There was a time when only the largest organisations with the deepest pockets could invest in the IT necessary to drive efficiency and innovation.
Thankfully those days are gone; cloud technology has made the same IT firepower that was once the preserve of only the wealthiest and biggest corporations available to SMEs.
So, it’s no wonder so many SMEs are embracing the digital future and the amazing opportunities it brings.
Realise your digital potential
A recent white paper by research firm IDC, The Road to the Digital Future of SMEs
, involved a survey of 300 businesses and casts new light on the circumstances of British SMEs. But while there is much cause for celebration, there is still work to be done before all firms realise their digital potential.
Perhaps most concerning was that 45% of SMEs view IT as a necessary cost rather than a driver of competitive advantage. The truth of the matter is very different, so let’s take a look at what digital transformation can achieve.
Firstly, it’s a way to improve business efficiency. The IDC survey found only 35% of respondents agreed, but with the cloud, SMEs have a compelling opportunity to update systems, promote colleague collaboration, facilitate home working, capitalise on the capabilities of VoIP – and still keep costs down. It’s hardly surprising that the 48% of larger SMEs which viewed IT as an enabler of business efficiency also reported the highest growth numbers, with 41% reporting revenue increase of over 10%.
Standing up to the competition
Secondly, digital transformation is a way to achieve increased competitive advantage. The IDC white paper concludes: “…smaller businesses share the same strategic imperatives and digital future mindset as larger enterprises: they understand that investing in the most up-to-date ICT gives a competitive advantage and that first-rate connectivity is key in a world shaped by cloud and wireless/mobile technologies. Paradoxically, at the same time, a lot of SMEs are held back by a lack of willingness and knowledge to invest in ICT to drive their digital transformation.”
Clearly, leveraging digital technology provides a distinct competitive advantage to the SMEs willing to make the investment that will ultimately drive future growth.