Digital transformation for small and medium businesses

Empowering the backbone of Singapore’s economy

In a recent survey, it was found that 83% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore have digital transformation strategies in place, but less than half are able to implement it successfully due to the untimely COVID-19 pandemic which impacted investment priorities1. However, business survival and digitalisation are steadily merging in the new world.

Whilst the economic uncertainties in recent times have also added unique challenges - the high implementation cost, cash flow challenges, the workforce digital upskilling gap and low awareness of government initiatives are some common drawbacks faced by SMEs along their digital transformation journey.

With PwC Singapore’s tailored solutions, SMEs can access a wide spectrum of services to embark on their first step to digitalisation with confidence and achieve a competitive edge and enable growth.

How we can help

Kickstart digital transformation and online strategy

Top-of-mind issues for small and medium businesses are a lack of an online and digital strategy and presence, in an economic situation where business survival takes precedence. When investments are delayed and there are cash constraints, it is important to ‘get more bang for the buck’ and look more closely at the value of every dollar invested.

We will work with you to drive actionable steps to kickstart your digital transformation roadmap - by developing a digital strategy, understanding the key market differentiators and accelerating your digital, technology and innovation strategies, to move from offline to online. These will enable your business to strengthen core competencies, optimise internal processes and become more customer-centric.

Transform workforce

Currently many SMEs face massive challenges to operate remotely and digitally, whilst not necessarily having the tools, capability or resources to do this.

At PwC Singapore, we recognise the challenges faced by SMEs in planning and executing the right talent management and upskilling programmes. Instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all model, we will work with you to tailor a workforce transformation strategy that is customised to your organisation needs. This will equip your people with the necessary skill sets for tomorrow’s workforce.

Given that SMEs make up 99% of all Singapore enterprises2, and employ up to 70% of our local workforce, the part they play in closing this skills gap is insurmountable. In PwC Singapore’s upskilling hopes and fears survey, it revealed that only 31% of Singapore respondents are currently upskilling through their employers.

A variety of job redesign initiatives and curated training programmes are also supported by the government’s SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit scheme, covering up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, the PwC Singapore's Academy also provides professional workshops and masterclasses that tackle a wide range of skills most demanded in the current market.

Adopt and integrate new technologies

Adopting new digital technologies can open up a world of opportunities, but also be challenging due to legacy models and insufficient upskilling. The cost of revamping digital infrastructure and lack of resources for addressing cybersecurity risks can prove to be a hurdle due to insufficient cash reserves and funding.

We will empower you to leverage modern technologies such as big data, cloud, AI, data analytics and blockchain to automate their business processes and drive efficiencies. This will help to reduce operational costs, optimise their manufacturing process, provide better customer services and unlock their maximum potential to fast-track their digital transformation.

Strengthen operation and supply chain resilience

Global competition has placed considerable pressure on SMEs to improve on cost and efficiency, to provide value-added services to meet market demand. There are upstream supply chain challenges, import and export delays and offline business disruptions.

In order to minimise disruption, SMEs must relook at their supply chain management to ensure that they are sufficiently flexible and resilient to cushion the shock. PwC Singapore can support the implementation of online collaboration tools for efficient operations, digitise management of suppliers to reduce reliance on paper-based systems and improve existing business controls to reduce business risks by monitoring real-time transactions.

Tighten digital risk and security

According to the Digital Trust Insights Survey 2021: Singapore findings, nearly half the Singapore companies surveyed are prioritising accelerated digitalisation (e.g. e-commerce models, direct to consumer, new business models, virtual workforce) in the next year. But of course, one of the biggest impacts of such accelerated digitalisation is the potential surge in digital attacks and cyber threats. Remote work set-ups, accomplished hastily to enable business continuity, have brought increased exposure to threats.

In 2020, the Singapore government announced that SMEs could receive funding support under the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to cover part of the cost of pre-approved cybersecurity products and services. PwC Singapore can help build your cyber resilience to create greater business value.


1ASME and Microsoft, 2020 "Over 80% of Singapore SMEs embrace digital transformation; more than half report slowdowns due to COVID-19: ASME-Microsoft study 2020"

2ESG Singapore, 2018 "Bridging the SME talent gap"

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Contact us

Kwek SoCheer

Kwek SoCheer

Partner, Digital Solutions, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9030 4617

Ng Siew Quan

Ng Siew Quan

Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Business, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9726 9880