It is now widely recognised that the strategic use of digital technology is ‘mission critical’ to the future growth and competitiveness of nation states and companies. Used effectively, new technology can deliver a wide range of benefits including lower costs, improved efficiency, more effective sales and marketing, enhanced customer relationships, loyalty and so on. For companies wishing to expand globally, effective use of new technology can help to break down traditional barriers to SME internationalisation.
While good progress has been made in the above areas, the pace of technology change is so rapid that we should be constantly benchmarking our own strategy against accepted ‘best practice’. Are we ‘leaders’ or ‘laggards’ in our use of digital technology? Are we on the road to success or the road to nowhere?
Benchmarking our current use of digital technology is especially important in the following areas:
- Social Business – compared to a few years ago, many companies have made good progress in their use of Social Media. However, ‘best practice’ thinking is that the term Social Media itself has become dated and should be replaced by the more generic term Social Business – a business that develops new innovative work methods and processes through successfully applying social technologies across all value chain activities – sales, customer service, finance, logistics, HRM, quality, marketing, operations, internal processes, administration etc. Are we ready to put ‘social’ at the core of everything we do? Do we have the right ‘mindset’ and organisational culture to become Social Businesses? (see our previous posts on this topic here).
- The Cloud – the world economy stands on the verge of a digital technology revolution built around Cloud Computing. According to various estimates, the Cloud is currently worth $74bn. This is expected to increase to $150bn by 2013. In the UK alone, it is expected that spending on the public and private Cloud could create 226,000 jobs by 2015. It is critical that we prepare for this revolution, but knowledge and understanding of the Cloud remains very low. For good articles on the growing importance of the Cloud please see the Kube Networks blog.
- Cost Savings and Internal Processes – relating to the above, there are growing opportunities for companies to improve internal processes and reduce costs through the innovative use of low/no cost Open Source Software and Hosted Cloud Based Services. Whether the application you require is basic office works or a more advanced CRM, EPR or Social Media Listening System, there will be a no/low cost solution available on the Cloud or Open Source.
- Internationalisation – used effectively, digital technology and social media can help to overcome many of the traditional barriers to SME exporting leading to the more rapid internationalisation of the sector. However, few SMEs are exploiting the full potential of digital/social for ‘going global’. Given that SME globalisation is a major policy objective in most countries, it is surprising that more support is not being provided in this area.
- Mobile – how prepared are we for the emerging Mobile Revolution?
The above themes provide the core agenda for the 2-day Digital Glasgow Event taking place as part of the 2012 Glasgow for Business Week in October. Full details can be found here.
We will keep you posted as the Agenda for this event develops.
As usual, all comments and feedback are very welcome.
Jim, Alan and Vincent