Real SMB IT: When You Are Missing the IT Boat

March 30, 2010

Are you missing the technology driven boat?

As a general manager in a small to medium enterprise, take a brief minute and consider the steps and time required in your business to do tasks such as the following;

* The steps involved in your order to cash cycle

* The steps involved in your order to shipping cycle

Why?

In this post titled Real SMB IT: Company Size Is The Wrong Metric I stated that you cannot compare your IT spending simply based on your organization size. Two companies may have the same relative size, but have diametrically opposite requirements in IT sophistication.

To define technology sophistication? Put simply, this means; how dependent upon technology is your business?

In that post I stated that if you require less technology in your business, you cannot directly compare your IT spending simply based on the size (either in staffing or revenue) with a similar sized business that has higher technology requirements.

In that original post, I did give one warning, and that warning was simply that; there is one huge place this model will fail

And that place of failure?

That place of failure  is when you have started to miss the boat. It is when your competitors that historically had similar levels of IT sophistication, are investing in a way that they are beginning to eat your lunch.

And how do you know if you are missing the boat?

To borrow from comedian Jeff Foxworthy,

If their sales revenue per sales rep is twice yours simply because your sales tools consist of a shoebox with Index cards, you may be missing the IT Boat

If their on-time and correct  first time order delivery is 95% and yours is only 30%, you may be missing the IT Boat

If their aged receivables are pennies on the dollar over 90 days, and yours is 80% of sales over 120 days, you may be missing the IT Boat

The SMB Takeaway

If your competitors, have started to embrace technology to speed up the manual processes that can hinder the growth of  their business, but you still use index cards, blue line pads and the fax machine.

I’ll put my money on your competitors.

Definition: Sophistication

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