SMEs will need to crack their content strategy
Karin von Abrams, senior analyst, eMarketer
“Creating, delivering and re-using content – emails, articles, blogs, product information, images, video and so on – will be a key challenge for SMEs next year. Historically, content hasn’t been a core skill or top priority for small businesses. But now they need to communicate effectively via digital channels, and ensure that all those communications are timely, consistent, informative and user-friendly.
“As studies have shown, most businesses are investing more in content and content marketing every year. Engaging content is vital to their success, but relatively few have a documented content strategy, or know what a strategy might look like.
“Implementing and running a content management system (CMS), which can create and modify digital content, will be a steep learning curve for many. But on the plus side, a lot of stories and messages can often be reused or repurposed. That should bring welcome cost and time savings.”
Tech will enable fresh approaches to forecasting growth
Andy Campbell, HCM strategy director, EMEA, Oracle
“This year has seen a lot of change for businesses of all sizes. Many smaller companies have responded to ongoing market shifts by putting growth plans on hold, but few are in a position to do so indefinitely.
“Historically, technology that can help manage change have been the preserve of larger companies, but thanks to cloud technology, it’s now a viable option for small businesses too. These technologies include enterprise resource planning (ERP) or human capital management (human resource) systems.
“Such technology gives them a single, consolidated, real-time view of their business, enabling them to more effectively forecast and plan for multiple scenarios, engage their employees and, crucially, find opportunity in uncertainty.
“Many more small businesses will embrace the cloud for their back office systems in 2017 and put themselves in the best position to break out of survival mode and continue pushing forward with growth plans.”
SMEs must master mobile
Tom Eyre, founder, Credit-Improver.co.uk
“The next two years will be about SMEs getting to grips with existing and ingrained technology, rather than embracing new, disruptive tech that could die a quick death. Smartphone uptake is now at 71pc in the UK, so we’re going to see a shift towards businesses considering their mobile strategy first, and their web presence second.
“SMEs, unless they’re specifically in the business of making apps, have not properly utilised the potential of them yet. The consensus is there’s an app for everything, but there’s no reason why small businesses, which have huge creativity, shouldn’t be throwing their hat into the ring to do something new or better.
“Businesses in the hospitality and retail markets need to ensure they’re not on the backfoot now that mobile payment technology is widely available. Over the next two years it will transform the customer experience as we know it for the better. Once mobile payments garner mass appeal, for example, consumers should never need to queue up to pay ever again."
… as well as security and cloud technology
Cathy Daum, Senior VP of global channels and general business, SAP
“Tech is already at the top of the agenda for the majority of SMEs, according to our new IDC research into the UK market.
"More than two-thirds of businesses are investing in some form of digital transformation, with many owners admitting that they could go further. They also have an advantage over larger enterprises, as their agile structure allows them to implement tech quickly and cost-effectively.
“Right now, SMEs are primarily using tech to grow revenue and identify new customers, but we expect them to start exploring more creative ways to exploit the digital economy. For example, our study found that 20pc of UK SMEs are already looking to improve their mobile workforce enablement through technology investment. This trend mirrors the rise in demand for mobile working across the world.
“Cloud adoption by SMEs will also continue to grow, but we also see many businesses opting for hybrid models, which can include private or public cloud networks, as well as on-site ones. Perceived security issues must, however, be high on the agenda. Security technology will be a key investment in 2017.”
This blog was written by "The Telegraph Small Business Connect community", and originally appeared on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/