Part 9 of the “Road to Digital Transformation” series 

Anyone who knows me understands my passion for good stories, especially those of small and midsize businesses. The twists and turns of remaining profitable, improving cash flow, acquiring customers, and expanding into new markets are sometimes frustrating, often risky, and always transformational. At any given time, firms are in a constant state of transition as they build a foundation for their ultimate vision.

Over the past few years, I have read, heard, and written thousands of stories about these experiences. Each anecdote may be unique, but they do share four essential truths:

  • Firms are viewing themselves in the eyes of the customer – moving away from selling features and functions to delivering tangible, long-term value
  • Digital investments are made to address the greatest business need
  • Implemented technology is meeting – or even exceeding – expectations
  • Convenience and impact are the hallmarks of a successful digital strategy

These perspectives point to a sense of practicality among firms when selecting and implementing technology. According to the IDC InfoBrief “The Next Steps in Digital Transformation: How Small and Midsize Companies Are Applying Technology to Meet Key Business Goals” sponsored by SAP, the most widely used software applications facilitate the fundamental building blocks of collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce, and talent management. 

Source: The Next Steps in Digital Transformation: How Small and Midsize Companies Are Applying Technology to Meet Key Business Goals,” IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by SAP, 2017. 

When I connect these findings to the stories I know, it becomes apparent that small and midsize businesses are paying strict attention to the demands of an ever-evolving competitive landscape as they continue to refine their technology investment plans. Here four examples of firms that are undergoing such a transition. 

InFact Group: Establishing a culture of sharing and learning with collaboration

InFact Group (formerly Creative Probers) empowers clients across a range of industries with systems integration and consulting support. With a goal of providing a high level of service within limited time frames, its 55 employees needed to be on the same page at all times. Sharing information and working in a collaborative and coordinated fashion are paramount to the company’s success. Furthermore, the leadership team needed a big-picture point of view for every employee to balance the organization’s goals with service perfection.

The systems integrator and consultant implemented collaboration software to achieve the level of transparency it wanted. The social software platform is not only increasing employee engagement, but also providing better support for its clients and its employees. 

maihiro: Inspiring sales and delighting customers through CRM 

Professional services firm maihiro has a wealth of experience in implementing CRM software. And now, its workforce of 140 has a new system of its own to support sales processes and introduce real-time, comprehensive sales reporting.

By using a cloud-based CRM solution, the professional services firm empowers its employees and managers with mobile access to up-to-date information such as sales potential or specific requests. Maihiro integrated its on-premises and cloud CRM system to consolidate information spread across various solutions, automate sales processes, and gain visibility into the entire sales pipeline at any time with customizable reporting templates. 

Purchasing Power: Giving an e-commerce experience that improves lives

Purchasing Power enables millions of people to purchase products and services through a simple payroll deduction plan. The fast-growing e-retailer with 200 employees needed a comprehensive, yet scalable, omnichannel commerce platform to serve its expanding customer base and increasingly sophisticated business requirements.

Through an e-commerce platform, Purchasing Power is continuing to grow – but with greater ease. Feature-rich omnichannel commerce capabilities are enabling the company to increase site conversion and serve customers with more compelling products and promotions.

Harlequin: Ditching paper for digital in talent management

Well-known publisher Harlequin is dedicated to delivering entertaining and enriching experiences to readers all over the world. Its 200 employees are committed to launching 800 new titles in a variety of formats every month, leaving little time for complex HR processes, inefficient paperwork, and outdated spreadsheets.

The publisher decided to simplify talent management processes and free up employees to focus on the mission at hand. By tailoring a performance management solution to its policies and processes, Harlequin is attracting, retaining, developing, and motivating the right talent to match business needs. More important, managers are better equipped to manage subcategories of criteria, manipulate raise and bonus percentages, and deliver unbiased reviews with minimal effort. 

Creating a foundation for growth in a digital economy 

These four stories are only a small part of the millions of transformations happening worldwide in small and midsize businesses. Each one is as powerful and unique as the other in firmly setting the foundation for a bright future.

To learn how small and midsize businesses are digitally transforming themselves to advance their future success, check out IDC InfoBrief, “The Next Steps in Digital Transformation: How Small and Midsize Companies Are Applying Technology to Meet Key Business Goals,” sponsored by SAP. Be sure to check every Tuesday for new installments to our blog series Road to Digital Transformation.”

Blog originally published on the Digitalist Magazine