Digital development is one of the fastest returning corporate investments

Digitization cannot be postponed any longer, and those who do not step in will suffer a significant disadvantage. The good news is that businesses can get a lot of help on how and what they need to change to gain a competitive edge - at least according to Levente Czimbalmos, the professional manager of the Modern Entrepreneurship Program project of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who was interviewed by the Hungarian economy and business portal porfolio.hu about the digitization opportunities of Hungarian SMEs.

Hungarians are among the first in the EU regarding the use of social media and personalized apps, yet we still lag with digital solutions in business - Czimbalmos explained, responding to the question of where the Hungarian SME sector stands with digitization.

Currently, less than one in ten companies in Hungary use an electronic customer relationship system, while one in five companies in the EU already uses CRM, the only way to stay in high-quality contact with customers and potential clients. We also face a serious disadvantage regarding the corporate governance systems that support internal processes. At the same time, basic office applications, mobility, and internet device quality are among the strengths of Hungarian businesses.

Czimbalmos stresses the importance of finding an external consultant to help businesses renew their digital tools. The Modern Entrepreneurship Program could be of great help since its main goal is to shape the attitudes of enterprises towards digital technologies with an extensive network of consultants, events, and content.

The Program offers free services to encourage Hungarian companies to introduce digital devices with, however, it also has an exclusive role in the regulation of EU funds to be spent on such development.

During a free audit, a consultant will help to assess the digital maturity of a business and then makes a development proposal for them as required. They provide an overview of the company’s current IT status, examine what needs to be developed and then help to select quality software, services, and even an accredited supplier within the framework of the Program.

According to Czimbalmos, companies often associate software with complex systems and extreme prices, yet in most cases, these products are not expensive or overly complicated. However, the proposed solutions and tools can now be obtained from EU funds, which can certainly have an incentive effect on businesses.

In even better news for Hungarian SMEs, applications are now open for the new GINOP PLUS 1.2.1.-21. tender, with several special conditions that are worth paying attention to have a successful application. The consultants of the Program can assist in compiling the parts regarding digitization. This is because the consultants take a significant part of the survey and planning off the applicant's shoulders during the free audit. The development concept created at the end of the process also contains proposals that can be transferred to the grant application.

Packaged cloud-based and installed software can be included in the construction, as well as IT tools. A total of 14 functional areas can be considered, such as online marketing, finance, records management, controlling, telecommuting and teamwork support, production management, or the CRM mentioned above. The planned budget is HUF 200 billion, for which micro, small and medium-sized enterprises can apply in three stages between 12 July 2021 and 17 January 2022.