The influence of digital transformation on the growth of small and medium enterprises in South Africa

  • Received April 26, 2022;
    Accepted August 12, 2022;
    Published September 9, 2022
  • Author(s)
  • DOI
  • Article Info
    Volume 20 2022, Issue #3, pp. 297-309
  • Cited by
    4 articles

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

From a global perspective, the business environment has become highly dynamic, unpredictable, and competitive due to external forces – mostly technology – that generate change. The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of digital technologies on South African business sectors. The sample includes small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the KwaZulu-Natal province. Being qualitative by design, the study used semi-structured interviews for data collection, with eight interviews in the Durban area. SME managers were purposefully selected as participants based on their management positions in the business/company and that they oversee the business operation and understand the influence of digital transformation in the business. The interviews were then transcribed after data collection to determine any recurring themes. In the effectiveness of digital transformation, the study identified themes such as “gaining exposure” and “gaining effective sales figures” as a result of implementing digital transformation, which was indicated by six of eight participants. The findings showed that digital transformation significantly affects building customer relationships and ensuring easy accessibility of the business. The results further indicate online selling and digital marketing as the leading digital platforms successfully implemented by most South African SMEs. Lastly, the study revealed digital maintenance and rapid changes in technology as challenging factors. Moreover, the study recommends that South African SMEs implement more available digital technologies to gain additional exposure.

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    • Figure 1. Interaction of the variables
    • Table 1. Definitions of digital transformation
    • Table 2. Linking of research objectives, questions, and findings
    • Table 3. Responses rate percentage on findings/themes
    • Conceptualization
      Sanele Jeza
    • Data curation
      Sanele Jeza
    • Formal Analysis
      Sanele Jeza
    • Investigation
      Sanele Jeza
    • Methodology
      Sanele Jeza
    • Project administration
      Sanele Jeza
    • Validation
      Sanele Jeza, Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya
    • Writing – original draft
      Sanele Jeza, Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya
    • Writing – review & editing
      Sanele Jeza, Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya
    • Funding acquisition
      Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya
    • Resources
      Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya
    • Supervision
      Lawrence Mpele Lekhanya