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3 Ways IT Innovation is Changing the Game for Small Businesses The ability to invest in IT organically allows an organization to scale at pace, keeping them competitive in the market without breaking the bank.

By Lou Ennuso

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Today's business environment is moving at a faster pace than ever before. It's imperative that organizations of all sizes be nimble enough to respond and pivot according to business and market demands at a moment's notice, or risk falling behind their competition.

To this point, many small businesses often struggle when it comes to effectively scaling their operations. This process entails making hefty IT investments, and while necessary for continued growth, many entrepreneurs just can't afford to do so. The end result is a Catch-22 that leaves many small businesses unable to reach their growth potential.

Fortunately, IT innovation is changing the game. Small businesses no longer face the same constraints they have in the past and can scale more effectively than ever before. As a result, here are three ways in which small businesses are benefitting:

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1. Faster time to revenue

There are a number of ways to enhance a revenue growth strategy, including leveraging your existing client base, tapping new clients and pushing existing products for new opportunities. However, it's also important to implement a rapid and timely onboarding process to support the above tactics, as this can be extremely powerful in driving business results. As your business grows, inefficient onboarding processes for new customers and partners will have an increasingly significant impact on your business' ability to scale.

With the rise of cloud-based technologies, onboarding doesn't have to fall solely on the shoulders of IT. IT professionals can set up business users to successfully create their own secure connections. If business users could have the ability to create data connections, the average onboarding time could be cut from weeks or months to a matter of days. Faster onboarding means customers and partners begin generating revenue faster, which has a direct impact on the bottom line.

2. Expanded partner networks

It used to be the case that, in order to do business with a Fortune 1000 company, you had to be a Fortune 1000 company. Large players in the B2B space had massive, well-established networks of vendors and suppliers to leverage in doing business and providing services to their customers. However, technology has opened up these networks to make them more accessible to small businesses than ever before.

Consider the following example. Let's say you're a distributor looking to expand your network by engaging with local suppliers. A farmer out of Arlington, Iowa who has produce you're looking to source may not have the EDI software required to exchange inventory information with you. However, with the right solution in place, you as the distributor can easily automate connections to quickly build non-technical, smaller vendors, like the farmer in Iowa, into your supply chain.

Related: How to Use Technology to Increase Productivity, Not Distract You

3. Better ROI

To compete effectively with big players, small businesses need to make IT investment a priority. However, making investments comparable in size and scope to large enterprises is often not a financial reality for small businesses.

The advent of cloud-based technologies allows small businesses to affordably add IT capabilities without hiring an entire IT department, or making huge investments in IT networks and infrastructure. Traditional offerings demand that your physical infrastructure change in conjunction with your business size -- opening the floodgates to additional costs associated with hardware and maintenance. Scaling with the cloud can be as simple as a phone call or some mouse clicks and can involve a lot smaller capital outlays.

With these advancements, smaller companies now have the ability to do business with larger vendors, without making major investments before they are ready. The ability to invest in IT organically, as the business grows, allows an organization to scale at pace, keeping them competitive in the market without breaking the bank.

While effectively scaling has often been a pain point for small businesses, innovations in IT and cloud technology have leveled the playing field in many ways to empower organizations with the tools they need to compete with large enterprises. It's critical that small businesses adapt accordingly, or face the reality of never becoming a Fortune 1000 company.

Related: Top 5 Technology Secrets To Build Your Small

Lou Ennuso is the CEO of Adeptia application integration and business process management company that provides software to companies of all sizes. He is a long time technology veteran and has help leadership positions at Xerox, Oracle and EDS Corporation. 

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