How long do you expect to be in business? If you could predict what factors would lead to competitive advantage, would you use that insight to change course now?
A look at the history of Fortune 500 companies makes it clear that this kind of foresight isn’t readily available—50 years ago, the average Fortune 500 firm was expected to stay in business around 75 years; today that life expectancy is less than 15 years, and continuing to decline. (Source: Stephen Denning, Forbes, 2011.) In fact, 88 percent of the companies that made the list in 1955 are currently either bankrupt, absorbed by other firms, or no longer hitting revenue targets.
Rather than being a dismal outlook, this level of churn points to a consumer-focused market dynamic where businesses that connect with their customers and innovate in meaningful ways will stay the course.
Adapt or perish. Jack Welch is often quoted as saying “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near.” It’s clear that customers and their buying behaviors and expectations of service are changing rapidly.
How are you changing the experience you deliver to your customers? How do you really tune in to what your customers want and how they want it? It’s time to start using technology to your advantage.
Better solutions for today’s small businesses. A business solution from Microsoft can help you stay relevant to your customers by seamlessly combining the intelligence gathered in every customer engagement with your business management and operational systems—accelerated by powerful collaboration tools, intuitive BI capabilities, and cloud-based mobility.
Can technology make a difference? A recent survey of 4,000 small and midsize businesses worldwide found that many are already looking to technology to provide this kind of competitive advantage. Forty-seven percent said technology is critical to their company’s future and 40 percent said technology will increase their revenues and profits. In addition, tech-savvy businesses grew revenue 15 percent faster and created jobs two times faster than those using little technology. (The Boston Consulting Group.)
One example of a company transforming their business is GEARYS. With a business solution from Microsoft, they’ve been able to evolve how they interact with customers to provide a modern experience in a way that stays true to their core values of personalized service. And with real-time inventory and supply chain data at their fingertips, GEARYS sales staff is able to provide relevant recommendations to customers that help build loyal, trusted relationships.
Give your team the tools they need. Create a competitive edge by giving your people the insights they need to make better decisions, work smarter, build meaningful customer interactions, and drive transformation.