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Digital transformation is no longer just an industry buzzword but a key competitive advantage for SMEs who stand to benefit from digitisation.  Digital transformation has led to significant disruption on a large scale at the enterprise level. It seems obvious that SMEs would also seek to leverage emerging technologies in order to fundamentally change the way their businesses operate. Cisco has developed Meraki, a solution that enables digital transformation in even the tiniest of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Meraki allows SMEs to seize opportunities such as online presence that come with digital transformation.

Digital transformation solutions are crucial, as SMEs are likely to find their own markets even more cutthroat and competitive than the arenas in which the corporate entities play. As such, the need to seize the opportunity and effectively harness digitisation to boost their competitiveness in the market has never been greater.

Understanding the impact of 4IR on SMEs:

Bearing in mind the speed at which the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is picking up pace, Cisco understands that SMEs cannot afford to sit on the fence with regards to this subject. Survival in today’s fast-paced world requires them to act now, if they are to compete in what is ultimately a globally volatile climate.

There is no longer an excuse either, as modern solutions are designed to help even the most micro of SMEs to build and operate an IT networking infrastructure, despite challenges such as lack of funding for advanced digital solutions and lack of IT specialists to manage these solutions. 

Cisco’s Meraki is the digital transformation solution for SMEs:

Cisco’s Meraki is one of the technologies developed to deliver complete network visibility and control – no hardware controllers or overlay software required. The solution enables SMEs to configure and manage their tasks remotely or on-site. Meraki allows trouble shooting in a fraction of the time with advanced networking analytics, allowing SMEs to focus on a larger number of projects that deliver greater impact.

Perhaps the most crucial element this delivers to SMEs is that it will save them both time and money, whilst also enabling them to rapidly roll out digital initiatives, thereby delivering tangible business value.

Meraki devices are centrally and securely managed from the cloud, using a single Web-based dashboard. This security feature is essential in the South African digital landscape that is marred by cyber security risks. Furthermore, they offer a feature-rich, intuitive architecture that is simple, meaning reduced operating costs, easy-to-use. This means that  –it saves businesses time as it is designed to take advantage of a digitization  world to assist them to solve new business problems.

The tried and tested effective digital transformation tool:

Cisco is not just talking the talk here either, as there are already tangible examples of the type of positive impact these SME solutions can have on a business. For one, Cisco’s Meraki played a role in the genuine success story behind WeBuyCars, a company that specialises in buying and selling pre-owned cars. Having begun with a single warehouse in Pretoria East, WeBuyCars now has the largest showroom in South Africa, that operates 8warehouses and  17 regional teams. The business buys and sells an average of 5,500 cars per month.

The implementation of Meraki has enabled this fast-paced and complex business to improve not only sales and stock control, but also the customer experience. Meraki automates key business tasks such as the buying process, lead nurturing and stock control. With 190 vehicle buyers located throughout the country, it is vital for WeBuycars to usemobile technology, along with proprietary software and apps enabled by Meraki, to ensure that every vehicle is bought and sold at exactly the right price.

Businesses can easily streamline their processes using Cisco Meraki:

By helping WeBuyCars to digitise, Meraki has streamlined its operation, allowing the business to efficiently manage thousands of stock items through an inventory system. It makes it easy for the organisation to track each and every vehicle from the moment it is brought into the warehouse, through each stage of preparation for sale. This includes inspection, preparation, cleaning, photographing and then the loading all the necessary information onto the WeBuyCars website. The same can be implemented for other SMEs.

Cisco Meraki is easy to update and maintain:

When it comes to updates or bug fixes or any kind of issues that can easily become an IT nightmare, Meraki can easily be resolve them. This is enabled by devices enabling the company to push through new updates and even lock down a device if required.

Meraki enables businesses to get ahead of their competition by offering clients an enriched, in-branch customer experience that provides detailed information services on all products. The solution is also well-positioned to help drive further innovation for the business in the future, that deliver improved interaction with customers and increased sales conversions.

SMEs account for the largest segment of businesses contributing to the economy, demonstrating how important these organisations are to the well-being of a country’s GDP. Added to this, the SME market has been identified by the South African government as a key component in future job creation, making it imperative that these businesses have access to IT solutions that are secure, simple and intelligent.

With a digital transformation solution such as Meraki that is custom designed for SMEs, they are able to enjoy agility, operational efficiency and most importantly data security. These are a combination of vital cornerstones that help SMEs to accelerate their digital transformation and be gainfully rewarded.