UAE's SMEs must go more digital
A good online presence today means that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) aren't limited to serving customers in the UAE, but have access to customers across the Middle East and North Africa, and even across the world.
Speaking to media, Haider Salloum, SMB channel director at Microsoft Gulf, said the way forward for many SMEs in the region is by going digital.
"We encourage SMEs today to have an online presence and to do their business digitally. What technology today has done is that it has created a disruption in the channel models. The biggest threat to a retailer today might not be his competitor that sits next door to him, but an online retailer that ships his product in a certain number of days at a more competitive price." "A smart businessman today will recognise the shift in business models and explore options on how he can use that to his advantage. For instance, over 50 per cent of retail sales in the UK are done online. That is a mindblowing statistic, especially in light of the fact that this is a model that has been in existence for hundreds of years, and yet was so easily disrupted. We are increasingly noticing a change in buying behaviour, and how people are shopping for goods and services today," Salloum said.
Customers today are more informed about their purchasing decisions and are more demanding, he stressed. Companies that are in touch with the demands of their customers are the ones that will come out on top, he pointed out.
Salloum also noted that over the past five to six months, SMEs have had to deal with a global economic challenge that stems from the drop in oil prices, the rise of the dollar and the fall in commodity prices. SMEs today, he said, have to contemplate on the best way to weather this storm.
"Their priority today should be to ask themselves what they need to do to use this economic challenge as an enabler for them to reinvent their business. This is where Microsoft sees the most opportunities to help SMEs in the region. We are looking forward to connecting with SMEs to share ideas on how to leverage technology to reach their customers better and be more effective."