Mid-Market Company: How To Navigate NewTech Solutions For Growth
We are clearly in a stage of rapidly changing technology. Well that’s an understatement, honestly. Business technology is part of every department, critical to most processes and imperative for the company. Most of us feel like we’re in a constant game of catch-up.
But, while this changing landscape is challenging, it’s a mistake to think businesses can’t juggle both technological adaptation and growth. Infact, these two goals are not only compatible but are also synergistic, especially for mid-market companies. Here’s an overview on how to get started achieving both goals if you’re in the mid-market bracket.
The Landscape of Changing Tech Solutions
We don’t have to dig too deeply to find examples of technology developments that have radically changed industries over the last 20 years:
- Cloud computing makes infrastructure quickly and easily accessible to technical and non-technical staff.
- eCommerce has transformed our lives and the retail industry.
- Telemedicine is reshaping health care.
- And now, Artificial Intelligence is poised to change every industry and department in ways we can only imagine.
What strikes me as the years go on, is the drastic increase in the velocity of tech solutions changing. The time between groundbreaking innovations is shrinking, creating a steeper learning curve for businesses.
However, the risk of not staying current is real, and high. It’s not just about missing out on opportunities. It’s about becoming obsolete. In fact, market share can evaporate if your business doesn’t adapt and review the relevance of its tech solutions. So, as a leader of a smaller company, this is a risk I recognize and live with every day. Equally, I expect every business leader feels this as well.Even Apple has felt this recently. It has been reported that they felt “caught flat-footed” in the generative AI race. No one, not even Apple, can afford to become complacent.
Strategies for Navigating Technological Change
So how do we stay current with tech solutions changing constantly? Or better yet, improve our business technology with it?
There are many ways, but here are a few I have used recently.
- Firstly, whether you are a leader or an individual contributor in your company, learn, learn, learn. This message is probably more needed for the company leaders. We cannot become complacent, or rest on prior successes. Keep learning through reading books, articles, attending conferences or webinars, talking to people and listening.Essentially, remain humble.
- Next, allow yourself time to think and be creative. Once you have new information, digest and ponder it for yourself. For example, how could this tech change be implemented in your company? And, will it help? Will it advance a business initiative? Or could the tech solutionmake you more efficient? Keep asking questions.
- Then, create and foster a company culture valuing up-skilling. Reward deep work and try to create space for learning, not just producing. Set an example.
- Keep a flexible operational strategy – adapt to new tools and platforms as they emerge. Even if a process or system is working, look for ways to do it better and more efficiently. For example, AI tech solutions are already roaring into every nook and cranny of the business. So, keep your eyes open and be willing to break processes that are working for something new that will be better (after careful evaluation of course!)
- Partner with technology firms. Partnerships can bring both technological expertise and new market opportunities. I’m proud that my own company,SPK is a globally recognised and awarded technology service partner. We successfully support our product and software engineering clients to constantly accelerate their product development. But, it’s about how strong our network of partners is too. For example, we also partner with other tech companies that have deeper capabilities than us in specialist areas. Reputable partners with strong networks give you better access to innovation. Partnerships create strength and agility. Do Proofs of Concept (POC) with your tech partners. Experiment. Get curious.
- Also, embrace change, but not change for change’s sake. Not every technology improvement is going to be an advantage to your particular company. The time and effort isn’t in learning what’s out there, it’s in evaluating if it is appropriate and helpful to your company and workflows.
The Imperative for Growth
As if that’s not enough of a challenge, then comes the imperative business command – you must grow. While this can seem like a pressure, at times, I tend to view it positively. I view the need to grow as critically important in all aspects of life.For example, in business, we have to grow, to evolve, to change, to stay relevant. And, in our personal lives, it’s just as important. We have to grow in our talents, our skills, our character to truly be alive – rather than just survive.
In today’s market, stagnation is the first step toward irrelevance. Keep evolving.
How Business Technology and Growth Can Work Together
Business technology is absolutely a lever for growth. But, whilst it’s not the sole lever, it is a very important one. Tools for data analytics, for instance, can provide valuable insights into customer behavior. Additionally, they help you understand how to improve your product or service. And, data analytics can also highlight issues with operational efficiency, giving you ideas for improving product/service fulfillment.
The business issues that stymie growth are varied. Sometimes it is a lack of leads. Or, it could be trouble with lead conversions. Alternatively, it might be difficulties with product or service fulfillment. The first step for the leader is to identify the leading issue. For example, hat is the key bottleneck? Don’t work on 10 things at once. Focus on two or three.
How tech solutions can help identify the bottlenecks.
Technology both collects the data important for analysis, and it can help present the data in a way that leads to insights. Having the data is key. Find applications to help you collect the data, such as a CRM for marketing and sales. Or, Netsuite for Finance or Operations.
Then, find ways to visualize the data to help you find actionable insights. I have found that the applications collecting and storing the data do not always present the best reporting or visualizations. Often, a tool like PowerBI or Tableau needs to help with this.
Technology can also help identify potential solutions to the bottlenecks.
These days, I use various AI tools to help me brainstorm solutions for the growth inhibitors I find in my data. I can get ideas from well written prompts in ChatGPT. There are specific point apps that use a LLM that give me help in certain business areas. And, some of the tools we already use, like Jira or Confluence, are already or about to release AI functionality within these apps. Consider what tools can support you to streamline and quicken the path to a potential solution.
Technology can help you implement your solutions.
Finally, the solutions that will address these growth inhibitors are… you guessed it… more technology or apps. For example, if I’m not getting enough leads for my website, and I need to improve my SEO, I can use add-on apps to ChatGPT to help me identify and target keywords better. Or, I could use built in features within Google to find and test keywords that resonate with my potential customer base.
Just remember though, implementing technology solutions is never an answer by itself. The old mantra – technology, people, process – is ever true. Technology must support the correct processes, which are carried out by people with the right skills, competencies, and abilities.
Actions to take:
- Start a learning program for yourself to keep abreast of the tech changes.
- Conduct an internal audit of your current technology stack.
- Identify gaps and seek partnerships that can help fill them.
- Invest in continuous learning programs for your staff.
Mid-market companies must adopt clear strategies to navigate evolving technology and achieve growth. Additionally, rapid tech innovation requires proactive learning, up-skilling, and flexible operational strategies for success.
Partnering with technology firms, experimenting with proofs of concept, and embracing change are essential steps in staying ahead. Simultaneously, the imperative for growth remains a fundamental aspect of business survival. Stagnation leads to irrelevance, and technology can serve as a crucial lever for growth. Leveraging technology for data analytics, identifying bottlenecks, and streamlining solutions are keys to success. Remember that technology is not a standalone solution; it must align with your processes and the skills of your team.
If you need support to adopt new technologies or streamline your workflows, my expert team is here to help. Contact us today to get support for your mid-market company.