IT modernization can provide remarkable capabilities that can fix problems, fuel growth and profitability, and set the foundation for a more agile, resilient future.
There’s certainly no shortage of business solutions in the marketplace but selecting the right applications and integrating them into an optimal system design is something that many midmarket companies don’t have experience with or the resources to support. One RSM survey of midmarket executives found that 57% are concerned about their ability to execute their digital transformation strategy.
This concern often raises the question: How long can we put off IT modernization?
The truth for most organizations is that you can’t put it off for long without losing advantage or market share, particularly if you’re dealing with any of these five challenges:
1. You’re losing ground to competitors that can serve customers faster and more effectively.
Business-to-business and business-to-consumer customers are increasingly demanding fast, seamless and personalized digital experiences from sellers and service providers. At the same time, these consumers are using multiple digital and in-person channels, such as websites, portals, physical stores, social media and e-commerce applications to conduct business and make purchases. This is why competitors with an omnichannel sales and marketing strategy supported by modern secure applications have a strong advantage. They’ve integrated these separate channels so they can identify how best to serve every customer across all channels and then execute at scale.
Modernizing your enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems is part of providing superior customer experience (CX), but these applications can’t function in silos. Business technology infrastructure should allow for integration with other applications so that the right data and content are available when and where they’re needed to best serve your customers.
2. You’re unsure whether your current applications could support fast change when needed.
Many legacy applications weren’t designed for today’s digital organizations and marketplaces. They lack crucial functionality, such as secure remote access, and they often can’t scale or flex as business or market needs change.
Understanding which applications align with strategic goals and can work securely and synergistically is an essential step. This also is where many midmarket organizations need the most help.
Experienced third-party partners with business strategy and technology consulting services can help with assessments, planning, implementation and maintenance. Such a partnership can build a foundation for growth with a system design that enables people, processes and technology to work and adjust together when needed.
3. You lack integrated, timely data to make informed business decisions.
A lack of access to timely and comprehensive business and customer insights can put a company at a significant disadvantage today because these capabilities are widely available. It’s safe to assume that your competitors are already using insights to drive performance gains, enable decisions about risks and benefits, understand consumer behavior, and personalize interactions with employees and customers.
It isn’t enough to simply make the data available or increase the flow of data. Modern user interfaces and process automation make it easier for non-technical professionals to perform sophisticated analysis independently, but this can’t happen without a solid data governance framework.
A strong partner can help your business build this framework by guiding you through the process of assessing strategy, technology and risks.
4. You have high staff turnover and can’t find the people you need.
Application modernization improves employee engagement and makes prospective employees more interested in your business because daily work is simply easier, less frustrating and more meaningful. For example, software-driven automation can reduce the cycle time for many repeatable accounting and risk-assessment tasks by days or even weeks. Given the choice, who would work at a manually run organization versus one that has transformed its processes through automation?
Another common example is sales: Would a sales rock star choose to work at an organization that’s still using spreadsheets and other office applications, or would they choose a company that uses a digital platform such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics? If growth is your top challenge or priority, this is a crucial consideration.
Digital transformation can also eliminate ongoing struggles to fill IT support positions through managed IT services, such as help desks and infrastructure management. This approach addresses the challenges of providing long-term maintenance, so many organizations find it beneficial to have a partner that offers those services in addition to assessment, design and implementation. Using IT managed services makes it possible for partners to serve as a singular source for not only running a business’ systems but also keeping them aligned with technological advances, regulatory and industry updates, and changing business needs.
5. You’re not growing as much or as fast as you need, or your profit margins won’t budge.
Disconnected applications and siloed data can work against your efforts to improve both the top and bottom lines. These issues often mask problems, and this, in turn, undermines process efficiency across the customer life cycle, from marketing to service delivery.
In this environment, salespeople are at a disadvantage because they don’t have access to accurate customer data, and sales and operations aren’t able to stay aligned through communication and data sharing. Often this lack of efficient communication, or miscommunication, is what causes downstream problems, such as product shortages, pricing disagreements and overall poor customer experience.
Application modernization can tie together key functions—by integrating CRM and ERP, for example—so that sales and operations are more effective together.
Pulling it all together
If your organization is facing these challenges, it’s vital to recognize that success involves more than choosing the right technology systems. Orchestration and building the right workflows are also critical. A best practice approach taps a knowledgeable partner that can assess current systems and guide your organization through your application modernization.