TechSmart Business News sponsored by the Huawei Global Developer Programme
Medium businesses can gain the most from the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). But many aren’t aware of this.
ERP and other large business systems were once exclusively expensive and elaborate. They required many hours and intense computer systems to establish then operate. The chances of a small or medium company ever buying an ERP system were none, even though many ERP features could benefit them.
But this changed with the arrival of platforms, the cloud and consumable services. Now even a sole proprietor can spend a nominal amount and gain access to cloud ERP and other enterprise-grade services. This applies to 4IR as well.
Medium businesses shouldn’t disregard the advantages of current and emerging technologies. The crumbling barriers around enterprise technologies locate those breakthroughs well within reach of medium businesses. It can even serve them better than large organisations.
“Many smaller companies have been using technology to take on larger players and surpass them,” said Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa. “They are nimbler and can address the market faster. They can also start improving operations and confidently juggle more projects than before. But the biggest advantage 4IR technologies introduce is the ability to scale. It used to be costly to invest in and expand new technologies. This is changing and companies should investigate their new options.”
4IR represents a very broad and constantly expanding grouping of new technology possibilities:
- Easy remote asset monitoring, using dashboards and automated alerts to watch for theft or plan maintenance.
- Smart camera systems that can remotely alert business owners of abnormal activities or provide analytics such as footfall and activity zones.
- Discrete, high-performance edge servers to maintain data backups and secure management of the medium businesses most valuable files.
- Convenient point-of-sale services that can be paired with smart devices and used in remote locations.
“4IR changes how we work,” said Woolley. “It impacts everyone and everything. Medium businesses are not excluded. They stand to gain the most because 4IR helps level the playing field.”
But how should medium businesses approach 4IR? Start by using platform software services that have become more accessible. These promote new work habits, increase employee collaboration, create better security practices and establish the capabilities technology can provide. They are often consumption- or subscription-based, so expenses are kept low and in control.
Medium businesses have the advantage of low technological legacy, combined with more flexibility than a larger enterprise. If they take advantage of modern consumption and financing models, such as support from Dell Finance, medium businesses can quickly adopt practical technologies that match their vision. This is an opportune time to engage with partners who can walk that journey with them, Woolley explained:
“There are many possibilities locked in 4IR. They can be introduced when and how they’re needed. It’s a much lower risk for the business. But it’s also an ecosystem play. You don’t just change one thing and that’s that. You can continue transforming the entire business. That needs vision and planning. Our job is to support our customers as they develop and execute that vision.”
All journeys start with one step. That vision may be to secure an office, become compliant with international regulations to pursue markets abroad, offer self-service choices to customers, improve data contributions between branches or give more flexibility to staff. Medium Businesses are nimble. They can focus more effectively on acute issues and new opportunities than large enterprises. 4IR technologies embody the spirit of agility and quick performance.
Medium businesses and the 4th Industrial Revolution are a great match. It’s an opportunity they should grab by the horns. For more on the topic, take a look at the video below.