Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

The First Attribute of Digital Business: Speed

As I discussed in my previous post, businesses of all sizes are searching for new ways to make money and create entirely new revenue streams. Because of the mobile, cloud and analytics technologies available to all firms, smaller businesses create value that is sometimes equivalent to the value created by large enterprises.

Therefore, the most accurate and useful way to describe companies of all sizes, is through the value they produce. Rather than asking,How large is your enterprise?”, the question of the future is, “How does your organization contribute value to the world’s digital economy?”

For those organizations previously known as “SMBs,” I would propose that there are three ways to participate in a digital ecosystem, and produce value equivalent to the largest organizations in the digital economy:

  1. Speed
  2. Accuracy
  3. Network reach

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the first attribute: speed.

The Value of Time Savings for Digital Business

As consumers, there is nothing more valuable than our time. We will drive farther, order more stuff online, and even change eating habits if we can do it all faster. Re-architecting “customer journeys” often leads to reducing checkout time, ordering time or phone time. Even outside of easily recognized consumer experiences, manufacturing companies are implementing data-driven 3D printing to reduce supply chain delivery times.

Speed is a differentiating factor in high-stakes competitive markets. And along with data accuracy and network reach, speed is one of the three currencies of digital business. 

Even as a midsized financial institution, Eastern Bank near Boston, MA, has won accolades as a “model” bank since releasing an entirely new loan origination system in 14 months. When speaking to the industry research firm Celent, Chief Digital Officer Dan O’Malley said, “We are not aware of a faster and easier way to borrow money in the world—the tech we built is unlike anything else in the market.”

Eastern Labs, the bank’s technology incubator, eliminated the lengthy and cumbersome process of traditional small business lending with the introduction of the Express Business Loan. The loan application can be completed in 1-2 minutes or an additional 2-3 minutes if a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantee is needed. Funds are then immediately deposited into the customer’s account.  

Eastern Bank has grasped the vision of producing enterprise-level value at speed and at scale—producing value equivalent to what larger banks might be able to offer. A key benefit of a firm creating new digital products and services is cultural change within the organization. Besides additional revenue streams for the business, digital and cloud technologies significantly impact internal operations—and therefore the bottom line, as well.

In my next post, I’ll drill down on “accuracy” as the second currency of digital business.

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