No longer “playing catch-up,” nine out of 10 mid-market companies are using some sort of virtual or augmented reality. In addition, nearly half also are using demos or interactive tools to help improve customer and employee interactions, according to a new Deloitte report, “Technology in the Mid-Market—Taking Ownership.” The study surveyed 500 mid-market executives about how they are embracing new technologies as a key element of their growth strategy.
Stephen Keathley, deputy CEO for Deloitte Services LP, said in a company statement that IT is gaining more value as C-suite attitudes toward technology shift. He said IT is now seen as less of an administrative function and more as something that can drive technology adoption, integration, and strategy. Keathley said part of the development is attributed to mid-market companies’ movement to the cloud, which has laid the groundwork for more rapid adoption of emerging technology.
“As a result, more mid-sized companies are embracing the ingenuity of virtual and augmented reality and IoT to track business processes, anticipate customer behavior and maximize growth,” Keathley said.
More of these mid-market companies are also using predicative and cognitive analytics to gain insights into their customer base and to inform customer relationships and pricing. That innovation is helping many mid-market firms not just survive, but thrive and become rising leaders in their sectors. The Dun & Bradstreet Power Index reports that middle market firms have largely led job and economic growth in recent years. The 182,000 mid-market companies operating in the U.S. in 2016 generated more than $9.3 trillion in revenues last year (according to the Power Index).
Yet with this increased use of technology comes more risk and concerns around security. Respondents said managing cybersecurity and information risk was their top priority this year, with more than half of respondents ranking it as one of their top reasons for investing in cloud technology.
Thomas Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, and Dawn Patrick, leader of THInc., told Industry Week that a successful approach to innovation can be “the difference between a banner year and stagnant or even negative growth.” Despite their impressive efforts towards innovation, many still lack formal innovation processes, and even those that do often overlook opportunities to innovate even better.
Stewart and Patrick said that companies need to take a closer look at their existing assets and skills, think outside the box, and implement a formal process for innovation.
“By taking an accurate assessment of your firm’s unique skills, risk appetite and capabilities in the marketplace, you can more appropriately assess the potential for innovation beyond your current strategy,” they said.