A business realm long populated by headstrong entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses, the middle market is experiencing a wave of technology adoption that seems intent on further upending the traditional laws of business competition as it diminishes the size advantage that large enterprise companies have long enjoyed.
When it comes to the middle market’s growing appetite for technology applications, most business watchers are quick to point out the contribution of Cloud computing’s capabilities. However, a less talked about but no less significant contributing factor is the emergence of finance leaders as champions of Cloud technologies.
“Whereas in the past CFOs were spending 80 percent of their time on compliance, risk, and recording transactions, they are now saying, Let’s automate our processes as much as possible and then help the rest of the organization make investments for growth,” says Rob Reid, CEO, Intacct, a Cloud software developer specializing in accounting solutions.
To further expose the growing influence of middle-market CFOs when it comes to technology adoption, Intacct late last month released the findings of a CFO survey that it recently conducted.
According to the survey of CFOs, finance leaders are now actively prioritizing Cloud-based investments, with business reporting and analytics topping their task lists.
According to Reid, applications involved in customer interaction are becoming a central focus for finance leaders: “For CFOs, this is about understanding better what is going on in the business so that you can do a better job with the customer by uncovering what were previously hard- or impossible-to-find insights.”
By virtue of their smaller size, middle-market companies have traditionally been able to change direction faster, adapt more aggressively, and innovate more nimbly than larger enterprises. Now, Reid says, as Cloud applications help to level the playing field when it comes to customer insights, a technological revolution is under way.
“This technology revolution that is going on is allowing small and medium-size businesses to have information not just equal to, but better than that of large enterprises,” explains Reid, who uses the example of Walmart back in the 1990s using technology to help lower its inventory costs and maximize its retail space. Says Reid: “Smaller retailers couldn’t begin to leverage technology like this back then. Now, with the Cloud, smaller businesses can – and they’re taking advantage of it.”
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