Challenges Faced by SMBs in Adopting Technology

Craig Scott, chief executive officer and president of FUUZ, discusses where some SMBs go wrong in starting their technology journey with standalone applications.

SMBs are suffering from “information overload,” generated by a flood of data from social media, marketing and other sources. And when it comes to acquiring the technology needed to make sense of it, “there’s an overwhelming number of buzzwords to navigate through,” Scott says. Many vendors “are trying to sell you software rather than partnering with you for your continued success.”

Software “point solutions” — applications designed to address a single task — are “one-trick ponies,” Scott says. Companies lured by the promise of “intuitive” and “easy-to-use” tools find themselves stuck with outdated technology as they try to grow. Moreover, point solutions often result in siloed data that can’t be shared across the organization. In the end, “SMBs are compiling data more than they’re able to act upon it. That’s challenging and frustrating.”

The biggest misstep that an SMB can take in acquiring software is to do so “without a clear vision of your future state,” Scott says. Focused on problems of the moment, and limited in their resources for investing in technology, smaller companies often neglect to take the longer view of what they really need. “That leads them down a disastrous path right from the beginning.”

Another common mistake is to think of an enterprise resource planning system as a complete solution. In fact, Scott says, many ERPs are just a conglomeration of point solutions that are cobbled together, leaving purchasers with the same inability to unify data across the organization.

Scott recommends that SMBs adopt three guiding principles in acquiring technology: Don’t invest without having a strategy in hand. Focus on a platform approach to the technology stack. And don’t fail to consider software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, which he says are superior in terms of security, usability and cost.