Global middle market organizations are gearing up for growth. According to Ernst & Young’s (EY) Growth Barometer survey, 34 percent of middle market companies with annual revenues of US $1 million to $3 billion plan to grow 6 to 10 percent this year, far outpacing the latest World Bank global GDP growth forecasts of 2.7 percent, and 14 percent of companies surveyed have current year growth ambitions of more than 16 percent.
While business growth strategies vary according to the size and type of business, there are common capabilities businesses need to support growth, and common challenges organizations encounter when scaling their businesses.
Much of this focuses on boosting operational performance which can be achieved through digitization and automation to create processes that can “go the distance.” These are processes that won’t break under the strain of volume, are cost-effective, fast, and support self-serve models that allow customers and business partners to transact business whenever and wherever they want via mobility and the cloud.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in achieving this process nirvana is integrating new technologies with legacy applications. A recent study from Accenture shows organizations spend an inordinate amount of time and resources addressing “technology debt in the organization — i.e., tackling integration challenges inherent in legacy systems.
Today, enterprise content management and process automation are playing a key role in helping organizations re-envision their business processes for greater efficiency and ease-of-use without the need to replace key systems of record such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
In doing so, organizations can get a big bonus. Industry analyst firm Nucleus noted that its research has shown customers are averaging $7.50 returned for every dollar spent in their enterprise content management deployments.
Cost benefits stem from elimination of manual labor and the cost and administrative overhead associated with document transportation and storage. While this alone can yield substantial “digital dividends,” revamping processes can assist organizations in a longer-term strategy for even greater returns. Organizations that digitize and automate processes can channel resources from the back office into other value-creation areas — such as sales, marketing, and product development — to fuel growth.
Digitizing business operations also can safeguard companies from these “growth-gating” scenarios:
Millennials won’t work for an organization that still operates like it did in the 90s.Organizations must seek to empower digitally-literate workers and retool their organizations to attract and engage this next-generation workforce. Key to this effort is automating processes to free staff from mundane tasks and prevent information overload.
Slow and steady no longer wins the race. Velocity is the new business currency and the rules of engagement in key functions such as Accounts Payable have drastically changed. Today, the ability to capture early pay discounts can add millions to the bottom line, but businesses can only take advantage of these if a streamlined method for payment processing is in place.
You can’t see the forest through the trees. A lack of visibility in business operations can hinder organizations in mission-critical operations such as regulatory compliance and customer service, as well as lead to poor decision making that can derail company growth plans.
There’s a failure to plan, ergo a plan that will fail. Businesses must take steps to avoid catastrophic consequences of disruption due to natural or man-made disasters. Having an enterprise content management solution in place helps ensure business continuity and document integrity by protecting data from loss.
Organizations must act now to clear the runway for growth, removing obstacles to bigger and better business outcomes. A focus on re-envisioning processes and leveraging a digital business approach can assist organizations in becoming more flexible, adaptable and empowered for growth.
About the Author: Tom Franceski is vice president and general manager of DocStar — a division of Epicor Software Corporation. DocStar proven business process automation technology and workflow expertise empowers organizations to operate at peak performance, navigate change, and grow.