Let’s get digital

Let’s get digital

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working Together | Contributors: Sara Ericsson | Published: January 14, 2021

Going digital is something many businesses have contended with since the initial COVID-19 outbreak period.

It’s been discussed at length how the pandemic disrupted and closed most businesses and, when they did reopen, made them pivot with new approaches and increased flexibility to ensure they reached their customer base. Shorter hours, customer capacities and limited sales meant new strategies needed to be adopted — and fast — to foster stability and growth.

This is how and why businesses that had yet to move online began thinking about it like never before. It’s also why the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, SimplyCast and Nova Scotia Business Inc. are offering support services to help Nova Scotia get digital.

“Keeping business in business and employees at work creates a complete economic cycle that keeps us going to these places,” says Saeed El-Darahali, SimplyCast’s President and CEO.

An all-in-one platform

El-Darahali says SimplyCast, located in Dartmouth, began crafting software to support businesses during a potential pandemic in 2017. The software company’s software solution to COVID-19 challenges is in the form of a digital check-in used by businesses that uploads a customer’s contact information to a private database, where it remains until it’s sent to public health if contact tracing occurs.

This program, along with its all-in-one engagement software that manages sales, marketing, communication and emergency services from a single platform, is currently being offered at no cost for Halifax Chamber of Commerce members to participate in and is something El-Darahali says everyone can benefit from.

“This software allows you to digitally engage with your customers, expand your customer base, enjoy cost savings and growth. It saves time, digitizes your process and ensures fewer in-person interactions other than the service itself. This could potentially protect a good number of people,” he says.

El-Darahali says digitization ensures businesses can continue to operate, while also guaranteeing better customer retention through the deployment of safe and secure procedures. This, he says, also helps the economy.

“This system gives me, the customer, trust in the fact that this business has taken all possible measures to protect me, which makes me, as a client, more comfortable than shopping somewhere that doesn’t have a digital check-in,” he says.

Saeed El-Darahali, SimplyCast’s President and CEO, says going digital with supports like his COVID-19-adapted software means businesses can not only succeed, but also gain the trust of their customers.

Digitization helps businesses and province grow

This program is among the many digital support services the Halifax Chamber of Commerce has identified and connected its members to, according to Kent Roberts, the Chamber’s Vice-President of Policy, who says SimplyCast has held discovery calls with more than 30 members since launching this program in September.

Roberts says Chamber members also have access to hundreds of webinars and can be connected to digital support programs offered by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) or the Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) Digital Adoption Program.

There are many supports that exist, all with the shared goal of bringing businesses onboard with the ever-expanding digital world.

“Businesses must build or improve their online presence to retain and create new sales opportunities and improve their resilience and flexibility to keep pace with the changing nature of business,” says Roberts.

With Nova Scotia currently ranked eighth among Canadian tech hubs, Roberts says things need to get digital — and fast — to ensure the growth of businesses, the economy and, with them, opportunities to attract new people and business to the province.

“Having a business community that is staying on top of today’s digital trends will ensure Nova Scotia’s economy gets back to a growth position quicker and stays there longer,” he says.

Kent Roberts, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s Vice-President of Policy, says businesses should take advantage of digital programs like SimplyCast’s all-in-one digital software platform.

The way of the future

Laurel Broten, the NSBI’s President and CEO, says the economic development crown corporation’s aim is to help Nova Scotia’s economy grow through helping its businesses succeed globally.

The switch she’s witnessed this past year from in-person to virtual trade missions has underscored the value of digital. She says now is the time every business should be looking at expanding its digital offerings.

Broten says Nova Scotia businesses can take advantage of the NSBI’s Digital Adoption Program, which is designed to support them in rapidly adopting digital tools and innovations to support their overall market competitiveness as they recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are very strong efficiencies associated with digital trade missions, e-commerce, that no matter what the future holds, will stay in place. So, it’s important for our companies to establish a strong digital foundation to build their future success on,” says Broten.

She says nothing should stop a business from reaching out for help, as the mission of organizations like the NSBI is to work toward businesses’ success.

“Businesses have a partner in the NSBI. We want them to achieve success for their benefit and for that of Nova Scotia as well,” says Broten.

Laurel Broten, the NSBI’s President and CEO, says the success of small businesses in Nova Scotia also spells success for the province’s economy and that going digital plays a key role.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working Together

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