Businesses are investing in technology, confident in the potential it offers. It’s almost universally accepted that technology is a source of growth and opens up business opportunities, however average UK businesses also see a downside and worry that technology can get in the way of growth.
And that’s where the Growth Generators are different. Most do not see technology as an obstacle. Even those that do are confident that they can overcome the problem. This is partly because many of them are ahead of the game and have foundations in place to use technology to drive their expansion.
Who are the Growth Generators?
They made up 12 percent (119/1000) of our sample in our Planning for growth research. And they were close to 10 times more likely than low-to-no-growth businesses to achieve their growth targets.
How are you using technology?
Ian Hall, CEO of CCS McLays, a provider of packaging and consumable outsourcing solutions says those foundations matter: “As the business moved from small to mid-sized, we invested in a new IT system and focused on ensuring ownership of constantly improving our processes. These are business essentials and if they’re not up to scratch, tasks can be less efficient and accurate, and everything suffers… having these solid foundations in place allows us to innovate and excel across the board.”
Growth also comes from the way firms use technology and, in particular, whether they have the agility to manage new developments. That includes recognising that plugging into existing platforms and proven solutions can be the best way to get the best option at a lower cost and more quickly. “Technology doesn’t do what we do, technology supports what we do," says Mike Beesely, Chief Executive, Resources Solutions Group.
Richard Joyce, a director of technology in our advisory team explains, “Cloud is a really good example of buying in best practice. We haven’t got to buy our own servers, we don’t have to maintain them, and we haven’t got to build a room to put them in. We’ll just go to somebody that could do that for us.”
The same approach can be taken with other technology platforms such as Amazon, which companies use to sell and distribute without any of the upfront costs of developing their own platform. That makes it an attractive, low cost way of growing new markets. However, that does raise the issue of data security and firms need to ensure suppliers can demonstrate their ability to provide security across their systems.
Growth generators also look ahead and work out how the decisions they are making about technology can support the future business. They consider the full range of opportunities and how technology could allow them to disrupt the market. That is backed up by an understanding of their current technology providers and platforms and how they could grow with their firms. As Wendy Hart, technology partner says, “The first companies in a market to tech-enable their businesses tend to be disruptive and see an uplift in their perceived value.”