We hear a lot about technology, but for the majority of us, this sounds like a foreign language. From robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), to cloud technology, we hear of these companies launching by the thousands, but how are they using technology and what does it actually mean. With thousands of startups currently active in the region and thousands more joining their ranks every year, it makes sense to look at why they all rely on technology for business growth.

Leading the way is Singapore, with programmes like its Smart Nation initiative, which has introduced a range of public policies and funding initiatives that have helped the island nation develop in the regional hub for technology. Other markets like Indonesia and Malaysia are not far behind as the startup economy continues to grow aggressively throughout the entire region.

But the question remains, how are these businesses using technology to help them become global players almost overnight when it would take businesses decades to reach that scale. We decided to break it down for you into simpler language to demystify the entire process.

Technology makes expansion easier

Overseas expansion often represents a significant challenge for any business – B2B or B2C. From understanding the local issues to figuring tax implications and consumer trends, it can be a long process to replicate the success of your home base elsewhere.

However, being able to scale your business from a technical standpoint without needing to develop the entire infrastructure gives businesses the opportunity to focus on solving other issues. Here are some of the ways it helps:

  • Communication software and applications enable cross-border collaboration so teams can work closely without needing to be in the same office
  • Accounting software means a single finance team can manage payroll and finance for multiple markets and integrate local requirements into the process easily
  • B2B companies with complex supply changes can use ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems to manage their global processes

Automation helps scalability

In today’s fast-paced business world, technology can help reduce the workload by generating efficiencies. This is implemented in the form of robotics and automation tools for manufacturing services, software efficiency tools for administrative, marketing, sales and operations, and even HR through AI and machine learning systems for talent sourcing and assessment.

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An added benefit of automation is giving employees time to be creative and focus on improving processes. Companies should be focused on enabling their employees to contribute to the company through their skill and passion, and by freeing up their time, it can lead to benefits for the company as a whole.

Data access is easier than ever

One of the biggest challenges to scalability has always been data gathering and analysis. Before the dawn of the information age, how long would it have taken to gather data from 100,000 consumers and break that down by gender, age, economic status and other categories, before having to analyse that information and produce actionable results? Months, possibly years, would be needed to create that data and even then the cost would make it inaccessible to the many.

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With the advent of social media, retail tracking technology, and other sensors, it is easier than ever to gather the relevant information. In fact, the information already exists for most categories and it just needs to be accessed.

Deep analysis is now possible in seconds with the processing power of a smartphone far surpassing the supercomputers in the 90s. All of this makes it easier and more cost-efficient for businesses to scale.

Technology enables adaptation

Taking into account data gathering and analysis, as well as automation, it now means that businesses can tailor their business to the environment as they scale. If one service sells better in one market compared to others, or the local regulators set up roadblocks for your business, it is now possible to adapt to these changes and excel.

A simple way to look at this is the ability to scale or tailor a technology service compared to hiring a brand new team, training them, developing a completely new operational process and even setting up a new manufacturing infrastructure. Being able to utilise technology helps companies identify the changes that need to be made and then develop a replicable solution in the fastest and most efficient method possible.