business technology creates a strategic differentiator

Making Technology a Strategic Differentiator in Your Mid-Sized Business

In a business world where companies face fierce competition and operate on razor-thin margins, any advantage helps. Today, technology is consistently the biggest strategic differentiator that businesses can use to get ahead, operate more productively, and ultimately become more profitable.

The dilemma is that many businesses don’t know how to use technology efficiently to optimize on the possibilities it opens up.

Learning to utilize technology effectively in your business is the key to reaching your company’s full potential.

Challenges of Mid-Market IT Operations

Mid-market businesses in particular face distinct challenges. For instance, some common issues many mid-market companies share include:

  • No dedicated IT department or IT professional on staff: As smaller companies grow, they often don’t prioritize growing their IT resources to match the needs of the company. This leads to a lack of a dedicated IT team to lead the way in optimizing technology for business growth.
  • The CFO taking on the role of CIO: Similar to the above point, when businesses grow without expanding IT resources as well, it often leads to other team members or leadership inheriting the role of IT decision-maker. Not only does this distract from your staff’s main responsibilities, it means you don’t have the specialized personnel or knowledge needed to make the most beneficial IT decisions.
  • No specialized cybersecurity strategy: By 2025, cyber attacks will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually. Mid-market companies that don’t prioritize IT are usually either extremely underprepared for a cyber attack or are using security protocols that actually inhibit user experience and your team’s productivity.
  • Balancing long-term strategy with immediate needs: Without a dedicated CIO planning for the future while ensuring smooth IT operations in the present, any IT support you do have will likely be focused on putting out fires as they appear. A strategic IT structure will both prevent issues now and set you up for long-term success, but that’s hard to get in place when you have limited resources that are already focused on merely trying to keep up with breaks as they happen.

When struggling to deal with the above challenges, companies expose themselves to considerable risk.

Lack of a certified IT professional on staff gives workers few options when an IT problem arises. Most solutions are band aids that don’t protect or improve the company long term. The CFO is forced to split time trying to fulfill a CIO role. And, not having the resources to focus on security, companies make critical mistakes in their IT security protocols that cost them time, efficiency, and in the case of an attack, money.

Winning Companies Embracing Tech

Companies must review and plan for IT security to ensure their long-term growth and stability. Creating a plan with the proper solutions will make the company more efficient and minimize workers’ downtime caused by IT issues. Mid-market companies only have to look to their peers in the marketplace to see how an effective IT solution creates growth.

Companies such as Oak Street Health, Avant, and Adpushup are making great strides in the marketplace with their unique IT solutions.

  • Oak Street Health, a primary care center, incorporates IT into its healthcare model through an in-house data platform that informs patient care, which follows a “managed care” model for older patients and incentivizes higher quality care.
  • Avant is a private online borrowing company that offers loans for middle-class buyers. What sets Avant apart from competitors is its algorithmic, data-driven processes that continually optimize processes and encourage improvements.
  • Finally, ADpushup revolutionized digital marketing with its ad revenue optimization platform.

All three companies have experienced exponential growth by embracing digital transformation. But they aren’t the only industries benefiting from increased use of cutting-edge technology. Manufacturing companies are facing an industry revolution due to advancements in robotics, automation, and 3D printing, and other industries are close behind in the digital transformation trend.

The success of these frontrunners and other businesses embracing technology should be an indicator of other companies in the marketplace’s future.

Prioritizing Proactivity

Business leaders know that the best way to solve problems is to prevent them before they happen. Being proactive in your approach to IT and cybersecurity should be mission-critical in this increasingly digital world.

To keep your business running without disruptions, it’s important to monitor threats proactively and install appropriate solutions for your business needs. While your competitors struggle with understanding their IT landscape, you can focus on growing and scaling your business without the concern of attack.

The Power of Strategic Planning with a vCIO

To best equip your company for success, you need to have a strong IT strategy that utilizes all the tools available to you. Consulting with a vCIO who provides individualized IT consulting is key to your business security and success.

Your vCIO will share expert industry advice and solutions designed to give your company the competitive edge it needs to differentiate and avoid costly risks.

To find a vCIO specializing in your industry, contact us at ISG Technology today.