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Author's profile photo Terence Leung

New Budget Spells Good News for Hong Kong’s Smart City Goals

Big data analytics could offer thousands of SMEs a ticket to the top

There are plenty of interesting developments in the Hong Kong SAR Government’s latest 2019-2010 budget. But the most notable could be the billions being invested in IT-oriented infrastructure.

For example, the Financial Secretary has earmarked HK$5.5 billion for a new phase at Cyberport.  Along with new facilities such as offices, co-working spaces, conference venues and data service platforms, this will provide a pathway for young people to pursue a career in I&T.

The Government has also set aside even more money – HK$16 billion – to refurbish university campuses.  The FS hopes universities will give “due priority and consideration to I&T needs to ensure that their teaching and research facilities can meet the objective of nurturing I&T talent.”

I’m not too surprised.  It’s exactly the kind of thing Hong Kong needs to attract information technology talent and support the operation of increasingly IT-heavy enterprises.  Or, to put it another way, it’s the smart thing for a Government committed to satisfying Hong Kong’s Smart City ambitions to do.


Big data no longer just for big businesses

The new budget, and the Hong Kong Smart City Blueprint which was rolled out at the end of 2017, are good starting points.  They will certainly lay the foundations for Hong Kong’s biggest businesses to grow, but what about the legion of SMEs that are the lifeblood of the Hong Kong economy?

SMEs typically don’t have the size to influence direction.  However, they can avoid getting left behind by taking full advantage of the opportunities that smart cities offer.

One way is to leverage the full potential of big data analytics!

For example, smart cities use big data to deal with perennial urban problems, such as traffic congestion and air pollution.  That same wealth of information can also put an SME in a position to leverage in-depth knowledge of their local customer base.

In practice, that involves using precise, intensely local data to identify and target niche customer groups with tailored products and services.  Maximizing success rates and minimizing wasted effort might not mean much to an MNC, but it makes all the difference to an SME.


Bigger doesn’t always mean better 

Most large enterprises have already embraced the rise of data and analytics. Yet, despite an increasing use of software resources, many small businesses don’t seem to be reaping the same benefits. The question is why aren’t they taking full advantage of data-driven strategies?

It’s not all down to budget? The idea that only MNCs could afford analytics platforms isn’t true anymore.  Easy-to-implement, budget-friendly tools – such as SAP Analytics Cloud – are available for all sizes of business.

Small businesses should shake off any size stigma and recognize that their diminutive scale could actually be their most powerful selling point.  It positions them to enjoy the kind of speed-to-market advantages that bigger organizations can only dream of.  Add closer customer relationships and the ability to adapt quickly to customer feedback, and you’ve got a recipe for success that MNCs might envy.


No point in waiting

By leveraging the right kinds of technology, small businesses can capitalize on their agility to not only simplify how work gets done, but also fully transform the customer experience – especially when they see a growth opportunity on the horizon.

And, with new digital technologies intersecting and combining, and the Government investing billions more in Hong Kong’s IT infrastructure, it’s also the smart thing to do – no matter what size your business happens to be.

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