22 September, 2017

Move to the next level with IT (June 2014)

20 June, 2014

Sometimes, companies become so engrossed in their daily core competencies – for example, designing, making or distributing things – that they stay a step or two removed from points of leverage that could propel them to the next level of growth. Take information technology, for example. Things have moved on at an almost overwhelming pace in the IT world over the past few years; we now have everything from cloud computing and related Software as a Service applications, social computing, big data and mobility devices that make communication and the relaying and accessibility of date so much easier and quicker whether you are inside the four walls of the warehouse and shop floor or out in the field. This technology can improve a business’s operations at so many levels; it can make a company’s activities faster, more accurate and more cost-effective; it can even improve a business’s standing in the eyes of the end customer due in some cases to marked improvements in customer service and communication concerning, for instance, the current status of an order. The CBI’s director-general John Cridland picked-up on this theme during a speech he gave at a recent technology event where he addressed an audience of 200 businesses comprising some of the UK’s best-known and most entrepreneurial companies to debate the global impact and influence of technology on business. At the #DaisyWired14 event held Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire, Cridland began by calling on the Government to give more help to growing businesses, saying that mid-market companies have often been overlooked by Government policy in favour of small businesses, even though they were the true engines of future economic growth in the UK. He then called on the entrepreneurial community to take advantage of the ubiquity of technology available to deliver a steady growth period. “Some businesses, with a turnover of £100 million to 200 million, have the potential for gazelle-like growth and could be worth £500 million in about five years’ time,” he said. “They are our true national champions – but we don’t have enough of these companies making that growth spurt in Britain. We need to concentrate on nurturing the £20 million, £40 million or £100 million turnover businesses so that they become the future national champions we can be proud of.” Cridland continued: “We cut off the support for businesses when they get to around £10 million turnover, but why are we doing that? We need to focus on this ‘forgotten army’ of entrepreneurs and help them make that progression. This medium sized group makes up less than 10,000 of the 3 million businesses of the UK but it is worth 23 per cent of the UK economy.” The director-general went on to draw a contrast with Germany, which he said had managed to support the continued growth of a much larger number of mid-size businesses, contributing significantly to real strengths in its economy. “All industries have the potential, particularly in the exports market, to make this decade the UK’s, just as the previous one belonged to Germany,” he remarked. “We need to nurture these companies with capital and management systems to help them break into the markets around the world which want to buy our products and services, but are not particularly easy to get into.” Cridland also called for the term SME to disappear, claiming that it now describes an obsolete concept. Small businesses and growing businesses that have become medium-sized businesses have different policy requirements. By taking a leaf or two from the German business support model, and by harnessing the huge potential offered by the types of modern information technology solutions cited above, many UK businesses have a very real opportunity to grow into the future national champions Cridland speaks of. Taking a little time out to survey the types of IT technology currently available could reap dividends you never know were possible. Happy shopping.





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