The recent COVID-19 lockdown and lifting of restrictions has created havoc for organisations. While public health is of utmost priority, productivity and business cannot be ignored. The livelihood of many employees are tied to the business’ performance – though it may be dampened due to the crisis.

Dealing with a changing environment is challenging, but SMEs can deal with it using the right tools and mindset. Firstly, being aware of what changes is happening is the most important before deciding what to do next.

Sandy Lee, Assistant Director of the Consumer System Printers (CSP) Division at Canon Marketing Malaysia, says, “Buying behaviours have changed throughout the MCO period. Due to the closure of physical stores across the country, we see a surge in e-commerce. As for our products at Canon, sales in printers are doing well during the MCO because of the
‘work-from-home’ orders implemented by the government, as well as home-based learning for students.”

In particular, going online has taken off during the MCO period, and looks set to continue its rise in the future. Remote working may even be a required work feature in the future, instead of just a business perk. For this, companies need to provide employees with the right access to productivity technologies.

Lee says, “With the rising demand for virtual workplace mobility, it is essential for businesses to select the right tool for effective communications and this enhances business
collaboration and productivity. When operating businesses from home, it is crucial that employees are able to easily access their company’s programmes and database from virtually anywhere, as this enables them to work and to connect with colleagues, business associates or customers from a remote location. It is vital to make sure the selection of the
cloud service provider (CSP) is reputable, well established and has security measures to protect the businesses’ data.”

With the MCO now lifted, businesses are scrambling to make up for lost time. But a new paradigm is upon the business world, which is also part of the ‘new normal’. During the MCO, consumers got a taste of the convenience of digital services. The genie is now out of the bottle, and will not go back in. Digital experiences will replace in-person experiences.

Lee explains, “One of the biggest trends that we foresee in 2020 is that most companies will move to a centralised ‘cloud’ platform to efficiently back up and store their information. It is now more of a necessity than a luxury. Companies should encourage employees to be savvy in using technology for their benefits. For example, with limited access to face-to-face meetings, businesses are leaning on video-conferencing tools such as ZOOM and Google Hangouts to maintain visible relationships with clients and colleagues. Using the best technology available will avoid any technical glitches whilst employees are working from home.”

“We have to be agile to meet our customer’s needs – be it the corporate or consumer market. We need to make changes to the way we do things and adapt swiftly to it. By converting problems into opportunities, we make it better for businesses to move forward. We will continue to work with our customers to overcome this situation together,” she adds.

The new normal presents unprecedented challenges to many businesses, but it is manageable with the right tools and strategies. Digital may be daunting, but at the end of the day, it is a tool to win customers and give them their money’s worth. Lee explains, “Businesses will have to be open to try out new methods to reach their customers. Always stay connected with customers to discover the best solutions to help them. This principle applies to all industries, be it technology, F&B and others. Retaining current customer base will be the main key focus (lowest hanging fruit), so internally we are prepared with our strong platform, structure and resources to do so.”


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