Gathering more than 100 participants, during the emergency, Vidzeme Planning Region has carried out a series of webinars on digital solutions for businesses, which can promote business development locally and abroad.
Entrepreneurs’ experience in implementing digital processes in businesses is different. For some, it is sales and communication with customers, for others – production and deliveries as well. Digital solutions provide not only the opportunity to work more efficiently, but also to reach customers and partners abroad. The restrictions imposed by the emergency affected businesses immediately because of changes in customer habits and service demand. Many entrepreneurs were forced to switch to digital solutions not to lose their customers’.
Therefore, the Vidzeme Planning Region in cooperation with the Latvian Information Technology (IT) Cluster – within GoSmart BSR project – during the last months organized a series of webinars, demonstrating how to evaluate business processes and solve specific digitization challenges, optimize daily work and improve sales.
“In our opinion, it is valuable to take opportunities and learn new digital tools, thus investing in future business growth. Considering different circumstances, the virtual environment will enter the business and everyday life more and more. Therefore, it is important to be one step ahead, regardless of the specifics of the business. First steps towards digitalisation lead closer to growth than remaining in place. The winner is the one who adapts to the situation faster and uses the available resources wisely,” emphasizes Ira Raciņa, representative of the Latvian IT Cluster.
Five seminars were held, focusing on business process analysis to understand what can be digitized, as well as on the development of a digital marketing strategy and specific tools for selling online. Entrepreneurs were introduced to document and process management tools. Great interest was on implementation of digitization processes in production. The focus was not just on digitization tools of production processes but also aspects essential to consider during digitization.
Participants also learned about artificial intelligence solutions to increase production efficiency, contactless sales tools, and virtual reality opportunities to promote cross-border cooperation. Great interest was on e-commerce opportunities for business development. Participants analysed their existing digital channels, some even successfully created an online store in social media already during the seminar. However, e-commerce tools are only part of a successful outcome.
Commenting on sales opportunities abroad, Ilona Platonova, innovation broker of the GoSmart BSR says that many platforms immediately allow attracting customers outside Latvia, such as eBay, Amazon. But to successfully introduce new products or services to the market, cooperation partners are also needed, or at least independent verification before. “Currently, when most of the exhibitions are cancelled and it is difficult to attract new customers, other ways to find cooperation partners are necessary. For example, entrepreneurs can benefit from the international innovation brokerage system of GoSmart BSR, which we also presented,” emphasizes I. Platonova.
Entrepreneurs concluded that the digitization possibilities are wide and if the company is aware of all business processes, the transition to digital solutions should not be highly complicated or very expensive. Usually, it is possible to find simple and available solutions or alternatives for every challenge.