Question :
Hi there,Help please.  I keep hearing that SMEs need to be more digitally capable to enhance productivity and build e-commerce capability to meet the changing needs for communicating and selling to customers online.  Where do you start?  Who can provide independent advice about the best software/apps etc to bring back office efficiency and drive customer focused engagement and sales? 

Question submitted 23/04/20 @ 10:10am
Industry: Digital and Technology
  • Up

    ATEED have recently launched a simple digital assessment tool https://ateed.assessment.nz/dashboard. Its intent is to ask a few key questions about your business’s digital readiness then provide some high level guidance on next steps. Worth a look as a first step if you’re new to this area.

    Links to this information and other expertise is also available on The Icehouse Covid-19 resource page https://info.theicehouse.co.nz/covid-19.


    There is defiantly a strong demand from small businesses to move to cloud based productivity tools. It’s important for these tools to be as tailored to your vertical industry as possible, can you let me know what industry you are in? If you are in hospitality we put this together yesterday to help taking the first step – https://www.xero.com/blog/2020/04/get-your-food-business-online/?escape=true As Gavin mentioned as well the ATEED assessment is worth a look too, but if you let me know your industry I can provide more guidance for you.


    Hi there,

    There are a lot of options out there. I am happy to have a chat and understand your business and we can go from there. No selling, just advice…

    My email is bruce@puttiapps.com



    My company Parcelport work with thousands of Kiwi SMEs and our team often provide advice and support for new entrants to online marketing. I’m more than happy to help you out….jeffv@parcelport.co.nz

    Parcelport itself is an online cloud-based courier/freight platform. We are fully integrated with most eCom marketplaces as well as major courier/freight companies – domestic and international. Its free to use our service so please don’t hesitate to look us up.


    Hey good news – there is a torrent of activity going on by so many cloud providers – old and new – to collate stacks of cloud apps to help your businesses – and I suspect you will see some ‘hacks’ coming up where you will be able to access things like
    – Accounting software packages – from Xero, MYOB and many others
    – Payroll packages
    – Online document management – from OneDrive (Microsoft) to DropBox to GoogleDox
    – Web site development tools – from WebPress to Wix to Zeald (local)
    – eCommerce solutions – again Shopify, Zeald (local, got a deal going now), many others
    – a bunch of marketplaces are opening up to supply your products to/through (I reckon TradeMe will come up with something soon)
    – then there are some tailored new point of purchase and booking tools coming up like EatLocal, Swiftly, Mobi2go

    And I am pretty sure the people at Business Connect – part of MBIE are going to create some sort of guide – and my offer on behalf of Manaaki team is that we will on our resources page attempt to summarise all of the options we know of – and if you are into eCommerce keep an eye out as we are going to do a promo soon to get more Kiwi SMEs trading.


    All the above is great advice and its true there is a wealth of apps, tools, and services out there that can help you.

    While you get up to speed on what is available I’d suggest you take some time to figure out what problems you want to solve with technology. At the end of the day they are all tools and you want to get the best one for the job. Also, in my experience adding tools successfully usually requires understanding your current processes and figuring out how they can be made better. Automating processes that you aren’t happy with just gives you processes you aren’t happy with just that they run faster/cost less/etc. .

    For example…

    Where are you major cost drivers in your business and what drives them? If any are driven by inefficiencies, communication, etc. you can look at tools for that.

    Where do you spend the money on people expenses not directly related to generating revenue or building product? Can you find tools that help automate that work? Note: This doesn’t necessarily mean you make people redundant but you may find you can do more volume and not add non-sales and/or product resources as you grow.

    Where do your sales people spend their time? Of those activities what are not related to actual selling and closing deals? Can any of that be eliminated or automated?

    You can ask a lot of questions about your business and find opportunities to either automate, eliminate, or control costs with online tools or better yet just stop doing things that don’t contribute to sales, customer success, making your team better, or building product.



    In addition to the valuable comments above, I’d add – start from your customer and work backwards. Working out what is most likely to enhance your value proposition either by extension or innovation of your current product or service (or fixing known pain points), or what is likely to jump start reach into a new market and drive new customer acquisition and retention will help you prioritise your investment choices and develop your digital offering in a more holistic way in terms of a return on that investment.


    Hi there, you’ve got some great answers here! I would just add that you could consider this wonderful new online series of short digital lessons, from Tech Futures Lab. It’s almost a ‘fast tour’ through some of the new technologies out there.
    If you want to get a digital agency to help you with customer activation and online selling, I can recommend Disruptive Unicorns also.
    All the best!

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