Published on Aug 29, 2017
Feel free to share
Digital Engagement boosts business
Australian small and medium businesses (SMBs) are holding back on the digital revolution. The digital world is a challenging and changing space for business owners, however there are clear advantages to a higher level of digital engagement.
Digital engagement is about using digital tools such as the cloud, or social media applications, in ways that create a conversation and sustain a relationship between your business and your customers.
Deloitte Access Economics recently undertook a survey of 600 Australian SMBs and found only 9% are using digital tools at an advanced level of engagement.
Deloitte broke users into four groups, starting with ‘basic’ having the least level of engagement, through to intermediate, high and finally advanced users. The report showed surprising differences between SMBs with an ‘advanced’ level of digital engagement and SMBs with a ‘basic’ level of digital engagement.
Advanced users were found to be 8 times more likely to be creating jobs in their business than basic users.
Advanced users were also found to be 14 times more likely than basic to be innovating in their businesses.
Interestingly, advanced users were 1.5 times more likely to experience revenue growth and earned 1.4 times more revenue for each employee in their business.
Overall, the report stated at every level of digital engagement, businesses experienced significant revenue growth of almost 20% as they increased their engagement from level to level.
Of the businesses surveyed, many of those in the basic, intermediate and high categories stated they had insufficient skills to get the most out of digital tools, while many simply felt that digital tools are of no use to their business.
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) noted links between improved productivity and ‘digital maturity’ (a strategic, holistic and integrated approach to digital technology) in its Australian Industry Report 2016. The DIIS found many Australian SMBs are not using digital technology to its full potential.
The DIIS noted that businesses with four or less employees were the lowest users of the cloud, compared to larger companies, while noting that cloud usage improves productivity and decreases IT costs. For small businesses this dual benefit of digital engagement is crucial.
How your business can engage
While the digital engagement can be confusing and requires time to acquire the skill to use, the figures above show it’s worth the time.
The takeaway messages from Deloitte’s report are:
- Research what is out there and select the digital tools that will work best for your business.
- Be prepared to spend time learning how to use those tools well.
- Digital engagement is not set and forget – like any business system you should regularly audit your toolkit and research new digital tools.
If you are wondering where to go for help, you’ll find many of the answers at your fingertips. The web is a great source of tutorials, how-to and troubleshooting information and clips.
You can also visit Business.gov.au digital business kits to find training modules relevant to your business sector.