In today’s ever changing world, there is one constant in business. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) remain the great incubators of new concepts and ideas, which can scale up and flourish into tomorrow’s fantastic innovations.

CGI is a huge supporter of small businesses the length and breadth of Scotland. While we work as primary providers of IT and business consulting services to Scotland’s largest local authorities in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Government, agencies and big business, CGI is all about building strong relationships with SMEs.

These relationships work for the small companies looking to access the skills and capabilities of a global business such as CGI, whose members provide an experienced hand in guiding fledgling firms. They also benefit global businesses, and their clients as they can maximise the benefits of SMEs’ products to transform their operations. It’s an ecosystem that provides healthy, sustainable growth on both sides.

Equally, time is money for SMEs and the opportunity to reap the rewards of the latest IT and business consulting experience is worth its weight in gold – here are just four of the many ways that SMEs can benefit from this type of relationship:

Cyber Security

Ensuring resilience against cyber-attacks is one of the most important challenges facing any SME. The recent geopolitical shift caused by the war in Ukraine, and the focus of cyber-hackers on disrupting businesses in countries across the world, means that having the appropriate security checks and balances in place are vital for everyone.

This is especially the case for smaller firms. CGI has more than 1,700 cyber security experts globally and one of the largest cyber security practices in the UK to help manage complex security challenges with a business-focused approach. This helps protect what is most valuable in the business ecosystem.

CGI offers the opportunity to learn about cyber security in a fun, interactive way through CGI’s Cyber Escape experience, where teams of people find clues through a Gamesmaster to successfully navigate the escape room-style challenge. The activity has a serious message – it’s imperative everyone knows how to practise safe cyber techniques and can continue honing their existing skills.

Advanced Analytics

Organisations face huge challenges as data complexity increases at a pace never seen before. Yet many SMEs find it very difficult to not only access, but also assess value from their data assets.

SMEs need advanced analytics experience which is underpinned by global industry expertise to help not only define and understand the business value of their data but to build the capability to handle the sheer volume and complexity of real-time data being generated today.

An example of the benefits comes from Finland. Insurer LocalTapiola wanted to gain a better understanding of its customers by analysing a vast store of available data. Using advanced analytics, machine learning and AI, CGI evaluated 350,000 customer relationships. As a result of their findings, LocalTapiola is now able to anticipate the actions of hundreds of thousands of customers and identify new target groups for marketing, as well as deliver a more personalized experience for individual customers.


More SMEs are discovering the growth and efficiency that agile ways of working can offer their business. Focused on delivering small incremental progress, as opposed to a traditional ‘big-bang’ delivery of work – agile approaches allow a businesses to deliver new products and services to their customers at a quicker pace and with fewer headaches on the way.

Due to the smaller size of SMEs, rather than having a larger hierarchical structure, building an agile culture is easier to implement. However, it requires good communication, and a buy-in to drive the necessary cultural change.

It also requires an experienced partner to provide the proper guidance and support to transition from assessment of readiness to successful delivery model. For example, CGI agile digital services understand what the obstacles are and have a proven track record of delivering results across any sector. In the business ecosystem, having an agile operational structure gives you vital tools to react immediately to sudden market changes.

Intelligent automation

Automation technologies may seem beyond the realm of some SMEs, but through a partner ecosystem, they are very much science fact, not fiction. SMEs can drive their own business success thanks to having the full spectrum of intelligent automation technologies at their fingertips. From robotic process automation to geospatial technologies (See Note to Editor below), the right collaboration can position ecosystem partners at the forefront of changes as they emerge, so they are ahead of the game and fully in touch with their customers’ needs.

Companies like CGI have some of the best AI out there. For instance, the CGI Machine Vision solution increases the availability and speed of real-time data analysis, whilst reducing costs, by enabling visual AI processing capabilities at the edge. It can be applied by clients to monitor, map, analyse and alert them to changes – such as remote monitoring of critical infrastructure, or monitoring of footfall to maintain any social distancing needed.

Lindsay McGranaghan, CGI Vice President and Business Unit Lead in Scotland, said: “SMEs provide much of the vital fabric that plays such a vital part in our daily lives. But they cannot do everything – there are not enough hours in the day. So it’s vital that big business steps in to provide an ‘ecosystem’ – especially with regards to technology – that allows such firms to not only survive but thrive.

“For SMEs, I believe companies like ours provide them with the collaboration and access to global technology that makes us all better connected, better informed as business people, and better able to meet the ever changing needs of our clients and customers.”