Deloitte’s research indicates that advanced levels of digital engagement are linked to business success, concluding that small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue and eight times more likely to be creating jobs.
“Engaging with, investing in and then keeping up with digital in an increasingly digital economy opens up significant new opportunities for SMBs in terms of agility, competitive advantage, innovation and growth,” Deloitte Access Economics partner John O’Mahony said.
“But the digital landscape is also continually evolving as new technologies change existing markets, drive increased competition and shift consumer expectations. The goalposts when it comes to being highly digitally engaged continue to shift,” he explained.
Significantly, these digitally advanced SMBs were found to be earning 1.4 times more revenue per employee than their less-engaged competition.
The analysis also found they are far more likely to be engaged in their business, exporting seven times and innovating 14 times more than their competitors.
The findings are significant in the competitive Australian SMB sector, which in 2014-15 contributed $608 billion to GDP and employed more than 7.2 million people.
“SMBs are becoming more digitally capable over time across areas such as social media, e-commerce, websites, online marketing tools and data analytics. Yet despite the benefits we have identified, almost half of all SMBs at lower levels of engagement don’t regard digital tools as relevant for their business,” Mr O’Mahony said.
With digitally savvy businesses retaining an edge over their competition, it is crucial that businesses ensure they remain current.
Mr O’Mahony added: “Our research shows that there can be a clear digital dividend for those businesses that get this right, and that there is significant risk for those that don’t.”