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Constraints drive technology acceleration in the midmarket




There is a new trend we are seeing. Enterprises, especially mid-market enterprises, are starting to take advantage of technology, but not for innovation. They are doing it to remove the constraints.

Midsize businesses are affected by a variety of constraints, including shortages of raw materials, supply chain delays, customers demanding shorter delivery times, and the inability to find enough team members. These and other constraints are forcing midsize businesses to adopt technology at an unprecedented pace, but leaders don’t think it’s more innovative than they need to be.

Leveraging customer self-service digital tools, manufacturing and assembly robotics, machine learning, and more to predict demand and supply chain problems before they occur is considered innovative by midsize business leaders. lost. If left unaddressed, these issues can mean the end of the company. Midmarket leaders don’t necessarily want innovation, they just want to solve real constraints and problems.

Midsize businesses are often seen as a technology lag for good reason. Companies can set up innovation labs to experiment with new technologies such as blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and robotics. Startups are often at the forefront of coming up with new applications such as some of these technologies. The midmarket sits between the corporate bookends and startup innovation lovers. Mid-sized companies are focused on operations and do not want to be innovative. They exist and thrive because of their ability to consistently and effectively serve their customers. And this is where constraints come in. Constraints that impede or threaten the ability of midsize companies to consistently, effectively and profitably serve their customers endanger their mere existence.

I recently talked to the CEO of a mid-sized manufacturer who is starting to explore some robot manufacturing capabilities as manual processes slow down operations and cost the company millions of dollars each year. .. Not only is the manual process too slow, the company is unable to find enough workers, causing production delays. He didn’t want to be at the forefront of robotics manufacturing and told me he wouldn’t even consider any other viable solution to remove the constraints.

Companies and start-ups get most of the praise for adopting technology, but I point out that mid-sized companies are the most profitable. They take advantage of new technologies to solve real constraints and problems. Midsize companies are more practical than futuristic. In short, the implementation of new technologies needs to add immediate value and benefit to the business. These companies are too obsessed with solving the immediate problem of “what” rather than messing with “what if”.

There is another factor in the adoption of technology in midsize companies. It’s finance. Companies have deep financial resources for technological progress. Today, technology operations are the largest of any department in many enterprises. Companies can also hire the largest and most expensive technology consulting firms to support their progress. Similarly, start-ups are raising more money than ever before and can afford to try new ways to leverage technology. Mid-sized companies are often forced to invest directly from operating profit to improve their technology. Even if a midsize company has a line of credit with a bank or has capital from a private equity fund, the return on capital should still be short, so the return on technology should still be short.

Midsize businesses usually don’t have the team, time, or capital to leverage technology in a futuristic and innovative way. They need to leverage technology to solve today’s operational constraints.

Ryan Frederick is a principal of the technical consulting firm AWH (




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