play a pivotal role in the government’s plans for Australia to become a leading digital economy by 2030. Because of the need for social distancing during the pandemic, SMEs have already accelerated their use of digital technologies, from email, websites, and messaging apps to collaboration tools, the cloud, and e-commerce solutions. SMEs use these tools for both external and internal purposes: to connect and communicate with customers, employees, and suppliers; create new products and services; access new, cost-effective ways to market and sell their products; and drive operational efficiencies.
How is the adoption of digital technologies affecting the financial and business performance of SMEs? Which digital technologies and approaches deliver the best results for SMEs? And how will these results benefit the Australia economy?
“Digital technology is incredibly important to all businesses. It would be difficult to find any business where it hasn’t played a significant role.”
- Jacqueline Gray, CFO, Proteomics International
Our research methodology
To answer these questions, Meta commissioned ThoughtLab which worked in conjunction with Hatch, a global professional services firm, to conduct a comprehensive study of how SMEs drive business and economic performance through digital transformation. The study included a survey of 1,250 SME owners and managers across regions and industries in Australia. To set our research framework, our economists synthesised viewpoints from academic and business papers into a clear definition of digital transformation: namely, the use of digital technologies to develop new business strategies, processes, products, and services to meet the needs of customers, employees, and other business stakeholders.
Based on that definition, we developed a digital maturity model to assess how stages of digital transformation influence business performance. Our maturity model consists of six performance pillars, each designed to measure a key component of digital transformation. The pillars include:
Survey respondents provided valuable information on their digital transformation efforts, including their digital strategies, processes, skills, and marketing approaches, along with their use of digital technologies and e-commerce channels.
In addition to the survey, the research team conducted in-depth, one-on-one virtual interviews with six Australian executives in SMEs across industries. The interviews provided deeper insights into the digital transformation approaches of SMEs, the challenges they face, the technologies they use, and the performance improvements they gain.
Download our eBook or Executive Summary below to learn how SMEs are driving business and economic results through digital innovation.
With small and medium-sized enterprises accounting for 99% of Australian businesses, it is no wonder that the government calls them “the engine room of the Australian economy and the hearts of the community.”