By Cindy Bates, vice president of U.S. Small and Mid-Sized Business,
In a world where technology is woven into the fabric of our daily lives, it’s clear that it helps us stay connected and get more done. What you might not know, however, is just how significant an impact technology can have on the growth of your business and the economy at large.
A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that those small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) that use technology the most grow faster and create more jobs than SMBs with low levels of technology adoption. The BCG study concluded that if just 15% of low-tech SMBs and 25% of medium-tech SMBs became high-tech SMBs, the result would be the addition of more than two million jobs and an additional US$357 billion into the U.S. economy.
The BCG study segmented businesses into three categories based on their use of technology:
- Technology Leaders: These leaders use various forms of technology to power their businesses, encompassing various cloud services, mobile and social capabilities, web-based voice and video conferencing, and productivity tools. They tend to grow faster than the economy as a whole.
- Technology Followers: These followers use well- established technology tools, but do not use cloud- based platforms or solutions. Their growth in terms of revenue and jobs trails that of leaders.
- Technology Laggards: Laggards have generally low levels of technology adoption. They have no online presence and use computers, the Internet and the most basic Microsoft Office tools on a very limited basis.
By understanding where your business falls on the spectrum, you can consider which types of technology can help propel your business forward. For example, if you haven’t already moved your business to the cloud, you should evaluate the cost savings, enhanced productivity and ease of scaling your operations that the cloud delivers.
Cloud-based services for tasks like document storage, video conferencing, email and calendars are typically a fraction of the cost of buying and maintaining servers and software. They also provide greater flexibility and mobility since the data is stored online and is therefore accessible from any device with an Internet connection.
If you’re already utilizing cloud services, you can add custom software programs and use services that provide overall IT infrastructure management online. Businesses that take this step often grow faster than the economy as a whole.
Simply put, technology is integral not only to the success of individual small businesses, but to economic growth and job creation more broadly. As an entrepreneur, you’re already a leader. By ensuring you’re a technology leader, you’ll reinforce your company’s pace of growth on the road to success.
Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. EO’s regional partnership with Microsoft includes access to speakers and training curriculum; access to Microsoft stores and event-hosting locations; and connections to Microsoft business-development managers for brand awareness and other opportunities.