The need to adopt digital technology is now well understood by the business world, with the biggest companies showing the strongest signs of having a plan.


Two-thirds of global CEOs say they intend to start focusing on digital strategies to improve customer experience by the end of 2019. Seagate

And 34% of companies say they have already undergone digital transformation  Smart Insights – while an additional 34% of companies say they’ll fully adopt digital in the next 12 months. Seagate

Meanwhile, small businesses in the UK have already had their hand forced by Making Tax Digital. The legislation requires all UK companies to file digital tax returns – which meant that back in the spring when it came into force – many businesses who had not yet dipped their toes in the water had to get technology upgrades fast. 

A lot of small solution providers did well out of it. Without too much up-front investment, small companies were able to pick up something which covers routine business processes like bookkeeping, point-of-sale, inventory and document management.  

Are mid-sized companies missing out on the benefits of digital?

With both ends of the market making inroads into digital, mid-sized companies may be feeling left behind. With enough software in place to file digital tax, but not enough budget for bespoke ERP – mid-sizers may feel they are missing out on the benefits of transformation.

There are certainly rich cost benefits to be had. A recent SAP study found that 80% of companies undertaking digitisation saw increased profitability, while 85% of digital leaders enjoyed increased market share.

According to a study carried out by Oxford Economics called The Transformation Imperative for Small and Midsize Companies, midsize businesses face many of the same challenges as larger enterprises, including; rethinking operations, products, services, and business models, in order to compete in the digital economy.

But while many lack the financial and talent resources of larger enterprises, they also have inherent advantages like the ability to make decisions quickly, take risks, and pivot the organization, all of which help them compete effectively.

So how can midsize companies leverage technology to capitalize on their strengths?

Here are three of the main areas…

 ■ Build a strong technological foundation that allows for continuous improvements.

 ■ Develop a training plan that allows staff to take advantage of transformative systems e.g. ERP.

 ■ Go beyond IT. Successful transformation links business units across the enterprise and helps them work together. A specialized task forces, dedicated to transformation, may help facilitate change.

Those who have already made the move to digital, experience an improvement in the accuracy of their record keeping and enjoy reporting functionality beyond anything they have been able to produce so far. This is turn gives stakeholders invaluable insights into the financial health of the company – in real time.

And it doesn’t have to stop at financial management. ERP designed for mid-sized business offers many other benefits.  Depending on which line of business you are in, you could take advantage of Project Management modules, Supply Chain Management and CRM and HR functionality.

Isn’t ERP too expensive for me?

The thing that stops many mid-sizers from pursuing digital transformation is cost. But the good news is that with Cloud ERP designed for the mid-market costs are kept down. There is no hardware at all, just a one-off payment for implementation and then a continuing licence fee. You can find out more about how much ERP for mid-sized business costs here.

With so many advantages, the message to mid-sized companies is – don’t miss out, just because you haven’t been forced to make the change. The digital imperative is a call to action for companies of all sizes.

Lucy Thorpe is a former BBC news journalist who now writes full time for In Cloud Solutions an SAP partner in the UK selling SAP Business ByDesign.