Current technology trends are important for all organizations. Most midsized companies have these technologies at the top of their lists: Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, and Security. And each year many midsized organizations dedicate more budget for technology as a strategic investment, as Deloitte noted in a recent study:
Midsized organizations gain competitive advantage not just from the technology itself but through the use of third party services that help organizations do more with technology purchases and their current organizational structures. Often services firms help these companies understand faster and implement better the technologies that can set midmarket companies apart from their competitors.
Obstacles to Taking Full Advantage of Technology
Of course, midsized organizations have challenges that block the way to fully capitalizing on new technologies. The predominant obstacle comes from a lack of the right IT people with the right skills, since many midsized organizations have constrained IT resources. Technology vendors that want to successfully sell to midmarket companies have to ensure that their solutions require as few IT resources as possible, to get up and running. For this reason midsized organizations are turning more and more to cloud / SaaS services.
Unfortunately technology vendors themselves add obstacles that make it difficult for midsized companies to connect to the right technologies. All too often these vendors and their sales and products teams repeatedly fail to:
- Explore the goals and needs of each customer organization
- Understand the industry and the specific business of a midsized company
- Make sure discussions are realistic for the midmarket
- Clarify overall business impact both for outcomes and for organizational situations
- Connect products and services offered to what they will accomplish for a midsized company
The midmarket is not one big blob of companies, but is comprised of multiple diverse tiers from the high end to the low end. Technology vendors must fully understand the customer perspective for each tier when developing products, and then for how they market and sell them -- if they want to acquire and retain midsized companies. To further attract and keep midmarket customers, vendors should be easy to work with, technology solutions should provide excellent usability and value, and pricing should be realistic for midsized organizations.
Source: Julie Hunt Consulting
Why the Right Technology Investments Matter
Midsized organizations have to put serious thought into their technology purchases and are best served by developing strategies around how these purchases and their subsequent use will help improve the performance of the company. Strategies should also focus on how budget cycles are handled. With constant and rapid changes in technology, midsized companies can't operate solely on an annual basis. Budget cycles are more functional on a semi-annual or quarterly basis, to keep pace with continuous business changes and market volatility.
Successful midsized organizations usually focus investments on the technologies and practices that most benefit their customers – larger enterprises could learn a lot from these organizations.
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective