How SMEs can use digital transformation and the cloud to punch above their weight (Guest blog by BBD Software)
Authors: Katie Cubitt, Marketing Lead, BBD Software
Many industries are seeing the need to rapidly digitally transform to better serve communities and customers, and to take advantage of the perpetual change and innovation technology brings.
Digital transformation in essence is the journey by which you provide a foundation that promotes digital literacy and intentional experimentation. The data produced is used to inform your strategy. You then align your operations to achieve those goals, supported by the systems necessary to succeed. And so the cycle continues.
Of these industries, SMEs are particularly able to rely on the likes of cloud technology and digital transformation to punch above their weight class – solving critical public issues or offering smart and flexible solutions wherever they see gaps in the market.
One such SME, Right ePharmacy, took that exact approach to revolutionise chronic medication delivery to rural and urbans areas across Africa in conjunction with the South African Department of Health and their software solutions partner, BBD.
Medicine collection is a major issue facing public healthcare in Africa. Right ePharmacy’s innovative approach to alleviating the problem centres around their Collect & Go smart lockers that act as a medication ATM.
“In order to achieve this, our centralised solutions required a global presence of hosted applications and the ability to connect to both the patients as well as the depots and last mile locations” explains Fanie Hendriksz, managing director at Right ePharmacy. “Some of the challenges we faced included deploying these smart locker services in regions with no connectivity. For this we reached out to BBD to architect a hybrid data transfer approach using a mixture of mobile, fixed line and proprietary transfer methods to keep the data hosted in the cloud near real-time.”
Part of the success of this venture is in how the smart lockers alert patients on when they can collect their chronic medication from one of the nearest Collect & Go smart lockers, and in the mobile application software that relays data connectivity where no internet connectivity exists - especially in rural areas.
“Having global infrastructure as well as the ability to host health-related sensitive data locally while maintaining an integrated view of the information was a critical requirement for us. Cloud provider AWS has a unique value proposition offering a 100% uptime guarantee in its environment. So we can run like a bank, even though we are a relatively small business, and achieve the uptime we’re looking for with AWS on a small budget," Hendriksz adds.
In this way, the team is easing the burden around collecting medication by eliminating the backlog and simultaneously minimising company costs.
Digital transformation for SMEs
For smaller organisations looking to digitally transform, the focus should be on creating a plan with all the appropriate guardrails required to successfully start their journey. But the key is to start by changing your mindset – giving yourself and your team the ability to change direction.
- Know where you want to end up and be calculated in your next steps
- Don’t be afraid to fail, but limit the impact radius of any failure, and learn from it
- Understand the value and impact your vision will have when compared to your current situation
- Form a strategy that supports the move towards your vision and priorities the outcomes
- Understand the gaps that exist between people, skills, technology, data and operations
- And make sure you understand your future operating model and what role governance plays
- From here, be involved, in every step in your journey
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