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: Updated industry digital plans will offer more integrated digital solutions for SMEs

SINGAPORE'S 20 refreshed industry digital plans (IDP) will include a new roadmap on cybersecurity and data protection measures, on top of more integrated and advanced solutions to deepen the digital capabilities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a post-Covid world.

These updates were announced at the launch of the refreshed Food Services IDP on Monday (Nov 21), the first among 20 sector-specific IDPs to be refreshed. The Food Services IDP is jointly developed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore.

"It's a misperception that only big companies need to think about cybersecurity and personal data protection ... we understand that SMEs may find it difficult to understand the landscape, threats, choose the right solutions, and implement those solutions in (their) organisations," said Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Tan Kiat How.

He was speaking at the launch of the refreshed Food Services IDP, held at local cafe chain Heavenly Wang at Changi Airport Terminal 2. Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling was also present.

The refreshed Food Services IDP is aligned with the Food Services Industry Transformation Map 2025, which was rolled out earlier in May. It will focus on assisting food and beverage (F&B) SMEs to overcome rising labour costs and a tight labour market, as well as address trends such as consumer behaviour shifts towards digital ordering, e-commerce and food delivery.

To support F&B SMEs in tapping more advanced solutions, four new solution categories unique to the food services sector were added: connected business suite; service robotics; food waste management; and smart central kitchen management system.

Noting the "pressing" labour crunch that the food services sector is currently facing, Tan said: "Using technology solves many of the pain points and frees up our employees, especially the older ones, to focus on key tasks and customers," he said. For instance, Heavenly Wang at Changi Airport Terminal 2 has installed service robots to deliver ingredients from its central kitchen to its service counters.

The food services industry contributed S$4 billion to Singapore's economy and employed about 220,300 workers in 2021, according to the Department of Statistics.

Aligned with the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) for each sector, the IDPs covering 20 sectors provide SMEs with a step-by-step guide to identify suitable digital solutions and corresponding training programmes to equip employees with the right skill sets at each stage of their digitalisation journeys.

Under the updated IDPs, digital solutions will be refreshed to ensure that foundational sector-specific solutions for SMEs will remain relevant and impactful, IMDA said. For example, generic solutions for management of documentation processes and human resources and payroll-related matters will be expanded to include more easy-to-deploy digital solutions for new SMEs.

Second, there will be more integrated and advanced solutions to allow enterprises to connect with others more easily across value chains and to facilitate the use of data analytics to guide business decisions. Curated advanced sector-specific solutions will also be introduced, such as smart central kitchen management systems for the food services sector.

Third, the new roadmap on cybersecurity and data protection will help SMEs identify appropriate tools and practices that they can adopt at different stages of their digital growth. This will enable them to safeguard their systems and operations from cyberattacks and protect their customers' personal data.

Lastly, the corresponding digital training roadmaps under the IDPs will be updated to align with the refreshed digital solutions, on top of including change management. This will allow companies to tailor their training programmes according to their employees' needs and ensure that they are able to adapt and confidently use these technologies.

Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.