Viewing archives for Strategy

Mid-Market Report: Four Steps to Navigating Inflation

It sounds like something from the deep past of the 70s, like disco balls and bell bottoms. But inflation is back. In the US, it’s over 5%. In the UK, where we have many clients, The Bank of England warns it could reach 4%.

While we don’t see it reaching the heights of the bad old days, these relatively high levels of inflation — and the subsequent interest rate hikes — may lead to changes in business fundamentals that we haven’t seen for some time.

As in any emerging situation, the question for us is, what does this mean to our mid-market clients? Our Regional Directors had a virtual conference to talk it through.

The stories from our clients are dramatic:

So we’re concerned. But we’ve been listening to our clients and thinking hard about it, and we believe there are ways of managing inflation.

Here is what we are recommending to our mid-market clients:

1. Strategize.

Take a step back and look at your markets and customers and revisit the basic strategic questions: what do they want? How do you give it to them?

2. Speed up reporting.

Demand, costs, prices, and supply are changing rapidly; pricing and purchasing decisions need to be made quickly. You need faster internal information flow for your reporting.

3. Automate to reduce costs.

Replace aging ERP systems. Integrate your processes. Use bots for the first line of customer service—consumers are used to them by now. You won’t be able to automate everything, nor should you. But where can you?

4. Improve online experiences.

Look at your front end through a customer’s eyes. Is the product imagery and information detailed enough? Attractively presented? Are you delivering a simple user experience for even complex purchases?

Inflation is affecting almost every business sector from construction to investment management. But the real danger isn’t pricing, it’s complacency. It’s adapt or die: the winners will be those companies continually reassessing the opportunities, staying alert, and moving quickly.

If you need help with your business, get in touch.

 

Visit our Technology Roadmap for Growth Knowledge Center which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

A Three-Step Strategy for Hybrid Working

The pandemic took us all by surprise, but we’ve had our eyes on hybrid working for some time.

In 2018, we noticed that while urbanization and commuting remain established “megatrends” across the world, there were signs in both the US and UK that office working was on the wane. To provide some guidance for our clients, we wrote a CEO’s Briefing: How to Make It Work When They Work from Home.

Of course, with the pandemic, this gradual trend became a sudden flip. And what a flip: a US survey from late 2020 reported that the jump in remote-working was from 20% to 71%.

For many companies there was a simple, mass evacuation from the office conducted with little time to plan, and even less time for a strategy. Nevertheless, during the months that followed, people and companies adapted to new ways of working and found ways to cope.

Unlike the rapid flip required by the pandemic, this time there is scope to plan and strategize.

As the pandemic eases, many companies are looking again at office working, home-working and hybrid arrangements. Unlike the rapid flip required by the pandemic, this time there is scope to plan and enact a thought-out strategy.

We propose that your approach should be based on the following steps.

1. Strategize.

Remind your senior leaders of your business objectives and how your business stands out in the market. What makes it special in terms of customers and value? This should drive planning for you and other decision-makers in your organization.

For example, if your market is highly commodified, then of course this is an opportunity to look again at outsourcing to lower costs (or to automate more roles and eliminate some costs altogether).

If your business thrives on creativity, however, we recommend that you bring your people together, because there is no substitute for the spark of brilliant people, in a room, face-to-face.

If you are competing to recruit rare talent, then perhaps home or hybrid working allows you to recruit more easily — to cast the net wider and to offer a better package than your competitors.

If you emphasize great service, then think about what your customers want, rather than what you want.

2. Segment.

Your plans for home, office or hybrid working should be rooted in the job profiles within your company. Not all office jobs have the same profile and needs; what makes sense for a credit control assistant may not make sense for a product designer.

Consider the job in terms of:

Your adoption of home, office or hybrid working should be based on the needs of the job rather than the department or seniority.

3. Optimize.

It’s easy to do hybrid working badly. Meetings where half the team are in the office and half are remote can easily leave the remote workers feeling excluded. Getting the best from all your people requires more deliberate communications and inclusion; even more clarity on roles, processes and controls; and investment in tech that supports hybrid working patterns.

In particular:

Need help planning for hybrid work? Get in touch.

One of our colleagues remarked that the pandemic was the first time that communication with his offshore providers had actually worked well, because they were equals in video meetings rather than side-lined. This anecdote shows how easily we can get it wrong and lose so much of what people have to offer.

But when done right, hybrid working offers the opportunity to attract the best, to lower costs, and to reduce the impact on the environment. We have a unique opportunity right now to improve service to our customers and increase productivity and job satisfaction. Let’s make the most of it.

Visit our Technology Roadmap for Growth Knowledge Center which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Technology Strategy and Vision

Companies that have a clear business strategy need a systems and digital strategy to match. Each function of an ambitious business needs a clear direction and someone to own it.

Your technology should focus on your customers, growth, efficiency, risk, security and value.

One of our experienced, competent and confident IT leaders can join your senior team to understand your business strategy and turn this into an IT vision and strategy.

Watch this short video to find out more…

For more information on this topic, click here to visit our Technology Roadmap for Growth Knowledge Center

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

What Is a Fractional CTO or CIO?

Companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the role technology plays in the success of their businesses — especially when business and commerce are conducted increasingly online.

A successful application of technology creates efficiencies, removes costs, reaches new customers, and opens new markets.  Ineffective systems add cost and stifle growth, frustrating employees and customers alike.

Watch this short video to find out how an astute and commercially driven CTO will ensure your technology strategy is inline with your business goals to optimise business success and growth.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

The Role of a CTO in the Mid-Market

Companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the role technology plays in the success of their businesses. Business and commerce are conducted increasingly online. The successful application of technology creates efficiencies, lowers costs, reaches new customers, and opens new markets. Ineffective systems add costs and stifle growth, frustrating employees and customers alike.

Watch this short video to find out how an astute, business-minded CTO will optimize your company’s success and growth.

And visit our Knowledge Center, which is packed with useful, plain-English content on CTOs.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Subscribe to our Business Insights

Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.

* Please enter an email address
newnewsletterrecipient

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.

Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

Subscribe to our Business Insights

Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.

* Please enter an email address
newnewsletterrecipient

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.