20. Sometimes it pays to be disruptive

21st century businesses are operating in an environment never before seen by SMEs.

Globalisation, the speed at which technology is changing, and the empowerment of customers are all factors which have made modern business arguably more competitive than ever before.

These are not problems exclusive to large firms; SMEs are also affected. SMEs can however turn modern business to their advantage, almost levelling the playing field with their more dominant competition.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Defined as “an innovation that helps create a new market and value network” disruptive technology can offer SMEs a way to compete in the global marketplace without needing the bulky infrastructure often seen in larger firms.

The ‘cloud’ is one such technology which as a concept is nothing new. After all, the majority of us have made use of the cloud ever since being introduced to email, but the way the cloud is used is changing dramatically.

IDC predicts that, between 2013 and 2017, public IT cloud services will see a compound annual growth rate of 23.5%. This is a growth rate five times higher than the IT industry as a whole.

Businesses can now take a ‘pick and mix’ approach to software and systems in a way that wasn’t possible before; choosing the functions that will benefit the business as opposed to having no room for compromise.

SMEs who make use of the cloud effectively benefit from an agility within their business which provides a significant advantage over competition who don’t; in terms of both cost management, and process efficiency.

The clouds’ disruptive influence on the marketplace, simply cannot be ignored by SMEs looking to succeed moving forwards.

It’s a small world

Of course, disruptive technology need not be confined solely to the cloud.

McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimate that 3D printing could generate an economic impact of $230-550bn per year by 2025. This is due, in part, to the 35-60% cost savings that businesses could achieve by taking advantage of ‘self printing’ technology.

The online world will continue to play a huge part in defining how businesses operate moving forwards. Consumers now want to communicate with brands, as opposed to being communicated to; content, some say, is king.

Even the consumption of content is changing; paywalls are now accepted as a business model, but content consumption isn’t only one way. An ‘Internet of Things’ allows businesses to take advantage of their customer’s content consumption habits by turning the plethora of data they collect into a bespoke marketing strategy.

These things all combine to make the world a very small place, which, for SMEs looking to compete on a global stage is a wonderful thing.

As technology continues to evolve it is likely to only become more disruptive, and SME owners should keep one eye firmly on the future; take the time to understand how innovative technology could help the business. Take the time to learn from those in the marketplace who have successfully used disruptive technologies to enhance their business.

In a globally accessible marketplace, the cloud, social media, and other disruptive technologies offer SMEs willing to embrace them an opportunity to compete effectively with much larger competition in a way that was never possible before.

To find out more about how disruptive technologies could benefit your business, or if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered above with Tectona Partnership, please contact Mark Nicholls on 07818 407061 or Ronnie Epstein on 07543 275902.

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