Mid-sized enterprises are in a unique position. They retain the agility, entrepreneurialism and flexibility of a small business, while having increased size on their side – giving them the opportunity to compete with businesses much larger than themselves, argues David Watts, VP of UK Enterprise at Sage.
Last year’s Sage Economic Impact Report showed that the overwhelming majority (73%) of mid-sized enterprises were confident about growth, saying they expected turnover would stay the same or grow by up to 50%.
But turning business confidence into profit takes tools and resources, with dedication to delivery. After all, even the simplest distractions can impact business performance.
TAKING IT TO THE CLOUDS
Every business is unique and requires different resources depending on which stage of growth they find themselves in. It’s important to keep a real-time, single view of the business – be it managing finances, stock, sales and the customer. Business management solutions allow business leaders to take complete control of business processes and manage every aspect of growth whilst reducing complexity and inefficiency.
While tools of many trades have remained largely unchanged for years, when it comes to business technology, we’re in a true golden age. Businesses today do not need to invest the amounts into software required just a decade ago in order to become truly successful, global businesses.
Many legacy, on premise IT infrastructures are reaching the end of their natural lifespan and are not fit for today’s digital, 24/7 business environment. Cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) solutions are one answer. According to UKFast’s 2016 Cloud Forecast report, 86% of enterprises are looking to adopt cloud within the next year. Similarly nearly one in three companies will come to market with a ‘cloud first’ perspective.
However, cloud services aren’t right for every business. It’s a question of choice. Therefore it’s important that business leaders are able to choose solutions that adapt to them rather than the other way around.
UK finance directors are the second most cautious in Europe and their decision-making often boils down to a question of capital versus operational expenditure. As a financial director, you are effectively paying others to manage your risk and making the right decision for your business is of paramount importance.
A large capital investment in on-premise IT infrastructure can dent the books and be a strain on cash flow for a growing business. Using cloud based services as an ongoing operational expense might make more sense.
This doesn’t mean there’s only a ‘one size fits all’ approach. On premise or cloud is often an emotionally led decision, but there is a middle ground between the two. Businesses need the freedom and flexibility to implement solutions that best suit them at every growth stage of their business.
GETTING MORE SECURITY BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
Cybersecurity is front page news nowadays and is increasingly pushing itself up the boardroom agenda. Infact, according to insight from the Information Services Group, 67% of businesses with 100-999 employees state that data privacy and security are the biggest concerns for their business.
Securing yourself, and mitigating risk is imperative for any business, especially one at a crucial growth stage. The high-profile TalkTalk hack showed that size doesn’t always offer protection. Hackers can find the smallest weakness and exploit it on a huge scale – negatively affecting your customers and your business reputation.
When the risk is a brand’s reputation and value, many business decision makers can be averse to using cloud platforms and relenting their on premise control.
Thinking you can keep tighter scrutiny on security on premise is often a misjudgement. Public cloud services offer a high level of security and auditability. Sage’s X3 cloud platform uses the same security grading as that used by NASA. In this way small businesses have access to protection they wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise with on premise solutions.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS…
It stands to reason that a real time view of your business boosts efficiency and, by extension, supports growth and enables profits. Sage conducted research with Forrester and found that organisations can achieve an ROI of 177% by deploying Sage X3 as a business management solution, helping them consolidate disparate systems into one single enterprise wide view and thereby boosting business agility.
Technology enables businesses to grow, but implementation isn’t a fixed criteria – it’s a question of choice. Cloud or on premise? Public or private cloud? A mix of the two? No problem. Think of it like buying a bespoke, tailored suit compared to buying off the peg. The customer is now king.