Content provided by SAP, written by Drew Bates.
Many midsize companies are focused on growth, but this is not what defines them. Some businesses operate as agents of change to improve people’s lives in their communities, regions, and countries – in some cases, even the whole world. Others look to reshape an industry with a new business model that may interest competitors in acquiring them. A few may even turn a personal passion or talent into a journey of inspiration and opportunity.
No matter the goal, midsize companies can support all of these desires by making informed and proactive decisions using the right intelligence and insights in every aspect of their operations. Unfortunately, most of them are struggling to take full advantage of the abundance of data they are capturing from a broad variety of sources.
Forrester Consulting research reported that 79% of the midmarket segment wants to extract more value from their Big Data, and 80% want to advance their use of analytics. However, according to IDC, only one-third currently uses business intelligence and analytics.
Considering the increasing scope and speed of changing market and consumer demands, competitor disruptions, and investor expectations, midsize companies cannot survive without treating data as an intelligence asset. If success cannot be measured, the business cannot prove its worth. Data should be regarded as the smart enabler of strategic and tactical decision-making from which actions are taken.
Why running an intelligent business matters
Over the past decades, midsize companies have seen a steady, digitally-driven shift from paper-based tasks to spreadsheets, then on-premises ERP systems, and, now, a digital core of data shared across any application, environment, and function. Each stage of this evolution has empowered many businesses to discover new ways to source and deliver products and services faster, especially when competing with fewer financial and talent resources.
Despite the agile and dynamic aspects inherent in successful, growing businesses, it’s not uncommon for midsize companies to slow their adoption of the latest technologies. Whether it is economic, technical, or managerial, they often focus on the risks before the yet-unquantifiable rewards. Unfortunately, such hesitation in establishing a strategic foundation puts them at a significant disadvantage, impeding any ability to discover compounding digital opportunities.
For example, projects and investments are often siloed, leading to inconsistent data and missed insights that could otherwise help improve customer engagements, operational efficiency, and financial performance. And as intelligent technologies – such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and robotic process automation – become the industry standard, midsize businesses risk falling further behind the competition if they do not step up their decision-making accuracy, response speed, data security, and opportunity-seizing growth.
How to start growing midsize businesses intelligently
It’s becoming clear that growing companies need to embrace digital investments and data-management practices to build a strong digital foundation.
The faster the marketplace evolves, the more businesses could benefit from two significant rewards from operating intelligently:
Embed continuous learning into operational applications to refine process automation and decision-making models for finance, customer relationship management, supply chain, human resources, and manufacturing
Seize new opportunities early on by creating a central core of business intelligence and analytics to pinpoint emerging competitor weaknesses, internal strengths, and unanswered demand
With this approach to intelligent operations, midsize businesses can unlock the genius of their workforce to chart a path of powerful outcomes such as optimized revenue streams, proactive customer experiences, and high levels of employee engagement.