Thailand’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the most active in Southeast Asia when it comes to investing in technology to drive business performance, according to the results of the Asean SME Transformation Study by United Overseas Bank (UOB), EY and Dun & Bradstreet.
The study found that 73 per cent of Thai SMEs prioritised technology as their top investment over other investments such as factories and machinery.
In Asean, they were the most positive about the importance of technology, followed by Malaysia (65 per cent) and Singapore (63 per cent).
When choosing specific areas of technology investment, Thai SMEs’ top choice (82 per cent) was software and services such as mobile applications or digital marketing to increase customer loyalty and to meet customer needs better.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) hardware and network investments ranked second at 66 per cent and structured ICT training programmes for employees ranked third at 53 per cent.
Sayumrat Maranate, head of business banking at UOB Thailand, said: “The study shows that Thai SMEs recognise the important role that technology plays in improving their competitiveness and building sustainable businesses.
"This finding reinforces the government’s plans to create a digital economy and an e-commerce hub within the next few years.
“To do business more effectively, Thai SMEs need to adopt an innovative mindset and to embrace digital transformation. One way they can do so is to use enterprise technology solutions, which were available mainly to large corporates only but have now become widely available for SMEs in a cost-effective manner. Such solutions span areas from accounting and customer relationship management tools to data analytics and cybersecurity. With these solutions, SMEs can increase productivity, manage business costs, scale up operations and explore new revenue opportunities easily.”