Digital transformation no longer optional for small firms: seminar hinh anh 1Nguyen Dinh Thang, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Association for Information Processing, speaks at a recent digital transformation seminar held in HCM City (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA/VNA) - Vietnamese enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones, should embrace digital transformation to survive but also improve their production and trading processes and business efficiency in the industry 4.0 era, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent seminar heard in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tran Phu Lu, director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC), said Vietnam has some 800,000 enterprises, of which SMEs account for 95 percent and contribute 45 percent of GDP.

When the pandemic broke out, over 90 percent of SMEs were affected, with their revenues dropping by more than 50 percent, and about 24 percent had to suspend operations, he said.

“Now digital transformation is no longer an option but a critical need for SMEs. The COVID-19 epidemic forces businesses to transform from traditional to new economic models with the application of science and technology and new technologies.”

Tran Thai Son, an executive at the HCM City Union of Business Associations, said digital transformation is the application of digital technologies to improve management efficiency, customer experience and employees’ efficiency.

“Customer behaviour has changed… your competitors are adopting digital transformation. If you don’t transform your business, you will lag behind.”

SMEs incorrectly think only large enterprises need to embrace digital transformation and that it is some kind of miracle that helps transform the businesses immediately, he said.

Nguyen Dinh Thang, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Association for Information Processing, and chairman of Hong Co Group, said Vietnamese businesses are aware of the importance of digital transformation and have made some investment. However, their transformation has only just begun; many companies are still in the planning stage.

Lu said a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2020 in 14 Asia-Pacific countries found that SMEs with a high degree of digital transformation saw revenues and productivity increase significantly.

It also found that 72 percent of Vietnamese SMEs are seeking to transform to bring new products and services to the market compared to just 32 percent the previous year, he said.

Delegates at the event said while digital transformation is costly businesses could choose technologies that are suited to their demands and budgets.

Vu Anh Tuan, general secretary of the HCM City Computer Association (HCA), said, “Finding an appropriate digital transformation solution is an important factor that decides the success of digital transformation.”

Enterprises should not wait until they grow to switch to digital technology, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic and highly competitive business environment.

Son said enterprises need to identify their objectives and priority areas to transform first.

Thang called on the Government to create a sound legal framework to facilitate digital transformation.

The seminar was organised by the ITPC and HCA./.