Is Your IT Department Ready for the Digital Age?

If you are smiling to yourself about the title of this post, and the quaint term “Digital Age,” and how it’s 2016 already, and the “Digital Age” has been upon us for years now, you may want to stack your SMB up against a few eye-opening metrics regarding the state of technology in small-to-medium businesses today.

Big data is upon us, and available to every enterprise, including small businesses – but it’s what you do with it that counts. The International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts a 44-fold increase in data volumes between 2009 and 2020. Despite this cambrian explosion of data, SMBs still appear to be behind when it comes to their IT capability. IDC projects a 40% growth in global data per year vs. just 5% growth in global IT spending in the future; furthermore, the organization noted that a shocking 68% of companies do not have a stated Business Intelligence / Analytics Strategy, and 79% of SMBs still use manual integration such as manual Excel files, or custom code.

Companies are no longer suffering from a lack of data—they’re suffering from a lack of the right data. Business leaders need the right big data to effectively define the strategic direction of the enterprise. The current generation of software was designed for functionality, but the next generation must also be designed for analytics. ~ Accenture Business Technology Trends Report

Right now amongst progressive SMBs, the race is on to develop and realize a true digital business ecosphere. Progressive SMBs are 55% more likely to have fully integrated business applications. Where does your organization stand in this contest? IDC predicts that by 2017, the transfer of cloud, social and big data investments from IT to line-of-business budgets will require 60% of CIOs to focus the IT budget on business innovation and value. This metric jibes with the results from Accenture’s Technology Vision survey, polling more than 2,000 business and technology executives across nine countries and 10 industries. According to the survey, 62% of SMBs are currently investing in digital technologies, and 35 percent are comprehensively investing in digital as part of their overall business strategy. In a recent article, Laurie McCabe, Partner at tech industry research masterminds SMB Group, points out that that these progressive SMBs are well positioned to tap into new customer requirements, improve customer engagement and experience, and enter new markets. “As progressive SMBs move forward,” she notes, “they will continue to outpace their peers and reshape the SMB market.”

How will the market be reshaped? Accenture notes that 81 percent of companies believe that “in the future, industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems”. Progressive SMBs that continue to invest in IT capability will reap tremendous gains; those that bring up the rear will be behind by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, being progressive leads directly to revenue: For instance, according to SMB Group, 75% of the Progressive medium businesses (who increased technology spending) anticipated revenue gains in 2012, compared to just 17% of medium businesses that decreased IT spending.

Naturally, some SMBs don’t have the budget or staff to “flip the switch” and implement a bottom-up overhaul of their entire business process to create a fully integrated digital solution. But that is OK. By working with a capable digital business enterprise development vendor, SMBs can commence an incremental, but still integrated approach to business management solutions. Companies can begin, for example, with a financials module, and then continue to add integrated modules as required and when able, to manage other functions such as manufacturing, distribution, project accounting, or sales and marketing, at their own pace. The important part is to get moving, and to take the time to honestly assess how your organization is using technology today.

True Interaction produces custom full-stack end-to-end custom secure and compliant technology solutions across web, desktop and mobile – integrating data sources from e-commerce, enterprise resource planning, customer service, document inventory management, spend, performance… whatever data your business requires. From legacy systems to open source, we can determine the most optimal means to achieve operational perfection, devising and implementing the right tech stack to fit your business. We routinely pull together disparate data sources, fuse together disconnected silos, and do exactly what it takes for organizations to operate with tight tolerances, making your business engine hum.

Are you ready for the Digital Age? For real, this time? Let’s go!

By Michael Davison

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