IoT as a Competitive Advantage for Swiss SMEs
SMEs in Switzerland and their Status of digitalisation
Over 99% of Swiss corporations are SMEs. SMEs dominate the Swiss corporate landscape and employ about two thirds of the qualified workforce. In particular, digital competences are crucial to the economy nowadays, since they guarantee an innovative future in order to increase job opportunities in diverse sectors within the SME ecosystem. Thus, digitisation is not allowed to be underestimated by the management and on the top of the business strategy for board members and C-Level executives. Swiss SMEs should embrace the possibilities given by digitalisation and move courageously forward, as managing digital transformation will decide which businesses will survive and which not.
As shown in the recent study of PwC, Google and digitalswitzerland , Swiss SMEs focus their digitisation efforts mainly on internal processes and Website/E-Commerce solutions. However, the real value of digitalisation is in customer interaction that is an important factor changing business models.
Focus on customer loyalty
Nowadays, consumers tend to make rational choices based on the available online information and for this and other reasons the digital world has thrown SMEs into a new competitive game with new challenges.This does not only include potential fields like online appearance and sales channels, there is also an increasing potential in after-sales services, predictive maintenance, and life cycle management.
SMEs have to change culture from focussing only in sales and invest in customers loyalty as costs of existing customer retention are significantly lower than a new acquisition. The well informed customer demands to be valued in order to loyally return.
Getting new customer insights with IoT
SMEs are now able to get an even better insight by using the data collected from IoT devices. Sensors integrated into the sold products transmit information into the company's CRM tool allowing the SME to create the valued longtime relationship with its customer.
In order to illustrate the importance of CRM tools, imagine the situation where the circulation pump of a heating system needs to be changed. Due to its IoT Data, the service company already knows that the heating system is in need for maintenance. Previously, the service company might already have used a CRM and was notified regularly to get into touch with one of the customers to schedule a date for the regular maintenance visit.
Now, with the help of IoT, the data collected directly from the system gives the company a real and timely reason to call and shows the customer that the company is looking out for them. This actually creates a high customer value and can be a real competitive advantage in CRM Tools. The SMEs that can create this customer value now, build a strategic advantage that leaves their counterparts wondering what happened.
Hivemind supports Swiss SMEs on their path to digitalisation. Its IoT-Platform enables SMEs easy integration of IoT data sources into CRM solutions such as Salesforce making the example described above to become reality.
 Digitalisierung – wo stehen Schweizer KMU?, 2016 PwC Schweiz, Google Switzerland GmbH und digitalswitzerland.
 The_digitisation_of_everything, EY
 Chris Teague „CRM and the Internet of Things“ toolbox.com June 2017