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3 Critical Trends SMEs Should Focus On In 2022

Here are some trends SMEs should be honing to build resilience for what is to come or risk sinking should they choose to overlook.

Since the pandemic, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have constantly been coming up with creative solutions to remain afloat and keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment. While it has been an uphill battle for some, the extended period of uncertainty in the past two years have prepared most SMEs to stay agile and innovative to weather what 2022 might bring.

75 per cent of SME leaders believe that the changes in business operations made in the past year to cope with COVID-19 will bring long term benefits, as they anticipate future consumer trends and expectations to grow their businesses. This includes the move towards digitalisation and streamlining operations, among others.

While trial-and-error learning and adaptation have been fruitful in navigating through the pandemic, here are some trends SMEs should be honing to build resilience for what is to come or risk sinking should they choose to overlook.

The Rise of Metaverse and NFTs

A side effect of the pandemic that is here to stay for the long run is the drastic change in corporate and personal spending habits. The fast-changing consumer behaviour requires SMEs to constantly leverage available resources to update trends and information.

It also requires brands to adapt their communication strategies quickly to convey their standings and game plan. Whether online shopping, social and environmental consciousness, the transition between work-from-home and work-from-office or even the trending Netflix series, SMEs have to remain informed and updated in the changing consumer patterns.

The rise of the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has confirmed a revolting concept of the digital world being a parallel life to real-world experiences and is here to stay. This has even called for sportswear giants such as Adidas to include both digital and physical items in their new collection.

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For example, Singapore’s Central Asia & South East Asia Business Chamber (CASEA-BC) is building a gamified user experience with the first-ever metaverse-commerce, based on real-world maps, that combines VR/AR/MR gaming with online -commerce for SMEs and digital asset ownership powered by NFTs like virtual land and shops. This is something exciting to watch out for.

Data security and data ownership revolution

With consumer needs and sentiments constantly transforming, big data provides an in-depth understanding of changing trends and predicts patterns moving forward and has grown to become an arsenal for business operations, especially sales and marketing.

As SMEs, in general, are agile and able to act relatively quickly on data-driven insights, adapting the right type of data can transform a brand to be more relevant to its target audience and stand out among its competitors.

However, access to data can prove costly for SMEs and keeping consumer data safe and secure; especially privacy data, can be challenging and risky. With demand for data protection on the rise, a new trend that relies on decentralising user data is fast catching on.

Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) aims to put the data ownership and control back into the hands of the users and even allows users to monetise their data. This is a massive revolution in the data space. It enables data owners to control their data instead of relying on the traditional centralised organisation.

This reduces the cost and the risk of maintaining a large centralised database of users’ data for the organisation while minimising the chances of data breaches commonly found in today’s centralised systems.

To curb the challenges that come with big data security, Singapore’s UKISS Security Ecosystem has launched next-generation state-of-the-art SSI technology that protects all sensitive data conveniently, by the user, for the user, making it easier for SMEs to integrate data effectively without compromising on safety.

UKISS’s patented Hugware digital wallet technology does the job of securing a user’s ID, privacy data, digital assets and even data files easy and convenient, allowing a mass-market adoption of digital security for the average consumer.

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Ramp up digitalisation

The pandemic-driven digital transformation businesses went through in 2020, and 2021 is expected to continue in the coming years.

While it is no surprise that most organisations embrace a digital-first approach, SMEs are to look into more avenues to deepen their investment in digitalisation further to stay ahead of the competition in the evolving digital landscape of gamify, meta-commerce and NFTs.

Blockchain evangelists are confident that the technology will power the next wave of digital transformation across industries. The distributed, encrypted database model has the potential to be the game-changer in the automation of business operations which includes logistics, supply chain management, data store, e-commerce and sharing as well as transaction processing.

The adoption of blockchain technology has gained momentum in the last couple of years beyond cryptocurrencies. Solution providers such as IBD Technology (Singapore) and its partners are committed to helping SMEs bridge the digital gap to bring about further growth opportunities.

On top of that, decentralised infrastructure developers such as DEER Network are also building futuristic one-stop high speed and low-cost decentralised data storage infrastructure to power the next generation of digitalisation that bridges blockchain and metaverse applications. Together, these breed of new generation technology providers can help SMEs worldwide to latch on to the fast-moving digitalisation train, which may be crucial for survival in the post-pandemic era.

The adaptiveness of SMEs in the face of challenge is by and large the core strength to hone, not only to survive 2022 but to revive back stronger.

Whether it is the changing consumer trends and sentiments or evolving technological adoption, SMEs can adapt and implement the new principle more effectively if they are flexible and open to changes.

Source: e27

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