The Role Digital Transformation plays in Differentiating the Mid-Market Businesses
Organisations that invest in technology to help business differentiation will be in a better competitive position compared to their rivals due to the significant benefits of digital transformation. By beginning a transition into digital processing, working, and communication, mid-market firms can enhance their business capabilities and operations significantly.
This is not a new or innovative revelation. In fact, many IT leaders have probably heard the discussion surrounding the phrase ‘digital transformation’ for many years, and have been inclined to follow. In the 17/18 financial year, Mills & Reeve predicted mid-market businesses planned to increase their turnover by an average of 22%, marking a positive outlook for growth within the sector despite the current forecast of uncertainty in the UK. This outlook for growth has provided a platform for the midsize business sector to accelerate themselves digitally, as a way of delivering business differentiation from their larger competitors.
Midmarket businesses are realising that the benefits of digital transformation are not out of their reach and are that they need to maintain their own transformation narrative in order to keep up with their competitors. The benefits of increased productivity, enhanced efficiency, streamlined operations, relief of burdensome tasks from internal staff, and much more are difficult for IT leaders to ignore, especially when larger corporations are always pushing to offer more to their customers.
Business Differentiation: Taking a Step-up Over Your Competitors
The rewards of a digital and IT transformation initiative within a business are almost endless- if executed in the right way. In the retail sector, many businesses are urgently trying to compete with giants such as Amazon, as not to be lost under the convenience of instant online shopping and quick deals. It is digital transformation initiatives that will provide the boost that these midsize businesses need in order to remain competitive. Technology can enable businesses to reduce their operational costs with automation and AI, facilitate new ways of interacting and serving their shoppers and create new lines of contact with their customers- as well as new lines of business. Through this, the commonly discussed benefits of efficiency, productivity, and streamlined operations are felt off the back of it, giving the business the room to grow.
However, these targets are not possible unless the business has a strategy in place to achieve a successful digital transformation. Businesses must incorporate their digital transformation targets in with their KPI’s, and translate the data/analytics from their technology data points into worthwhile KPI’s. At the end of the day, midsize businesses either want to grow or maintain a steady momentum by developing digitally, so why not use the technology and data available to establish accurate targets that are more likely to harvest results.
Why the mid-market is underserved
Technology has the power to give midmarket companies the advantage over their larger rivals, as concerns for cybersecurity, lack of IT business-alignment, and technology budget can be more readily addressed – than in the cumbersome world of the enterprise.
Research completed by Deloitte suggests that U.S. companies are already predicted to be turning to productivity-enhancing technologies to give their business the upper hand, with the deployment of machine intelligence, analytics, and the cloud mentioned as many of the key game changers. So why aren’t more providers jumping to focus on giving the mid-market an exceptional level of service, expertise, and responsiveness in retaliation to this incline in digital transformation interest?
Often it can be interpreted that large enterprises are better equipped to have a successful digital transformation. Bigger budgets matched with expensive strategies give those organisations access to expensive teams and consultants fully capable of executing a transformation campaign across their entire infrastructure. This can be seen as intimidating, especially for mid-size organisations who may not have the IT budget to do the same. Despite this, for midsize business, the story of digital transformation may be more likely to end in success in comparison to their larger competitors. Due to their size, it is the mid-market who can scale their projects, pick individual targets for success, and complete a digital transition without breaking the bank.
While large sized organisations may overstretch their resources while tackling a huge scale digital transformation project, mid-size companies can develop bespoke strategies for their business, which are more likely to end in success as they have less urgency to complete in small time frames- with less disruption to their current infrastructure. Large projects are more likely to ultimately fail due to poor collaboration in large organisations, complex project management, and rigid legacy systems. Thus, providers should feel themselves in perfect positions to serve the mid-market, especially considering the increasing demand for digital transformation initiatives. For providers, this is a large differentiator in their ability to deliver a successful digital transformation and a bespoke designed strategy that can give any mid-size business a competitive advantage over the wider market. In retail stores, this means overcoming the battle with Amazon as digital transformation can allow retailers to offer more to their customers, expand their services, and curate a unique brand experience for themselves that leads to shoppers choosing them over large organisations.
4 Important Actions for overcoming the challenges of Digital Transformation
1. Acquire the technology solutions that are most appropriate to your business
This may be what sets a mid-size business apart from their larger competitors and establish a stronger strategy for success. Rather than up-hauling your entire infrastructure, create a strategy that focuses on the important solutions first, that will then lead to your digital transformation journey maturing later on. Investing in technology that allows you to pipeline your data, analyse data, and can simplify your operations are important first steps for the digital transformation journey.
2. Transformation takes time
Your business should recognise that digital transformation is an important process, which will define your business in the future as digital technology becomes more prominent in your industry. Thus, the process shouldn’t be ignored, nor should it be rushed either. It may be difficult to witness large organisations grabbing on to the technological revolution at a rapid rate, but ensuring you have a strategy and guidance from a trusted source will define whether your transition is successful in the end. Additionally, businesses should be willing to continually digitally transform, even after they have completed the objectives of their current digital transformation project. Technology isn’t stagnant, and it should be recognised that the opportunities for your business are growing year by year as technology advances.
3. Make sure to disperse the knowledge of digital transformation across your business
in order to avoid disjointed infrastructure. Digital transformation needs to be a priority across all departments in your business, not just the IT department. From the board, executives, HR, security, commercial, or other important staff members – the entirety of your company should be aware of and support the transformation process. If your business designates a knowledgeable advisor internally for the digital transformation, this may also make the process a whole lot smoother. One of the main reasons for lack of support of new technology is a lack of understanding, so your strategy needs to incorporate your staff into it.
Get the right advice from a partner
Get the right advice from a partner that is focused on your market sector. IT vendors focus on the enterprise and SMB and sometimes fail to understand the unique situations that midmarket businesses find themselves. Choose a partner carefully and ensure that they can give you relevant advice from real-world experience with other businesses from your sector, size and profile.