As the ‘hidden middle’ between large and small businesses, medium sized companies are the key engines of growth, the cornerstones of investment and the creators of jobs behind many economies.
Contributing more than £1 trillion to the European economy, these businesses are investing fast in technology, but they must ensure they have the necessary skills and security management in place to handle the change, or risk falling behind competitors, according to a report by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.
Entitled ‘The Hidden Middle’*, the report examines how medium sized businesses across the globe are currently adopting technology. It explores the distinct challenges this category faces and what its leaders need to consider to remain ahead of the game.
Featuring responses from over 2,700 employees in management and non-management roles across medium sized businesses, the report uncovers a number of key trends:
1. Medium sized businesses are the most active users of workplace technology
2. They are placing a heavy emphasis on the cloud
3. And are offering a better working environment as a result
4. But there is demand for stronger management to handle technological investments.
With 66 per cent of employees at medium sized businesses saying their business is “at risk of falling behind competitors” by not implementing new technology, the pressure to keep pace is clear, but so too are the associated dangers.
Despite being conscious of their businesses’ cybersecurity, nearly 74 per cent of those surveyed said they had taken risks with company data in the past year. In addition, just 48 per cent said that security was the responsibility of “every employee”, compared to 66 per cent of those who work for larger businesses.
Morten Illum, Vice President of EMEA at Aruba says: “As the adoption and integration of technology becomes a bigger priority across the corporate spectrum, medium-sized businesses have a distinct opportunity.
“Though often forgotten in the digital transformation conversation, with the focus instead on how large companies are struggling to adapt or smaller businesses are seizing the ability to scale, it is medium-sized businesses whose employees show the agility and willingness to make better use of technology and understanding of the opportunities it brings. The key is enabling them to do so. But with that comes a certain degree of security risk.
“The success of the digital workplace depends on the practical implementation of technology, and that’s as much about the user experience as it is the technical infrastructure.
“For medium-sized businesses to realize the full value of their investments and eliminate the risks, their leaders must ensure employees are given the training and support needed to make both productive and safe use of the new tools.”
When putting processes in place for effective business administration, sound management accounts will enable better control of your financial situation and awareness of the business in real time. This can be effective not only in detecting and countering cyber security issues and highlighting risks, but also in enhancing planning for the peaks and troughs. In turn, whilst many companies do not need an audit due to rising thresholds, an audit can give comfort to business owners and act as a fraud deterrent.
At Beavis Morgan, we work with SMEs to put processes in place which make it easier to run your business, reduce risk, maintain effective management of your company’s working capital, and keep ahead of the competition.
What’s more, the government’s Research & Development (R&D) tax relief scheme** has proved to be a major boost to British business and, with Brexit looming, it is more important than ever that companies seek ways to unlock cash from innovation to help fund research and development into the ongoing enhancement of existing products and services.
* Source: The Hidden Middle: How Medium-Sized Businesses Are Quietly Shaping Our Technological Future
** Research & Development Tax Credits for SMEs: Money back for investing in innovation
SME Adviser Series: Is your business protected against cyber threats?