How Midsize Companies Can Spur Growth

Howard Baldwin

For a midsize company to become a large company requires walking a tightrope. It has to determine where to expand, and how to expand. It must attract new customers while still serving its current customers, and do so without necessarily having access to the same resources of staff and budget that larger companies have.

At the same time, depending on how fast they’ve grown into a midsize company, they may not have put in place the time-tested business processes that larger companies take for granted. Sometimes growth is a haphazard effort, and the entrepreneurial, get-it-done mindset must at some point give way to a mature outlook toward roles, responsibilities, and workflow.

Not long ago, productivity-enhancing technology was solely the purview of companies that could afford it. But in this day and age, midsize companies have some significant advantages: they have access to the same technology that bigger companies do, and they can use it to be nimbler because of their size.

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Take the various aspects of cloud computing. In the past, if a company needed access to extensive processing power, it had to install it themselves. Now they can rent it in the cloud, for as long or as short a time as they need it. No longer are processor-intensive projects the purview of those who can afford a supercomputer.

The same goes for applications. In the past, once a company determined it needed a particular application, it had to pay upfront for licensing and commit IT resources to having it installed within its own data center. That’s no longer true. Taking advantage of a plethora of SaaS-based applications, companies can be up and running within a matter of hours.

Cloud-based platforms are also helping midsize companies increase their productivity. As platform vendors pre-integrate their capabilities, they give smaller companies that much more of a head start when it comes to doing business.

Midsize companies gain operational advantages as well. Because many of these applications have workflows and business processes built in, the midsize company can quickly take advantage of either legally mandated or industry-standard best practices. Their IT departments can run more efficiently because they’re released from the minutiae of management, monitoring, and upgrading. Furthermore, because those IT departments aren’t beleaguered with infrastructure responsibilities, the company can scale much faster.

And even if a midsize company decides to build its own application, it still has more opportunities for coming up to speed faster than before. It can take advantage of open-source technology that gives it a head start at a low cost for licensing.

The cloud and open source may have turned the tables when it comes to who has the advantage. Midsize companies, by virtue of their size, may be able to make changes more quickly, and thus adapt faster to a changing competitive landscape. Larger companies may be more lethargic when it comes to change.

In fact, these new technologies, by virtue of their flexibility, create a new zeitgeist that benefits smaller, more-agile companies. Though they may not own the application, they do own the data, and thanks to the proliferation of industry-standard APIs and other tools, it’s easier than ever before to move data from one application to another. That means midsize companies can figure out what works – and what doesn’t – and either capitalize on it or move on.

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This article originally appeared on CIO.com.


Howard Baldwin

About Howard Baldwin

Howard Baldwin has been writing about technology since OS/2 was released