Digital Workplaces: An Essential for SMBs Seeking a Level Playing Field

Equipped with new-age communication tools, digital workplaces form a key component in empowering SMBs on several fronts and give SMBs the power to do more

CIOL Bureau
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Digital Workplaces

As India gears towards becoming a $5 trillion economy, the Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) sector—currently contributing to 6.11% of the manufacturing GDP and 24.63% of the service activities GDP—will play a vital role in achieving this goal.


SMBs, however, are often held back due to the inherent competitive disadvantage they face from larger enterprises. Maintaining financial growth, meeting evolving customer expectations and implementing or scaling technology infrastructure are just a few of the many challenges they face.

To solve these challenges, SMBs are increasingly using digital transformation as a key to gain a level playing field. The IDC-Cisco SMB Digital Maturity Index 2019, points to 61% of SMBs in the Asia Pacific region having embraced digitalization. Implementing technologies like Cloud, IoT, and new-age work tools, are helping SMBs align technology, employees and business processes for improved operational efficiency.

Equipped with new-age communication tools, digital workplaces form a key component in empowering SMBs on several fronts.


Increase productivity with new styles of working

New-age work tools offer much more than one-touch video conferencing and screen sharing. Workplace collaboration tools now come with advanced capabilities to enhance productivity.

Take whiteboarding for example. Interactive drawing can be drawn on your phone or device and shared in real-time during meetings. This not adds to a meeting experience but helps immensely when brainstorming for ideas.


Built-in messaging allows employees send important messages either directly or to specific groups. Having one platform to answer messages, or flag important ones for later reduces unnecessary back-and-forth and enhances productivity. Again the ability to share files and codes within the communication tool helps easy access and organization of important information.

Cost-effective and scalable solutions for smarter workspaces

Tech budgets of SMBs are often constrained. Additionally, most SMBs have to deal with transforming their traditional workspaces into fluid spaces that support the needs of fast-pasted, informal and geographically dispersed teams.


A wide range of new-age work tools now make this possible. Teams no longer have to crowd around a single laptop. All they need a palm-sized, affordable device that turns any screen into a content sharing device and allows for sharing of content wirelessly.

Similarly, to enjoy the benefits of an AI-powered video conferencing system, all SMBs need are a single device that combines codec, camera, microphones, and speakers. Integrated with a 4K display, SMBs can utilize advanced features like face recognition, noise suppression, and automatic framing of meeting participants.

And for those who want to minimize investments in cost and space, digital work tools include an all-in-one electronic board that allows audio and video conferencing, wireless presentation, whiteboarding, and even annotation of shared content.


Robust security for worry-free connectivity

Cisco’s 2019 Data Privacy Benchmark Study found that smaller businesses are often at greater risk due to constraints on talent and budgetary resources. The study pointed to 39% saying that at least half of their business systems were affected.

New-age digital work tools, however, come with some of the most advanced security that ensures your data, conversations and files are always protected. With flexible password management capabilities, end-to-end encryption, role-based access and reliable data center security you can be confident about the safety of your digital workplace.


Digital workplaces give SMBs the power to do more

Research by Gartner predicts that by the year 2022, 70% of teams will rely primarily on workstream collaboration tools to get their work done every day. The digital office, with its ability to enable businesses to dramatically increase productivity, boost revenues, and expand their operations is the way forward for SMBs seeking a level playing field.

By Hariharan S., Managing Director, Collaboration Business, APJC, Cisco Systems

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