ARTICLE | September 28, 2023
It seems like there’s a firehose of new technology coming at us every day. Predictive analytics. Machine learning. Robotic Process Automation. Generative AI. It can feel overwhelming to anyone. For middle market organizations with limited staff and resources, the deluge is even more intense. If you look closer at that torrent of tech, you’ll see opportunity. Big opportunity.
From automation to analytics, the potential solutions make this an incredible time to take your business to the next level. Embrace the advantages and catalyze material change. This article offers four tips that proactive companies can use to leverage new technologies to optimize productivity and drive growth.
1) Rethink your tech solutions
It’s tempting to keep adding tech platforms and solutions from vendors with new flashy tech, but that often creates redundancies that impede productivity instead of increasing it. What’s more, the cost of continuously adding new technology and the time needed to implement and maintain it are prohibitive for most middle market organizations.
Instead, evaluate your current tech solutions, identify/eliminate outdated systems and maximize your tech’s efficacy through a holistic application portfolio vision. Take advantage of outsourcing and consider delegating critical-but-non-core functions to third-party service providers. A trusted outside advisor can work with your company to create frameworks that drive efficiency, compliance and speed. These frameworks can include ongoing services for compliance, cybersecurity and finance and accounting, as well as other non-core functions.
Assessing what you already have in-house and outsourcing what you can will help you optimize your operations for the future.
2) Automate low-value, repetitive tasks
From accounting to IT, many middle market organizations are still manually performing tasks. But manual processes are inefficient and use up valuable human resources, to say nothing of the increased errors and subsequent risk created.
Automating key tasks is a productive way to leverage new technology. Eliminating manual processes in such areas as accounts receivable, accounts payable and software updating frees up your staff to focus on more valuable initiatives—which also improves the employee experience (and increases employee retention in the challenging labor market). A knowledgeable professional who understands your business will recommend opportunities where intelligent automation can replace repetitive manual tasks. An experienced advisor will know the broad offerings in business process automation and suggest quick, high-value wins.
Ultimately, automating key tasks offers an incredible opportunity to increase speed to value, enhance the employee experience, reduce errors and risk, and supercharge business productivity.
3) Move to the cloud
Some middle market companies continue to resist the continued megatrend of cloud technologies. Whether it’s due to concerns over cost or security, general changes or comfort level, a resistance to moving to the cloud affects productivity, stifles growth and limits the benefits of new technology.
Moving to the cloud opens all kinds of opportunities. Cloud-based ERPs and other SaaS applications are flexible and scalable. They provide quality data across your organization. This also improves data security and governance because cloud solutions don’t require your organization to patch and update applications, and cloud providers become responsible for keeping your data safe and secure. It also moves organizations out of the server and server room business, eliminating all the related costs.
The cloud gives you opportunities to innovate. New tech like generative AI and predictive analytics rely on a volume of quality data, and a cloud system allows for that opportunity. It also provides new ways to optimize the employee and customer experiences. The cloud also allows companies to digitize or add technology around processes to make organizations as efficient as possible so they can scale for the future.
4) Get visibility across your organization
Real-time data ingestion and analysis require visibility across your entire enterprise. Middle market leaders must be agile in order to be competitive, which can only be supported through timely and accurate data. True data visibility helps organizations effectively forecast demand, cash flow, inventory, supply chain capacity and other critical components of short-term and long-term planning. Visibility gives your organization the opportunity to use your data and third-party data to gain insights—not just to forecast but also to discover new competitive advantages through higher efficiency or a better customer experience.
Ultimately, visibility across your organization knocks down legacy silos and presents new opportunities to optimize your business, increase the speed of decisions and increase growth.
If you’re not using real-time data ingestion and analysis for decision-making, you’re in luck. That constant stream of new technology mentioned earlier includes numerous applications that are available (and affordable) to middle market organizations.
Today’s middle market organizations face a nonstop influx of new technologies. The speed of change and increased complexity are unprecedented. But the resultant opportunities are also unprecedented. The four tips outlined above are interrelated, working best together to help you maximize today’s incredible technologies. In fact, there have never been more tools at your disposal to drive growth and supercharge your business. And while it may seem at times like you’re drowning in a sea of change, in reality, it’s an ocean of opportunity.
This article was written by RSM US LLP and originally appeared on 2023-09-28.
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