Some businesses start small with the intent to stay that way. But those businesses are not your business. If your plan—like that of many small-to-medium businesses (SMBs)—is to grow, and grow fast, you need to be able to hit the ground running when the market says “Go!”
|The Cloud Continues to Power
SMB Digital Transformation
With the cloud, SMBs can suddenly access the same powerful finance, HR, sales, and IT systems that once only the largest organizations could afford—along with the social, mobile, and analytical capabilities that come with them.
SMBs can now compete on a level playing field.
This means that whether your rapid growth comes from geographical expansion, unexpected publicity, mergers or acquisitions, initial public offerings, or expanded products and services, your organization will be ready to handle it.
|How Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Can Help You in Your “Shark Tank” Moment
So take key areas of your business to the cloud. Say goodbye to slow and steady and hello to the kind of hypergrowth you planned for when you started your company.
In order to achieve rapid growth, SMBs need to gain complete control over four key areas: people, finances, sales, and infrastructure.
Since each of these areas becomes more complex as the business gets bigger, the ability (or inability) to deal with this complexity can determine a company’s growth trajectory. To get an idea of this complexity, consider the challenges in the following areas:
Identifying, hiring, onboarding, and training the right talent—quickly and cost-effectively—gets more challenging as your organization ramps up to meet demand spikes. You need to get the most out of existing staff and identify critical roles to be filled going forward. But without connected data from across the business, these are nearly impossible tasks.
|Avoid Hiring Disasters|
As your company moves into hypergrowth mode, you must manage ever-more-complex finance functions: payroll, procurement, budgeting, and planning. You quickly find that your business has grown beyond the capabilities of small bookkeeping solutions such as QuickBooks
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As your customer base grows, personal relationships become more difficult to maintain. To remain close to your customers, you need to continuously look for ways to improve their experience with your brand across all channels, preferably in real time. And you need to involve more than just your executive team in the process.
|5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience|
Any business looking to achieve fast growth needs to invest in the right technology. Yet an increasingly complex infrastructure and development environment can be a growing distraction for lean IT teams.
So how do fast-growing SMBs deal with all this? In a word, the cloud. But not just any cloud—the right cloud.
The right cloud solution can pave the way to unlimited growth by providing a foundation for streamlining processes (and reducing operating costs), improving customer relationships (and profitability), and building the strong employee base you need to GO and GROW.
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If you have the products, services, ideas, and talent to go up against the leaders in your market but lack the tools and resources to do so effectively, now is your moment.
With best-in-class finance, customer experience, human resources, and IT infrastructure now available as subscription services via the cloud, today’s SMBs can afford the kind of end-to-end automation, integration, collaboration, and insightful business intelligence once reserved for only the largest companies.
What’s more, SMBs can move to the cloud more quickly than their bigger competitors, which are often constrained by major investments in legacy systems that must be phased out or integrated with the new environment. As a result, already-nimble SMBs can grow even more agile—allowing them to not only sell goods and services to the big guys but to take them on as competitors.
And it’s all because of the value that the cloud brings to the table.
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|The Top 6 Reasons Fast-Growing Companies Are Going All-In with the Cloud|
Read on to learn how you can prepare your organization today for the growth you anticipate tomorrow by moving four core business systems to the cloud: finance, customer experience, human capital management (HCM), and technology platform and infrastructure.
|The Talent and Tech Driving America’s Fastest-Growing Companies|
Regardless of what you’re selling or to whom, financial operations are at the heart of your business. If you can’t ramp up production quickly and enter new markets with ease—and show investors that you’re on a path to success—your potential for growth is limited.
This is just the situation many SMBs find themselves in. Such businesses have the vision and products to compete globally and take on bigger competitors, yet they remain mired in a world of spreadsheets and stymied by a lack of automation. In the world of on-premises solutions, the cost of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise performance management (EPM) systems has been beyond the reach of most SMBs.
This is no longer the case. The right cloud for your SMB will include both ERP and EPM software as a service (SaaS)—meaning you can purchase the finance functions you need, when you need them, in a pay-as-you-grow delivery model. And it will link your financial systems with your human capital management (HCM) systems so you are prepared to employ the top-tier finance talent that will attract investment capital and ensure pre-IPO readiness.
|What Is ERP, and How Do I Know
When I Need It?
With finance in the cloud, you decide which capabilities are vital
to your business—whether it’s payroll, procurement, projects, or planning—and add on from there as your needs evolve. When growth happens, you’re ready for it. You have the ability to make fast, strategic business decisions backed up by solutions that scale to meet demand, translate across currencies, and provide a single point of truth derived from all of your financial data.
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When it comes to sales, it’s all about relationships.
Sure, acquiring new customers is important. But since it costs roughly 10 times more to garner these new relationships than it does to nurture existing ones, SMBs intent on rapid growth must find a way to drive retention and engender loyalty among current customers as well.
|4 Ways to Make Customer Experience
In short, they must provide relevant experiences at every stage of the customer journey and across each channel and device these customers access. Not surprisingly, this requires a certain level of engagement maturity. It means transforming your customer service organization from a reactive cost center to a proactive profit center—and the cloud helps you do that.
For SMBs, the path to intelligent customer engagement
|Your Maturity Model for Customer Engagement|
Fast growth requires not just happy customers; it requires hungry customers—consumers who are eager to get their hands on your product or service, anxious to see what you’ll be offering next, and determined to get as much information as possible in the process.
|Quote: Bryan Hinz, Vice President of Business Development, Apex IT|
By moving your on-premises sales, service, and commerce systems to the cloud, you can satisfy customers. The right customer experience cloud will enable your SMB to move away from a past dominated by manual processes, disconnected channels, and missed moments to a future of data-driven, intelligent micromoments—each offering an opportunity to further engage customers.
|What to Look for in a Customer
Ask any business owner or executive what their company’s biggest asset is, and they’re likely to cite their employees. Why is it, then, that according to US Labor Department statistics, the average tenure for employees is just 4.6 years? 1
Clearly, businesses—especially those interested in fast growth—need to do more than just hire the best talent. They need to
What’s more, they need to be able to do all this on a global basis—wherever and whenever they decide to expand.
Until recently, however, the tools required for this kind of strategic human capital management (HCM) were out of reach for most SMBs. Costly, highly customized, and labor-intensive to maintain, sophisticated HCM solutions were the exclusive purview of the largest companies.
1“Employee Tenure Study,” September 2016, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm.
Not so today. By accessing these solutions from the cloud, SMBs can leave behind a land of management-by-spreadsheet, zero business insights, and no employee self-service—and enter a realm of complete connection.
The right HCM cloud will enable you to draw on data from across your organization—and work seamlessly with your finance and sales solutions—to improve your employees’ experiences and streamline your business.
|Oracle Helps SMBs Win on People, Innovation, and Agility|
You’ll gain powerful insights into how employee behavior influences sales, which skills produce high performance, the ways workforce trends influence financials, and much more. And you’ll enjoy lower total cost of ownership, automated and standardized HR processes, complete workforce visibility, mobile and social capabilities, new functionality delivered on an ongoing basis, and the ability to rapidly shift and add personnel to meet demand.
Best of all, you can purchase what you need, when you need it—as business priorities dictate and rapid growth demands.
|Quote: Bob Moser, Director, Human
Capital Management Cloud Applications, eVerge Group
|Survey: What Is Keeping SMB Leaders Up at Night? Hint: Talent|
When it comes to managing IT, SMBs face big challenges—many of which arise when they hit periods of hypergrowth. Consider, for example, the following scenarios:
Big ambitions require big investments in technology. The problem is, for companies like those just described, IT budgets and teams generally remain small.
In the past, this meant that the IT departments in most SMBs struggled to simply keep pace with business demands. Few were prepared to accommodate periods of hypergrowth, or even sustained growth. And even fewer could do so while maintaining a strategic focus.
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This led to a patchwork approach to IT with a number of solutions from a variety of vendors—some outsourced completely. The resulting infrastructure was often less than the sum of its parts: complex, disconnected, and difficult to maintain and update.
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Today, that landscape has changed. Thanks to the emergence of the cloud as a delivery mechanism for everything from storage and content management systems to development platforms, SMBs can now implement the same kind of sophisticated, integrated IT infrastructure as the big kids on the block.
Paying for just what you need now—and adding on easily and instantly as those needs grow—you can lower costs, streamline processes, and provide a platform for hypergrowth by taking IT to the cloud.
From servers, software, security, and backup systems to the simple knowledge that everything is up and running at all times, the right IT cloud will allow you to gain control of your infrastructure and enable it to flex to accommodate your business needs.
|Quote: Philip Moore, Manager of Database Development, Truck Cab Manufacturers|
By now it’s clear that to achieve the kind of hypergrowth your SMB aspires to, you need the agility and scalability that only the cloud can provide. But which cloud, and from whom?
While there are plenty of vendors offering point cloud solutions for everything from sales automation to talent management, there’s only one vendor that offers a fully integrated cloud platform connecting all areas and all functions of the business: Oracle.
From the front-office functions of commerce, sales, and service automation to the back-office functions of HR, finance, and IT management, Oracle’s cloud solution suites and technology
platforms have your SMB covered.
|Quote: Chad Kelley, Controller, Irving Materials|
And if you’re thinking your business is too small for Oracle, think again: 75 percent of our customers identify themselves as SMBs.
Contact Oracle today to request an ERP demo, CX demo, or
HCM demo of our industry-leading cloud solutions and learn how to begin building the business cloud foundation that will get you
growing now. Then, when you are ready, let’s work together to learn how you can take advantage of an accelerated buying experience designed for your SMB.