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Small and Medium Enterprises (SMSe) in India believe that the power of human interaction will continue to play a critical role in the coming decade, even as technology such as AI, robotics and quantum computing dramatically reshapes entire sectors and business models, according to a new HSBC report – Digital Horizons: How emerging tech will shape tomorrow’s business.

Business leaders identified financing, loan applications and cashflow management as the areas where human interaction will remain crucial, followed by having special needs and seeking customised financial advice for their company and managing privacy and security needs.

According to the report, which surveyed 2,900 business leaders across eight markets globally, including 304 from India, respondents plan to invest in their workforce to maximise the opportunities new technology will bring. In India, nearly 89% are looking at how emerging technologies can help advance employee skillsets, 89% are planning to re-train their workforce and 91% are investing in new talent in response to rapid advances in technology.

Ajay Sharma, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC India, said in a statement, “Technological advancements are poised to reshape business operations in the next decade, with emerging tools and increased automation becoming integral to the workforce. However, our Digital Horizons report emphasises that while technology will not eliminate the importance of human skillsets, to stay competitive, businesses will need to leverage technology to enhance team performance by adopting fresh perspectives, working methods and diverse perspectives.”

A new era of collaboration
Collaboration has been identified by the HSBC Digital Horizons report as fundamental to business success in the coming 10 years. The report highlights that bringing people with different skillsets (favoured by 51%) is the most important type of collaboration for driving growth, followed by using collaboration approaches like design thinking (48%) to develop high growth ideas.

A large majority agree that collaboration with other players in their sector (91%) and within their organisation (89%) will drive growth. But most business leaders also agree that collaboration outside their own sector (87%), and beyond national borders, through international partnerships and networks (89%), is key to success.

The research revealed four trends that will drive fundamental change and bring new opportunities for businesses through digitalisation over the next 10 years:

  1. Borderless Business – a new era championing a global outlook and networks where successful businesses adapt to embrace global talent, supply chains and relationships
  2. FLIT Organisations – the rise of organisations which focus on a flexible workforce, lean processes, innovative business models and tech-driven operations
  3. Inclusive Automation – a workplace where businesses focus on the positives and gains of AI and automation, enabling and upskilling talent to embrace this mindset
  4. Creative Edge – organisations that cultivate a culture that champions open-mindedness, independent thinking and innovation will gain the competitive edge in the market

Technology’s role in long-term success
Business leaders surveyed in India recognise that SMEs in India are well prepared for the emergence of new technologies and identified cybersecurity and cloud computing as key areas for investment that will create significant growth opportunities. The respondents recognised that technology is central to growing their businesses over the next decade, highlighting that improving customer service and experience (29%), keeping company’s technology up to date (29%); upgrading security protection (27%); and increasing revenue (26%) will be the most important areas where technology will play an important role.While business leaders acknowledged a lack of familiarity with some of technologies driving longer-term change – only 30% of businesses in India are very familiar with optical character recognition; quantum computing (33%), API Integration (34%) and Robotics (35%) – the majority (90%) feel confident in their ability to keep up with technology advancements over the next decade.

  • Published On Feb 21, 2024 at 08:00 PM IST

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