Research project: the implications of digital technology on SMEs
The aim of the research is to evaluate the role of digital technology in developing the small sized firm so that they can operate their organisational operational activities in the market successfully.
- To determine the role of digital technology
- To understand the impacts of digital technology on the small and medium sized firms in the market
- To recommend some suitable suggestions for improving the utilisation of digital technology so that the small sized firms can increase its efficiency to operate in the market
Questions of the proposal:
- What are the roles of digital technology?
- What are the impacts of digital technology on the small and medium sized organisations in the market?
- What are the suitable suggestions for improving the use of digital technology in the small and medium sized firms in the market?
Background of the study:
In recent era of globalisation, the small and medium sized firms are trying to expand their business and retain more customers for making the business profitable. However, it is difficult for the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to set up the business and establish it successfully due to high competitive in the recent years where the competitive firms including small and large companies are also operating (Westerman, Bonnet and McAfee, 2014). It is also difficult for the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to make the reputed and increase the visibility of the company in the market. The issues for the small and medium sized entrepreneurs in the recent era of globalisation are lack of brad visibility, poor promotional activities and low retention of the customers due to low budget. The study is effective for identifying the issues and mitigates it successfully so that the small and medium sized entrepreneurs can enhance the operational activities successfully.
In the recent years, there is strong influence of digital technology where the firms try to utilise it in a positive way for making the business successful. Hereby, this research is beneficial to identify the role of digital technology in enhancing the small and medium sized entrepreneurs so that they can set up the business successfully in the market (Matt, Hess and Benlian, 2015). Nowadays, people prefer digital media for gathering news and latest updates as well as the digital technology provides a scope to the people to identify effective products and services of the small and medium sized entrepreneurs. Moreover, the digital technology is effective for the small sized entrepreneurs where the entrepreneurs can identify the strategy of promoting their business through online activities. The study is therefore effective to analyse the role of digital media and its implications on the small and medium sized firms in the market.
Digital technology is beneficial in the recent years where it provides a scope to all the organisations in developing their business successfully. The use of digital technology makes the organisations capable of doing their business efficiency and expanding it across the international places successfully. In this regard, digital technology is effective for all the small and medium sized entrepreneurs as well as the multinational corporate firms for doing their business efficiently and achieves success in long run. In this regard, the digital technology is effective for improving business efficiency and developing delivery platform through enhancing organisational culture and engagement with the people. Through digital technology, the companies can improve own standard and the level of capability to serve the customers in better way (Fitzgerald et al., 2014).
Through designing the organisational strategic planning and proper leadership are beneficial for the small and medium sized firms to utilise the digital technology and improve the visibility of the company in the market. Hereby, the use of digital technology provides new opportunities for the business in order to improve their performance and enhance their capabilities in performing better in the market. The digital technology is therefore advantageous for all the entrepreneurs to increase the brand performance by enhancing the efficiency of the organisation and proper utilisation of the organisational resources (Wadhwa, McCormick and Musteen, 2017).
The digital technology is the main tactics of the corporate firms in the recent years through which the entrepreneurs try to expand their business across the market and gain high competitive advantage over other competitive firms. The digital technology further influences the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to think critically, develop effective tactics and improve digital competencies and capabilities of the companies. The digital business strategy is different from others where the entrepreneurs aim at improving the online activities and perform better in the market to achieve the pre-specified goals and objectives of the firms (Anderson and Anderson, 2016). Moreover, the organisations in this regard try to maintain legal standard and security for performing better in the market. Legal rules and regulations are helpful for the business to utilise digital technology for improving the capability and standard of the business. On the other hand, the companies are trying to maintain security of the customers and other people engaged with the business so that the organisations can run heir operational activities ethically.
Through digital technology, the products and services also can be improved. The companies can conduct market research through digital technology where they can develop new tactics for product innovation and diversification. The digital media is therefore beneficial where the organisations can conduct market research and identify the actual needs and preferences of the customers which in turn help to develop new innovative and creative products in the market for retaining more corporate clients. Hereby, digital innovation improves product diversification and it also provides a scope to the organisational representatives to improve the quality of service where two way conversations can be possible. The sales representatives also provides 24*7 service to the customers and gather effective feedback from the customers so that they can serve them in a better and unique way which further helps to satisfy the customers and maximise their values. In addition to these, the digital technology is effective for improving point of sale and strengthens the supply chain network where the companies can handle their operational activities strategically (Hutchinson et al., 2015).
Digital technology is beneficial for all the companies for managing administrative work in the workplaces through cloud computing which further enables in filling, storing and sharing information with other stakeholders. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is also another tactic through which the organisations try to improve external and internal communication. In addition to these, social media and mobile technology allows the companies to communicate and collaborate with all the business partners and build strong corporate relationship with each other. Storage and warehouse of the companies can also be managed through digital technology such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system through which the companies also maintain the supply chain and distribution network of the firms (Centobelli et al., 2016). Moreover, big data analysis is helpful for product innovation and growth of the organisation through managing digital technology. There is also high influence of digital technology on the workplace of the companies where the entrepreneurs try to evaluate the performance of the employees and lead them towards achieving the organisational success.
Examining research methodology
In order to conduct the research successfully, it is necessary to select effective research methodologies including the data collection and analysis technique so that it is possible to evaluate the implications of digital technology on the small and medium sized entrepreneurs. In this study, both the primary and secondary data collection techniques are selected by the researcher in order to understand the era of digital technology and meet the pre specified research objectives. The secondary data is useful for the researcher to develop own understand as well as improve knowledge regarding the digital technology and its role in doing the business successfully. The researcher collects the secondary data from the secondary sources such as books, journals articles and other online sources.
On the other hand, the researcher also selects the primary data collection process and on this regard, the researcher arranges interview with some small and medium sized entrepreneurs so that it is easy to collect relevant and valid information from the entrepreneurs regarding the era of digitalisation and its impacts on the business. The researcher in this regard, considers 5 entrepreneurs through which it is possible to collect authentic information regarding their personal experience on utilising digital technology in the small and medium sized firms. In addition o these, the researcher selects qualitative data analysis technique over the primary data analysis technique in order to analyse the collected information on the basis of exiting theories an concept of digital technology and its role in the business.
evaluating research approaches and methodology with proper justification
The researcher selects the post positivism philosophy in order to conduct the research by current concept and evaluating it successfully. The post positivism technique is suitable in this regard for meeting the pre-specified research objectives and conduct the research successfully. Moreover, the research approach, the researcher selects is deductive over inductive approach where through the deductive approach, the researcher can analyse the research topic on the basis of existing theories and concept of digital technology and its implications on the small and medium sized entrepreneurs. In addition to these, the researcher has selected the primary and secondary data collection practice in this research where both the data collection strategies are effective for this study to collect relevant and valid information which will help the researcher to analyse the implications of digital technology on the small and medium sized entrepreneurs.
The secondary data collection process is useful in this study where the researcher can improve own understand and knowledge related to the strategic practice of utilising digital technology and its impacts on the entrepreneurs. Moreover, the primary data is also beneficial for this research where the researcher can gather first hand data directly from the entrepreneurs to understand the experience regarding the implications of digital technology. In addition to these, the qualitative data analysis technique is utilised in this study which further provides a scope to analyse the collected data from the entrepreneurs in the basis of theories and concepts of digital technology. This data collection and analysis process are therefore advantageous for the research to conduct the research strategically and evaluate the above mentioned topic of the study critically.
Applying appropriate analytical tools, analysing research findings and data
Qualitative data analysis technique is utilised here to evaluate the data findings so that the research aims and objectives can be fulfilled. As per the findings, it can be seen that all the small and medium sized entrepreneurs try to utilise digital technology for digitalisation of the business so that they can run the operational activities proficiently. As per the feedback of the entrepreneurs, there are significant impacts of using digital technology on the small and medium sized firms where the entrepreneurs can utilise the technological advancement for improving the overall performance of the firms. The entrepreneurs can enhance their business performance as well as improve the operational activities in the market (Doherty et al., 2016).
The sales volume and profitability can also be enhanced by utilising the digital technology in the recent era of digitalisation. Additionally, the as per the collected information, the entrepreneurs can improve external and internal communication as well as build strong corporate relationship with the customers and other stakeholders also including the employees, government, suppliers, managers, distributors, shareholders and the overall social communities. Moreover, it is also effective for retaining the customers and improves communication with them as well as enhances trust and loyalty among all the stakeholders. The entrepreneurs also stated that there is high influence of utilising digital technology on the business activities where it has the opportunity to improve relationship with all the stakeholders and run the business activities strategically.
As per the data collected through interview, the strategic planning of utilising digital technology provides an opportunity to the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to implement latest technology and run the business successfully. In this regard, the entrepreneurs try to implement the ICT for improving external and internal communication where it is possible to enhance interaction with the customers as well as the employees. It is possible to understand the needs and preferences of the customers through gathering customer’s feedback online (Morgan-Thomas, 2016). Moreover, the ERP system is beneficial for managing warehouse of the company as well as GPS system is useful to track the order and deliver it successfully. In this regard, it is possible for the small sized entrepreneurs to manage the suppliers and distributors and cooperate with them to deliver the products at right place within right time safely. Om addition to these, the e-commerce facility is another innovation of digital technology where the demand for the e-commerce service is increasing rapidly as people prefer e0copmmerce for purchasing. In this regard, it is also beneficial for the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to utilise e-commerce platform for promoting their products and retain more clients through the platform. This is also beneficial for improving profitability and sales volume of the organisation in long run.
Additionally, e-transaction facility further helps the customers to transact money for purchasing the organisational products, easy and quick transfer further raise the demand for the e-commerce service and it is beneficial for the entrepreneurs to utilise the e-commerce platform for promoting their products and strengthen their customer’s base in long run (Mohammadyari and Singh, 2015). In addition to these, the entrepreneurs try to improve marketing tactics so that it is possible for the organisations to promote their company and products at effective market. The social media is a great platform in the recent years to engage with the customers and provide proper news related to products services and price of the organisational products to the overall social communities. Hereby, the companies can promote their products through Facebook, uploading videos through YouTube as well as pictures through Instagram. Moreover, short live videos in Facebook Live are also effective in the recent years for the entrepreneurs to promote the companies and improve visibility of the firm.
In addition to these, the entrepreneurs also try to develop personal website for the company with simple and attractive content which is beneficial for attracting the social communities for their products and services. Company website is advantageous where the customers can access the organisational products and place the order as well as make monetary transactions safely (Stankovska, Josimovski and Edwards, 2016). However, in the recent years, there are some problems in implementing digital technology in the business which are data insecurity, hacking, website hack, difficulties in managing copyright etc. for which the hackers uses the personal information of the customers for some illegal purpose. This may hamper the brand image in the market and in this regard, the entrepreneurs need to manage the digital technology proficiently in order to resolve the existing issues.
Discussing merits and limitations of approaches to data collection and analysis
The selected methodology in this research is beneficial where the researcher has selected secondary and primary data collection technique as well as the qualitative data analysis technique. In this regard, the primary data collection technique is effective to collect the feedback of the entrepreneurs through which it is possible to understand their views regarding the use of digital technology for the small and medium sized enterprises. Moreover, the secondary data is also beneficial in this study where the researcher can develop own understanding and knowledge regarding the concept and strategic planning of digital technology in the business and this is effective to analyse the collected primary data. The main limitation in this research is that the researcher could select the survey tactics and develop effective questionnaire for the customers so that it is possible to understand the impacts of the strategies of digital technology that can improve the customer’s value. The customer’s feedback in this regard is beneficial for the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to set up the business successfully and satisfy them in long run. Moreover, lack of budget and time are other limitation of choosing appropriate research methodology for this study.
Communicating the research outcomes
- Digital technology is useful for the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to enhance business performance as well as improve brand visibility and promote the products in the market.
- Digital technology including the ICT system, cloud computing, ERP and GPS are effective to enhance communication and improve business performance through successful management of the stakeholders.
- Company’s website creation with simple content is also another innovation of digital technology where the small and medium sized entrepreneurs can attract the audience and retain them for long run through their own website.
- E-commerce platform is another advantage to run the business and improve sales volume and profitability by strengthening their customer’s base.
- Social media advertisements another tactics of using digital media and promote the business successfully.
Logically communicating the research outcomes for meeting research objectives
The first objective is to determine the role of digital technology and through secondary and primary data collection and evaluation prices by using qualitative tactics the researcher is able to meet the objective and it has been seen that digital technology plays a crucial role in enhancing business performance of the small and medium sized entrepreneurs to establish the business successfully. The second objective is to understand the impacts of digital technology on the small and medium sized firms in the market where the researcher is also successful in analysing that there are great impacts of digital technology on business where the entrepreneurs utilise it for marketing, managing stakeholders and improving business operational activities. Through the analysis and evaluation of the collected data, the third objective also can be maximised which is to recommend some suitable suggestions for improving the utilisation of digital technology so that the small sized firms can increase its efficiency to operate in the market and the suggestions are stated further.
Critical analysis and recommendations
- In order to utilise digital technology, the entrepreneurs need to develop own company website as well as implement the ICT system in the company for enhancing communication with all the stakeholders.
- The entrepreneur needs to be concerned about data hacking and implement the Data Protection Act 1998 for securing the customer’s personal information so that it is easy to build strong corporate relation and trust with the customers.
- The cyber crime needs to be managed by conducting the business ethically.
- The entrepreneurs also need to increase e-commerce activity and sale the product through famous e-commerce brands so that they can establish the business successfully.
Reflecting the effectiveness of research methodology applied for meeting the research objectives
The research methodologies are helpful to conduct the study and meet the objective. The topic of the research is to analyse the implications of digital technology in the small and medium sized entrepreneurs where the key words are digital technology and small and medium sized entrepreneurs. The secondary data related to digital technology and strategic planning of business for utilising digital technology is suitable to meet the objective. Apart from that, the primary data collection process through interviewing the entrepreneurs is also effective in this research to collect first hand data and understand the experience of the entrepreneurs in using digital technology in their small and medium sized firms.