Small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) are in a unique position in comparison to bigger companies when it comes to running simple. They have the option to invest in traditional approaches to IT, or they can incorporate new, simple IT right from the start.
Many larger competitors grew before we had the Internet or cloud computing. “Best-in-class solution” was the IT buzzword during this period. The companies adopted stand-alone, purpose-built legacy solutions. At the time, they did their jobs well, but today this approach has added business and IT complexity to their organizations. Legacy software makes it harder to adapt, scale, and stay agile in the business world. Cutting-edge technology is being implemented where it matters most, alongside older legacy software that’s still doing its original job. But this patchwork of old and new wasn’t designed to work well together and hinders business growth.
Savvy executives of SMEs choose a better path that allows them to remain agile, scalable, and responsive throughout their growth process. With a simple IT infrastructure of solutions designed to work together, SMEs can scale faster, stay responsive to change, meet new and emerging customer needs, and innovate for competitive advantage.
According to The Economist Intelligence Unit paper, “Scaling SMEs: Building a flexible platform for growth,” many companies are choosing cloud-based architectures and applications that are mobile accessible. These solutions are offered at an affordable cost, due to the dropping prices for cloud computing.
Cloud solutions eliminate the need to tie up capital in servers, hardware, backup systems, and disaster recovery capabilities, as well as remove the ongoing costs of hiring people to maintain the software and systems. You can allocate more capital for strategy area investment, such as hiring more people to support your biggest growth opportunities.
Cloud computing also prevents you from hitting the growth and scalability wall. It can be used to build a flexible growth platform with limited fixed costs. Businesses gain the flexibility to use cash strategically in response to new opportunities. For example:
- Software connecting your front office with your operations department helps you centrally manage information and processes. This configuration eliminates spreadsheets and fit-for-purpose apps that create siloed information.
- Operationalize state-of-the-art processes through outsourced services or cloud apps that receive constant updates and improvements. Payroll services are a good example of this.
- Increase your innovation speed by buying the process support needed for new offerings, business models, and other rapid deployment projects.
- Access management information from any device, including mobile, such as billing and financial information.
These types of technology are no longer limited to businesses with massive IT budgets — even the smallest business today has access to cloud computing. When you start early with cloud computing, instead of incorporating it after your network infrastructure and business processes are established, you avoid the cumbersome complexities many big companies suffer from. Your business is positioned for sustainable growth opportunities and higher agility.
For example, the Avery Brewing Company started off with 10 people but quickly grew to 90 employees. Each business process used its own system, whether it was a spreadsheet or post-it note, resulting in significant data fragmentation and multiple versions of the latest data. The company moved to Orchestrated Beer, a business management software specifically made for craft breweries. The easy-to-use platform reduced their production time from days to hours, with a revenue per barrel increase of 30 percent. It supports the 40,000-barrel brewery Avery currently is, and the 400,000 barrel brewery it wants to become.
The time to move your business to the cloud is now. If you own an SME, you need to plan for the future and develop an IT strategy for keeping things simple to support scalable growth.
At SAP, we know that building a success company is hard work. Our affordable solutions for small and midsize companies are designed to make it easier. Easy to install and use, SAP SME Solutions help you automate and integrate your business process to give real time actionable insights. So you can make decisions on the spot. Find out how Run Simple can work for you. Discover what SAP solutions can do for your growing business or connect with a SAP partner. A partner in our network can help you find the right solution for your business and set you on the path for rapid growth.