In the third part of the Fightback Series, the focus is on the increased role of technology in SME’s post COVID19 and how the right tech strategy is vital for SMEs’ future success.
The key to future success lies in building a truly modern, agile business.
It requires a combination of a modern business structure with the right technology.
For further information on the rest of the Fightback Series please see https://akarigo.com/covid19-thefightbackseries-akarigo/
The SME Conundrum
COVID19’s impact on remote working and virtual communication has placed technology into the spotlight. At the same time, the economic outlook and cash-flow constraints have created a massive conundrum for many SMEs. To what extent do they respond through short-term solutions rather than taking the right strategic stance for their future success.
As at every key junction in the SME journey, the stakes are significant. This time around, the tech decision is massive. Given advances in business technologies over recent years, no decision should be made without first a comprehensive strategic review.
Here, we discuss the key areas that need to be considered and incorporated into any modern technology platform if the business is to compete in the decade ahead.
To sign up to the Fightback series please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Truly Flexible working
In the past, process within many SMEs has been managed tightly from the centre.
Post COVID19, process needs to be managed remotely and orchestrated from the centre. Your people and your customers are going to expect it and be attracted to businesses that provide it.
In this more agile environment, the flow of data back becomes critical. It gives leadership the visibility that they need, staff the information to make fast and informed decisions and the customers a pleasurable experience of doing business with you.
We see many SMEs struggling with process, technology and data. To date, they have survived but going forward they will rapidly lose competitive advantage and, with it, their best young people and key customers.
The role of technology
Today, there is no valid reason why SMEs should still struggle with process because modern technology is now much more user-friendly.
Fundamentally, technology has three key functions:
- to make processes more efficient and consistent
- to provide better, clearer communication, and
- to help people make better, more informed decisions.
To be effective, technology needs to be readily embraced by the people using it and enable the right data to flow back into the leadership. This means both the technology and the underlying processes must be designed well so that they are ultra user-friendly and give clear benefit to the user.
Process & Technology
Good process motivates people, makes them more productive and builds their confidence in the business. In turn, this strengthens the business culture.
Process has been transformed by modern technology. By enabling data to be collected seamlessly, it has eliminated the chore of process.
In a truly agile business, teams and individuals are required to take on more responsibility and, thereby, make more decisions. Business Intelligence (“BI”) software automatically processes the data they need and enables everyone in the business to convert that data into knowledge and use it to make better, more informed decisions.
This is a huge factor in improving productivity and providing customers with a better, more bespoke service.
BI technology – it’s now a “must”
BI is no longer the domain of large enterprises. Today, it is affordable and easy to use. It always makes a dramatic impact by empowering the business and everyone in it.
- Read more about BI and the six key goals it helps SMEs to achieve
In 3-5 years time, every business will have BI. The best businesses will incorporate it now and thrive through the competitive advantage it brings.
Communication & Technology
There are three principal forms of business communication: internal, external and in your marketing activity. In the last decade, they have all been transformed by technology. Today, SMEs need their technology platform to incorporate and co-ordinate them all.
Modern technology enables the right hand to know what the left hand is doing and to measure performance across all activities of the business whether they are working on location or remotely. The better the technology, the easier it is to manage the business and the less frustration within it.
Technology also enables you to build a 360 degree view of the customer and your suppliers and to better understand their needs and preferences and when they need your communication.
Thirdly – and less often discussed – modern marketing technology has transformed the productivity of the sales team. Used well, it saves huge resources by connecting the sales person with the prospect at the right time and armed with the right information.
The era of COVID19 inspired virtual communication has further enhanced sales productivity. Face to face meetings remain important but the first couple of meetings and many client service meetings can be achieved by virtual communication: customers are used to it and indeed welcome them as it saves them time.
In the next few years, business meetings are going to evolve in a similar way as the classic business lunch. We’re all going to learn how to build working relationships without face to face meetings.
The impact of technology on the way people use it to find information and communicate has been so fundamental that, for many SMEs, the relationship between their marketing and sales teams needs to be reviewed and revamped.
The crucial, strategic decision
It is crucial for future business success that technology is user-friendly and empowering. For many SMEs that means their platform needs to be consolidated and simplified. The shift in technology has been so swift over the last decade that before any change, businesses should carry out a thorough strategic review.
There is no better time to do this than in the downturn as your people have the time to learn how to best use the technology, hone their skills and build confidence in both the platform and the business itself.
We have seen many examples where frustration of the technology results in businesses losing their best talent and key customers. In these situations, the leadership is often in denial of the extent their ageing, complex technology platform was the problem. Going forward, such denial will be catastrophic for the business’ performance.
Akarigo – a trusted adviser
At Akarigo and through our Global Solutions Group we can provide objective independent, across the market, strategic advice and practical solutions for SMEs.
We have expertise in a range of technology platforms and will tailor the one we think will best help you build your vision for your business
The Fightback: a four part series
Our aim in the Fightback is to inform and inspire SMEs into action.
In our four part series we discuss what an agile business looks like and four fundamental elements needed to achieve it.
To receive the series please email us at email@example.com or
We have teamed up with BOS for the Fightback Series because of our shared beliefs and philosophy.
- We both want to help SMEs succeed.
- We both believe that today, business success comes from gaining the synergy of purpose, people and process.
- The right technology drives good process improves communication and empowers people.
Today, in every area of business, the right technology is crucial.
But, also, technology works best for SMEs that have the right, modern organisation and processes.
The Fightback – a four part series
1.People & Culture
Structure organises people, strengthens their focus and builds a positive, winning culture. An agile business is dependent on having a strong culture.
2.Process & Data
Always, process is the #1 secret to business success. People love good process.But, for process to work you need people to have ready access to data.
3.Process & technology
Post COVID19, having the right technology is crucial.
It makes the collection of data seamless and helps make process fun and easy.
4. A customer centric business
Being truly customer centric creates a winning advantage.It requires your sales and marketing functions to work within a modern structure.