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Challenges in SME digitalisation

01 Sep 2021. 11:24
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  • SME maturity
    Scope to digitize
    1. Digital strategy

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5 strategic objectives of the SME Digitalisation Plan 2021-2025 that will help you overcome the challenges of digital transformation.

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Pill about challenges in SME digitalisation

Every transformation involves a challenge, and the SME Digitalisation Plan 2021-2025, which is framed as a priority of the Spain Digital Agenda 2025, has set five objectives with their own lines of action, so that companies (including those newly created) can face this important change with all the necessary support.

The SME Digitalisation Plan 2021- 2025 establishes the following 5 strategic objectives:

  1. Basic digitalisation for SMEs through a set of scalable actions based on public-private cooperation, such as the  Kit Digital  Program, the SME Connectivity Voucher Program, the Protect your Business Program and the Acelera pyme Program.


  1. Support for change management by promoting business and management training in digital skills through programmes such as the Management Training Program, the SME Digital Transformation Experts Program, and the Agents of Change Program, which incorporates professionals in SMEs, backing them up in their digital transformation process.


  1. Disruptive innovation and digital entrepreneurship enabling a set of actions aimed to promote disruptive innovation in SMEs and support: Innovative Business Groups (AEI), Digital Innovation Centres (DIH), and Digital Entrepreneurship through the Spain Entrepreneurial Nation Strategy.


  1. Support for sectorial digitalisation through a wide range of actions covered by the Active Industry, Digital Tourism and Commerce Digitalisation Programs, focused on the key sectors of the Spanish economy.


  1. Coordination, efficiencies and reform focuses on establishing coordination and collaborative work mechanisms for the different agents that form part of the SME support ecosystem, with a cross-cutting nature.


The SME Digitalisation Plan will promote not only technological change processes in companies, but also their whole transformation.


Technological devices on the table


Beyond the process of innovation and integration of digital technologies and services in companies, digitalisation involves changes in the organisation, business models, products, and relationships with other businesses and customers. It also changes the production structures, employee and management skills, and professional relationships, in pursuit of business volume growth or profitability. 

In order to achieve an effective digital transformation, a strategy must be drawn so the enterprise can identify the actions to be undertaken, the investment and funding needs, as well as a roadmap for its development. Each company has to develop its own project taking into account different factors:

  • The sector of activity.
  • The size of the company.
  • The digital maturity.
  • The location of the company and its area of influence and activity.
  • The potential competition and the target business model.
  • The available skills and talent.
  • The financial means.
  •  Others (such as the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis).

Only through a customized transformation project for each company, the expected objectives and benefits will be achieved. 


Digital technologies are a tool, not an end in themselves.


The acquisition and implementation of tools and enabling technologies are not enough if they do not entail a real and sustained change in the strategy, operating model, and digital culture of companies.

Depending on the objectives, priorities and diagnosis obtained from the initial situation, different dimensions of digital transformation, beyond the technological one, must be addressed:

  • Investment and integration of technical equipment, infrastructure and technology. 
  • Cultural, organisational and communicative change.
  • Customer experience. Redefining the relationship with them using new channels.
  • Training of all employees, the entrepreneur and the management team.
  • Redesign of internal processes to automate them and increase their productivity so operations can be scale.


Having an adequate supply, professionals with digital skills, and easy and efficient access to information on grants, are some of the key enablers of digitalisation.


Two smiling women at work


If you want to address these actions, it is important to consider certain digitalisation enablers that can condition the development of the project:

  • Having an adequate supply of products, services and digital infrastructures.
  • Having professionals with the required digital skills and the ability to attract talent.
  • High-speed connectivity.
  • Easy and efficient access to information on available grants and other initiatives for business entrepreneurship.
  • Access to financing and taxation instruments.
  • Access to the different networks of centres available that promote entrepreneurship, digitalisation (such as the Acelera pyme Program) and innovation.
  • Development of sectorial digital driving policies.


In conclusion, we must consider that public-private collaboration is necessary to achieve the implementation of the digital change, being essential both a previous analysis of each SME and a comprehensive action plan to achieve the implementation and development of the digital transformation.


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