Candle in the Wind

 

While innovations – such as the Internet of Things – has generated thousands of business ideas, 9-out-of-10 business ideas fail. Unprecedented growth is complemented by expansive business operations and the difficulty that comes with managing it. Often complex business activities need a dynamic approach that means evolving quickly when necessary. This leaves no room for inflexibility or passivity, particularly in the case of embedded SMEs, which may need to scale quickly. In our highly technologically-driven age, an inflexible business can wind up with staff that are undertrained with a rapidly evolving technological toolkit in the workplace. So how can businesses future-proof themselves? The answer lies in being ready to face the next advances in technology, but also embracing the tools we already have.

 

How to predict the future? Look to the past

 

A former colleague of mine likened this workplace inflexibility to oil-based lamp lighters and the encroaching harsh light shed by the innovation of electricity. Despite the knowledge that their methodlogy was obsolete (and frankly unproductive) – they pressed on lighting lamps and burning money. Fast-forwarding to a more familiar time for many of us, Netflix has shown itself to be a modern-day example of a company that has transitioned it’s services to adapt to modern times, and embraced change. The then DVD-provider turned into an on-demand model right before we became an on-demand world. Their swift-decision making and future-proof technology adoption has disrupted how we traditionally consume television and film content.

 

The Fourth

 

So how far have we come since the dark days of gas lamps? Remarkably. 2017’s state-of-constant-change has been referred to as “Digital Transformation,” or “The 4th Industrial Revolution,” which is a direct response to the changing workplace. The concept of an office has markedly changed in the past ten years. Wholesale acceptance of cloud computing has enabled remote-working on a previously inaccessible level. SMEs can now experiment with global growth by dotting virtual offices around the globe or embed agents from their organisations into partner organisations. The commonality now is not failure; it’s collaboration. Or, more specifically, knowledge transfer, which has seen a 20% increase in investment according Project Management Institute. Now that companies can streamline their communication activities, decision-makers are using data-driven insights to architect sustainable strategies for growth with these activities supported by decentralised technology.

 

SME Outlook

 

Thanks to utility-based pricing structure of cloud computing, small-to-medium companies can now access enterprise-grade technology without the costly front-loaded payment. Cloud-based (fully hosted) businesses can upgrade their needs as their business grows and establish an infrastructure built for success. The ubiquitous nature of telecommunications has offered valuable insight for unified communications providers into the the changing structure of the SME market. Control tower logistics, new point-of-contact commerce and new methods of engineering and construction surveying are just a few of the big changes in big industries. As a whole, modern business can be summed up with the term interconnected.

The omni-channel nature of SME businesses means they are more dependent than ever on other businesses, customers and every stakeholder for success. Technology has evolved how we manage these dependencies and helped us discover new ways of thinking, new ways of working and ultimately – new ways of surviving.