Prioritization Of Long-Term Capabilities: A Critical Growth Imperative For Midmarket Players

Mario Farag

Part 2 of the “6 Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” series

Rapid advances in technology are changing every aspect of midsize businesses, from the way they run operations and engage customers to the delivery of profitable, revenue-generating products and services. But those that are successful are the ones focused on driving long-term effectiveness of their digital capabilities, not leaping into short-term fixes.

According to the IDC infobrief “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” midsize companies – regardless of market performance – consider technology as a critical part of their long-term success. In fact, participants indicated plans for adding predictive analytics, ERP, cloud services, e-commerce, collaboration, and talent management software within the year.

Clearly, midsize companies are generally more open to digitalization than they may have been a few years ago. But as the diversity of accessible and affordable technology continues to expand, they need to adopt and use emerging technologies in a way that supports future success.

Top five questions to find the right path to digital maturity

The key to creating a foundation of growth that allows midsize companies to digitally mature with agility and certainty requires considerable thought around five fundamental questions:

1. What are the actual business need, expected outcome, and related opportunity?

Knowing whether the business challenge is company-wide or isolated within a specific process helps decision-makers determine whether an integrated solution or point solution is the best choice. But this is not where the conversation should end. Instead, they also need to evaluate whether the information captured by the new investment can be used to enhance other business areas, then integrate systems seamlessly as needed.

2. Do we understand customer needs and meet them in a timely, appropriate manner?

By now, most midsize companies acknowledge that access to insights and analytics simplifies the ability to make instant, well-informed decisions. However, many have yet to link together every part of their business – from finance and human resources to sales, customer service, supply chain, and more.

Decision-makers should assess whether seamlessly connecting these systems to a centralized core of intelligence delivers the insight to reach out and engage customers in ways that build brand recognition and long-term revenue generation.

3. Is every area of the business and its related processes aligned?

When business functions are not working in parallel toward the same goal, it is nearly impossible to set an appropriate strategic direction and strategy and achieve the ultimate vision. And this is especially the case as the company grows in workforce numbers, offices, and geographic coverage. When businesses begin to show signs of disconnection and misalignment, it is essential to establish a platform from which functional units can freely collaborate with each other, experiment with new ways of work, and advance conventional thinking.

4. Can new and existing digital capabilities scale with growth and changing needs without disruption?

The more midsize businesses grow, the more things change. In return, companies need to create a flexible IT architecture that can adapt to changing business models, new regulations such as mandates for data management and privacy, and the implementation of embedded technology including predictive analytics.

5. Is the technology vendor reliable and trusted?

Midsize businesses work closely with technology vendors to launch new digital capabilities, solve challenges, and empower IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives. However, they should continuously assess whether the partnership is reliable and trusted as their responsibilities increase and budgets tighten. In the best case, the company will flourish by forming a long-term relationship based on mutual trust, understanding, expertise, and innovation.

Pragmatic digital maturity accentuates innovation and growth

Without a doubt, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made to keep up with the relentless pace of change. Business leaders should evaluate whether they’re adopting the right digital strategies, choosing the right technology, and achieving the right outcome with those implementations. And further exacerbating these considerations is the fragile state of their cybersecurity capabilities.

While these concerns are enough to keep business leaders up at night, comprehensive digital strategies need to go beyond choosing technology to help the company profit from the possibilities promised by the latest technology. What should be taken into account is the implementation’s impact and the importance of change management across human talent, organizational processes, strategic partnerships, and business assets.

Get a real-world view of how your attitude and mindset toward digitalization can turn your company into a best-run business. We invite you to bookmark our series landing page “Six Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” and check it for new insights and best practices.

In the meantime, read the related IDC infobrief, “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” sponsored by SAP, to discover the opportunities ahead for best-run midsize businesses.

This blog originally appeared on SAP Analytics.

Mario Farag

About Mario Farag

Mario Farag is senior director of analytics marketing with SAP. With over 15 years of experience in the software industry, Mario has served in various functions from business operations to product management and go-to-market strategies. Currently, Mario is responsible for SAP’s analytics strategy for small and midsize businesses as well as channel partners.