My teenage daughter recently opened her first bank account. As we were shopping around for the right bank, my wife and I discussed how we needed a company large enough to have locations all over the country. That's because in two short years, our daughter will head to college and we're not yet sure where that will be.
As individual consumers, people often take comfort in the capabilities, security and expertise that big brands offer. We’re far more apt to buy our laptop from Apple or Dell than from a lesser known, smaller company because we know the expertise, service and quality that big brands provide. Same goes for how we seek out services from banking to healthcare to travel.
Yet when it comes to small-to medium-size businesses (SMBs) seeking out software, this approach to finding the best products and services often takes a backseat to the prevalent myth that big software is only for big enterprises. Not only is that far from the truth, but SMBs actually stand to gain from partnering with well-known, experienced cloud software vendors who can help accelerate their growth.
In an era of continuous digital transformation, technology advancements that help your business are happening in parallel. Consider the simultaneous rising roles of cloud computing, big data, automation, machine learning, edge computing and more. The opportunities offered by such advancements aren’t relegated to businesses of a specific size. The cloud provides a great example of tech that benefits businesses across the board. In a recent survey of enterprise and SMB decision makers, 70% report that they’ve already moved one application to the cloud. For the latter group the returns include cost-effective flexibility, scalability and agility that wasn’t available to them before.
SMB leaders don’t need to wait on the sidelines while their larger counterparts take advantage of all of that technology can do. If anything, the increasing democratization of today’s technology makes it easier for SMBs to not have to play catch-up all time—unless you’re still buying into the myth. By believing that your SMB isn’t eligible for big software and the advancements it entails, you sideline your company from potential opportunities, partnerships and progress that could happen that much faster.
Disabuse yourself of ideas about what’s for your company and what’s not: Take a goal-focused approach that centrally places your SMB's key objectives, and then ascertain what tools and expertise you need to succeed.
The barrier here isn’t as much a cost or infrastructure issue—instead, it’s is a mental leap. For instance, when it comes to affordability, big software products are often designed to scale as a company grows: Start at a price point that makes sense for your SMB now, and increase the capability and scale of the application as your own enterprise grows.
Are you looking to elevate your finance operation to include more forward-looking analysis and insight? Moving your financials to a cloud-based ERP system like Oracle’s may be the next, right step. Do you need to better integrate your Customer Experience, Sales, and Finance operations? Consider an integrated cloud-based solution. These are big software products – and they’re also the best solution for your aims.
Once you’ve decided not to box your SMB into smaller, suboptimal solutions, the next step is recognizing how big software gives your SMB an edge. Let’s circle back to the bank we chose for our daughter. It not only had broad, national reach, but it also had great online banking and additional services that she might need in the future. In the same vein, understanding the benefits of big software is about recognizing how it can help you now—and what it means for your SMB tomorrow.
The pace of technological change is relentless—and it’s challenging for SMBs to keep up. A big software company does this work for you, often incorporating current advancements into its products. Finance automation offers a prime example: We have numerous people who study this issue, and are at the forefront of finance software capabilities. These experts inform our products and ensure that SMB clients benefit from cutting-edge knowledge.
For many SMBs, the business partnerships they form are critical to ongoing success. Nowhere is this more the case than with than with software. Much like hiring a tax advisor who is intimately familiar with your business and the tax landscape, a big software partner understands the challenges that SMBs face now, how to solve them, and what you can expect in the future. For instance, Oracle’s finance, HR, tech and customer success solutions incorporate our deep experience in these areas, providing SMBs with built-in best practices and answers for pain points they’ll encounter down the road.
When it comes to competing for customers or even talent, SMBs often need to be creative. Big software offers SMBs an advantage and improves their competitive position in multiple ways. SMBs using Oracle’s single suite ERP solution, for example, benefit from the same efficiencies and advantages provided to their larger counterparts. They get the single source of data, which allows them to make faster decisions. They benefit from our focus on security and the proactive measures we put into place. And through it all, they’re able to evolve and grow with their software solutions growing alongside them.
My daughter is just starting to manage her money, maintain a savings account and track her spending. The bank we selected will likely be her partner in this learning process, able to expand its services as her needs increase regardless of where she goes to college in 2020. Give your SMB the same opportunity to benefit from expertise and opportunities that big software provides—and tee your company up for a future of growth.