Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up over 90% of companies globally.
They drive innovation, create jobs, and grow economies.
Here in Scotland, particularly in the north and north-east, they are the lifeblood of local communities and the broader economy.
However, the playing field has often been uneven, with these businesses often struggling to compete with major corporations in terms of capital, recruitment and technology.
Technology has always been a key driver for giving businesses an edge.”
Barry Booth, chief executive of Aberdeen-based software firm Intellicore, believes this is starting to change.
Mr Booth said: “Technology has always been a key driver for giving businesses an edge, regardless of their size.
“Now, new technologies are widening access to tools which were previously only available to major corporations.
“Tools which unlock accurate, reliable intelligence, for instance.
“Collecting and analysing data gives small businesses the insights they need to make smart choices. While large firms have used analytics for years to streamline operations, all firms now have the capability to tap into customised cloud solutions.”
He added: “Such solutions enable real-time tracking of key metrics, identifying customer trends, predicting future scenarios, and visualising data patterns.
“Data analytics empowers small businesses to develop a more accurate understanding of their customers and, therefore, personalise offerings.
Technology + SME = higher productivity, cost savings and better commercial performance
“We see this time and time again at Intellicore. By exploiting these capabilities, small businesses are ready to spot growth opportunities, fix inefficiencies, adapt quickly to market shifts and lower risks.
“The results? Higher productivity, cost savings and better commercial performance.”
Automation is another strategy that can level the playing field, Mr Booth said.
He explained: “Eliminating repetitive tasks through process automation lightens administrative loads. This frees up small businesses to focus resources on developing new ideas and strategic initiatives, and on the high-value work that drives profit and growth.
“Smart automation also increases speed, accuracy and compliance, making a huge contribution to improving customer experiences.”
Cloud computing has changed the business landscape for good too, Intellicore’s boss said.
He added: “The delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the internet provides affordable access to previously unattainable enterprise-grade capabilities.
“Switching to the cloud yields greater resilience and agility, as well as the ability to recover more quickly from disasters and expand geographic reach.
“Built-in security, scalability, and global reach also help local small businesses to adapt as nimbly as major firms with far deeper pockets.”
SME owners may worry they don’t have the resources or capacity to implement and monitor these technology solutions.
Mr Booth said: “That’s where outsourcing the management of the tech side of the business can allow you to concentrate on what you do best. Finding the right managed services provider essentially provides small businesses with their own tech department.
“With these specialised partner/s handling integrated security, hardware and software solutions, Scottish small businesses can punch above their weight on the local, national and even international stage.
“Technology is empowering Scottish small businesses to realise their full potential, driving business growth and economic prosperity locally and nationally.
“By embracing analytics, automation, and the cloud, organisations of all sizes can unlock efficiency, productivity and innovation like never before, charting a path to sustainable growth and success.”