The ongoing initiative of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) dubbed ‘Digital Transformation of SMEs’ is playing a key role in helping Qatar’s small and medium-sized enterprises maximise technology to boost this sector, according to an industry expert.
“The MoTC’s programme to train the SMEs of Qatar and make them ready for the digital forefront is a great initiative, which is thoroughly thought and planned,” Harish Nair told Gulf Times Tuesday.
Nair, who was among the resource persons for the MoTC’s ‘Digital Transformation of SMEs’ programme, said the ministry is creating the required infrastructure for SMEs, and is also providing these businesses with the training and the financial help that they would require for the transition.
“Apart from that, they are also helping the SMEs to get connected with the right service providers and provide exclusive content and events that are designed to educate the businesses. So, all in all, the programme is really helpful to SMEs and they can benefit a lot from this initiative,” said Nair, who is a partner with Excelledia Quality Consulting.
Nair pointed out that Qatari consumers and industries have captured “14.9% of Qatar’s digital potential,” while the contribution of digitalisation to its GDP “is 0.4% only.”
“But it is an initiative that is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as the world. The Middle East as a whole is one of the biggest initiators of digital transformation, and already 41% of industries have initiated investments in digital transformation,” he said.
Nair stressed that SMEs in Qatar need to take advantage of getting online presence considering that “the potential of the market is huge.”
“While the future is promising, it seems that the region needs a significant increase in the ICT investment and patent applications to build the infrastructure required for development of Qatar as a digital frontier,” Nair stated.
According to Nair, SMEs need to work double time in utilising the digital space because “they still have a lot of ground to cover.”
“The Qatari market is evolving from the oil business and among its biggest diversion is towards telecommunications. Also, on the customer end, the penetration of technology is immense. The Middle East as a whole is rated second in the whole world for utilising the social media platforms and the smartphone,” Nair explained.
Nair emphasised that SMEs must maximise the use of infrastructure: “But based on consumer behaviour towards the digital platform, there is a huge possibility that the 90% of SMEs that are still making decisions will incline their efforts towards the digital space.”
Asked about the rollout of state-of-the-art services, particularly for 5G technology in Qatar and its role in the growth of Qatar’s SME ecosystem, Nair said SMEs should expedite the transit towards digital platforms “in order to bring drastic changes” in the sector.
“But the infrastructure will play a pivotal role in the longer run as it is an establishment that will empower the businesses to grow digitally,” Nair stressed.