Technology is no longer simply back office automation or work productivity tools addressing the day to day of the business. Technology has become a core pillar for company strategies, as well as for change and success. The biggest transformation any midsized company can make to become a business that sustains growth over time is to strategically and proactively use technology to achieve the goals of the business. Such a transformation through technology often takes midsized companies into new markets and new ways of doing business. The strategic positioning of technology leads to strengthening the organization, improving competitive edge and opening new doors for growth and opportunity.
In parallel to technology considerations, the single most important success factor for most companies is The Customer. These days all activities related to the customer must be ramped up and more responsive to customer needs and desires. Companies must change how they function to better serve customers. Proactive use of technology in many areas is essential to ensure top notch customer experiences and interactions at any time and place.
Midsized companies that make the customer a core focus will achieve better outcomes. When deciding on how to best leverage technology, companies should use customer strategies to drive and define technology strategies. When companies combine technologies with effective practices and processes around meeting customer needs on every level, competitive edge and revenue growth usually follow as natural outcomes.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) completed a global study focused on midsized and smaller companies to assess the impact of technology on business performance and growth:
Adopting technology in an intelligent way is critical to the future business success of many SMEs. More than 90 percent of leaders said that IT is important to their business's future, and almost two-thirds said that new technologies will lead to higher revenues and profits or more jobs at their company.
The study presents clear evidence that midsized and smaller businesses with higher rates of technology adoption grow faster and create more jobs than their counterparts that maintain low levels of technology adoption. Looking at U.S. SMB companies, BCG projected that if 15 percent of technology 'laggards' and 30 percent of technology 'followers' evolved into high technology adoption companies, the result would be the addition of more than two million jobs and an additional $360 billion flowing into the U.S. economy.
Midsized companies that want to be top competitors should evaluate all functional and operational areas that help the company shine as a customer-responsive organization to see how improvements can be made with the right technologies:
- Marketing and business interactions through mobile devices and digital channels
- Customer service and support
- eCommerce and payment services
- Gaining insight from data analytics for everything Customer
- CRM and Marketing Automation platforms
- Customer onboarding and education channels
- Deployment of Cloud / SaaS solutions for enterprise capabilities that keep up with customer and market trends
The goal should always be to wow customers. There are many robust technologies that can help midsized companies do that every day, in every interaction and channel. Companies that are "tech savvy" quickly show how they are "customer savvy".
Image Source: Sabre Travel Network
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