The Power Of Attitude In Growing Midsize Businesses

Meaghan Sullivan

Part 1 of the “6 Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” series

Every leader has a unique perspective when it comes to the secret to business success in today’s highly digitalized marketplace. Some say it’s a matter of visionary digital investments or a combination of perspiration and inspiration. Meanwhile, others claim a sense of purpose as a key driver. But according to the IDC infobrief “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” certain attitudes are associated with higher performance.

Based on insight from 1,957 executives leading midsize companies (100–1,000 employees), IDC identified the fundamentals behind business success and progress toward becoming best-run, digitally engaged organizations. Respondents were located in 13 countries across North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, spanning a broad mix of industries.

The respondents were grouped into four categories based on their performance against business success metrics: growth in revenue and sales, profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity.

What it takes to operate a best-run midsize business

The IDC defined best-run midsize companies as those that, when compared to their lowest-performing peers (“laggards”), achieve:

  • 8x higher revenue growth
  • 7x more improvement in customer satisfaction
  • 8x better profit growth
  • 4x additional increase in employee productivity
How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities

Source:Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” IDC, sponsored by SAP, 2019.

Further investigation into the responses from the survey participants highlighted how higher-performing companies achieve these results. The IDC infobrief says six “attitudes help support company flexibility and agility; IDC views them all as especially important to long-term success in every business segment.”

The top attitudes found to lead long-term success are:

1. Prioritizing long-term capabilities

With a forward-looking approach to data assets, advanced technology, and process automation, best-run companies prioritize the embedding of intelligence into their operations.

2. Empowering employees to innovate

In the survey, 74% of leading companies cite a keen ability to use innovation to meet organizational objectives, while 0.5% of laggards claim the same.

3. Treating data as an asset that leads to actionable insight

When investing in data management, data integration, and data integrity processes and technology, high performers indicate a high level of data quality and coordination. And for their business, this result yields trusted, understandable, and timely data.

4. Enabling and promoting communication and collaboration

Best-run companies were found to use technology more frequently to foster internal and external communication and collaboration, which improves data intelligence and alignment of workforce goals and achievement.

5. Viewing modern technology as a necessity and enabler

Nearly 60% of high-performance businesses say that intelligent technologies – such as digital assistants, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Big Data – open the door to competitive advantage. In comparison, only 13% of laggard peers shared the same outlook.

6. Centralizing sponsorship of digital initiatives focused on transformation

Coordination, support, and commitment are critical success factors in any digital initiative. However, IDC also pinpointed the importance of alignment across all teams, groups, and organizations of the business.

Explore the six attitudes you need to transition to a best-run business

Over the next few weeks, my colleagues will offer a real-world view of each of these attitudes and ways these mindsets 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 IDC infobrief “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” to discover the opportunities ahead for best-run midsize businesses.


Meaghan Sullivan

About Meaghan Sullivan

Meaghan Sullivan is the head of Global Partner Marketing and General Business. In this role, she is tasked with accelerating awareness and consideration in the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) segment for SAP as well as global partner revenue through channel marketing and commercial sales practices. Sullivan focuses on Demand Generation activities to provide SAP partners with innovative programs, campaigns and resources that enable them to more efficiently market their SAP solutions and services.