With the challenging market conditions brought about by Covid-19, it’s unsurprising that businesses are feeling huge pressure to adapt or transform their operations to remain profitable. Yet, research recently conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of FHL revealed that UK mid-market firms need to significantly improve their operational visibility and planning to make effective decisions and successfully rise to the challenge.
Our survey of 250 mid-market business owners, directors and senior managers indicates that many are not investing the necessary time or research before acquiring new technology. Only one in seven (36%) mid-market businesses said they had followed best practice by reviewing and challenging their core processes before adopting new ERP and business systems, and fewer than half (48%) had made any serious effort in this regard. This indicates that many don’t get to the route of business inefficiencies or profitability challenges before pointing the finger at their existing tech and seeking an alternative. They then risk ending up with ill-advised investments that do very little to solve their fundamental business challenges.
Our research also found that 56% of mid-market businesses struggle to identify and improve core processes as part of their digital transformation projects. There were also clear differences between owners and senior management on whether technology-based transformations had made their business nimbler; 77% of directors said so, yet only 48% of managers agreed. This indicates there may be a gap between plans to adapt their operations and successful execution in some organisations.
When it comes to aligning transformation plans with business priorities, it appears that many businesses are not taking advantage of advice from third-party experts to help them do so successfully. While 65% rely on some form of partnership, only 32% use business consultants to develop their early plans, and just 23% engaged with technology partners when planning.
However, for some companies it may be their usual planning approaches holding them back from successfully adapting. More than two thirds (67%) of respondents are tied into strategic planning cycles of three years or more, suggesting they’re likely to be challenged by the current demands of short-term re-planning and decision making.
While the global pandemic is challenging organisations to act quickly, and in some cases, find new markets to remain in business, it’s clear that many are lacking the visibility to draw up effective change management plans. Against a backdrop of uncertainty and likely financial pressures, it’s more important now than ever to gain deeper insight, form clear plans and make careful investments.
Yet, amongst some of the more concerning statistics unearthed by our research, it also highlights some positives – such as a solid core of UK mid-market firms who are taking steps to deploy smarter, cloud-based ERP business and finance systems effectively. These tools and the insights they can deliver help businesses to successfully adapt to the challenging trading conditions and implement effective longer-term recovery plans.
To learn more about our research findings, or for more information about how we can help you access the insight you need to successfully adapt your plans, simply click the button below and get in touch.