GIZ supports small and medium-sized enterprises: A digital road map as the key tool for planning digital solutions and successful market positioning

Small and medium-sized enterprises are frequently unable to afford a suspension of production and sales processes. However, in order to successfully implement a digital transformation, they must approach it in a strategic and well-planned manner. Business planning implies monitoring of business processes and operations, but also resources at the disposal of the company – human capacities, finances, production process, storage, production materials and distribution, as well as customer relations.

In order to support small and medium-sized enterprises in this process, GIZ organised another training in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska in the framework of the project ”Innovation and Digitalisation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina” that is funded by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The purpose of the training was to strengthen the capacities of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the provision of support to the development of the private sector  and small and medium-sized enterprises through innovation and digitalisation.

The training ”Business Planning – A Digital Road Map” was attended by nineteen participants from thirteen companies. They acquired additional know-how and exchanged experiences in the field of business planning as an important pre-requisite for the success of business strategies and successful positioning of companies in the market. The trainers were employees of the German company Luvent Consulting GmbH and experts in digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises with long-term experience in this field: Miodrag Kostić from Serbia, Kemal Kačapor from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Aleksandar Mastilović from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The experts prepared a high-quality training focused on group and individual work of the participants. Aleksandar Mastilović pointed out that the training was designed in such a manner that the participants went through ”all steps of drafting of a digital transformation strategy and an accompanying action plan – a digital road map and that once they all went back to their companies, they would immediately be able to apply the acquired know-how and be initiators and champions of such an idea in organisations they belong to, as well as that the selection of priorities, clear leadership and allocation of digital transformation resources were crucial for the success of this process”.

He also pointed out that the representatives of the companies were interested in the benefits of this process:   

”Everyone is aware that digitalisation and digital transformation are necessary in order to respond to market trends, but only few of them know how to initiate such a process. In addition to this, there is understandably skepticism regarding the achievability of such benefits, before time and money are invested in the process. I am therefore convinced that the training participants took away a clear vision of projects that might be achieved in their companies in the shortest possible time. This would enable them to invest minimum time and money and achieve significant improvements through a digital transformation of part of their business operations. In addition to this, it would also be an additional motivation to continue the process and achieve an incremental increase in improvements and business performance over the coming period”, Mastilović concluded.

Krunoslav Rašić, GIZ Advisor for Innovation and Digitalisation in SMEs, pointed out that the training enabled the participants to gain an insight in the planning of the implementation of digital solutions using the digital road map:

”This tool enabled the participants working in groups to define five issues, select the best digital solution for the issue, prioritise solutions and draft an action plan for the implementation of the chosen digital solutions. A digital transformation of companies, irrespective of their size, is unavoidable, and the project ”Innovation and Digitalisation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU4DigitalSME” is contributing to an easier understanding of the process by organising such events.”

Mastilović pointed out that entrepreneurs, but also partners such as chambers of commerce and digital innovation centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina were well aware of the importance of this topic. Olivera Radić from the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska emphasized that representatives of business companies were extremely interested in the training and that they stressed ”the need for additional trainings about the digitalisation and digital transformation.” Radić also underlined the successful cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska and GIZ of more than two decades:   

”We jointly implemented important projects providing support to the economy of Republika Srpska. The support included organisation of trainings, seminars and workshops that aim to improve the know-how and strengthen the competitiveness of the economy. Important support was provided regarding the presence of companies at international trade fairs and economic gatherings, and the importance of strengthening of technical and technological capacities of the economy, introduction of innovation and improvement of TVET in Republika Srpska should also be pointed out.”

Following a webinar on digitalisation and innovation for small and medium-sized enterprises,  a workshop on the application of digital technologies and a training on strategic planning and the digital map, GIZ is planning to continue providing trainings and supporting the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises through free trainings on digital transformation, that the participants can apply directly in their companies and work.

The next training entitled ”ERP and DMS System Implementation Strategy” will take place in Doboj. The registration link will be available on the official website of the project ”Innovation and Digitalisation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina/EU4DigitalSME”.


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