26/03/12

Cheap technology helps small business grow big

David Mills is executive vice president and member of the Ricoh
Europe board. Ricoh is a global provider of technology and services
specialising in managed document services, production printing, office
solutions and IT services.

Typically there is a perception that large organisations are able to
invest in more advanced technological solutions which are out of reach
of smaller companies, preventing them from competing on a level playing
field.

However, businesses will experience significant change in their
industry sectors in the future, due to the impacts of technology.

The change is largely attributed to an increase of low-cost computing power, storage and bandwidth available via the ‘cloud’. 

It is also recognised that businesses will continue to accumulate
increasing volumes of data, from a growing variety of sources at
accelerating speeds, a phenomenon also known as ‘big data’.

In addition, the increase of video-based communication, social media and other tools will all become more widespread.

Interestingly, these technologies are already in existence and while
new technologies are likely to emerge, it will be the new ways that
current technologies are applied that will continue to drive radical
change to business models.

And it means that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could find
themselves at an advantage as they are more likely to have a more
cohesive and collaborative management structure.

Ricoh’s David Mills sees cheaper technology encouraging the rise of
the micro-entrepreneur. We may also see an increase in
micro-entrepreneurs, as reduced capital requirements and more easily
accessible markets enable more people to start their own businesses.
Today’s small companies can more easily grow into mid-size ones, with a
team focused on the core business. They no longer need to deploy larger
in-house supporting functions, such as accounts, marketers and
secretaries, and middle managers to look after these functions.Instead
this can be handled by external specialists, as firms embrace business
process innovation to create more efficient organisations that can
retain and manage their knowledge effectively.

In the years ahead, mid-size companies will be able to choose whether
to become larger to compete on scale, or smaller to compete on speed.

Big data’s big impact!

See our last week’s latest news on 10 Ways Big Data Changes Everything 

Beyond company size and structure, SME business models will also be impacted as ‘big data’ gets even bigger.

The big data phenomenon has seen a massive explosion in the amount of
information both generated by and made available to organisations.

As organisations create and store more data than ever, they can
collect more accurate performance information on everything from product
inventories to customer insights.

Read more at the BBC Science and Technology for Small Business news pages