Technology & Innovation

How to use tech and data to recruit, build and grow your business

"Successful digital transformation is at the heart of artificial intelligence – centralising, organising and structuring data"

The foundation of business and the goal of entrepreneurship is not an easy one and with the ever-increasing need to fuel growth through technology, small and medium-sized businesses are finding it more and more difficult to manage expectations, hire emerging talent and support staff in their ambitions.

A group of US and UK-based Sage Global Business Experts participated in a Twitter discussion, with “enterprise and entrepreneurship” the topic of conversation.

Below are just a few of the insights shared by our independent experts and friends.

How is technology helping businesses innovate and manage growth?

“The sharing economy or collaborative consumption has impacted business through outsourcing services, peer-to-peer rental of equipment, etc. This essentially means agility and cost savings. Collaboration software allows organisations to work regardless of location, without the need for expensive office space and share great ideas.” Rob May @robmay70

“Technology helps get things done faster. It gets information faster, automates processes to get routine tasks done faster, and can help get customers’ problems/questions resolved faster. Technology provides for speed and convenience.” Shep Hyken @Hyken

“Technology allows us to automate repetitive tasks freeing up time to focus on more important tasks…that is when we aren’t wasting that freed time on our phones.” Robert Wood @bertowud

“Spending on tech allows you to spend more on R&D or marketing or whatever your business needs. Tech also gives businesses access to markets that were formerly too costly to reach.” Rieva Lesonsky @rieva

How can CFOs and leaders ensure their supply chain supports their strategy?

“Having instant access to real-time business data to be able to make smart, quick decisions!” Jeremy Ploessel @SageJeremy

“Trying to automate or incorporate technology without taking a more holistic view of the internal processes is like putting a Band Aid on a broken arm. That technology will never be optimally effective.” Rachel Fisch @FischBooks

Brainstorming sessions can help to generate brilliant ideas

Brainstorming sessions can help to generate brilliant ideas

How can businesses support creativity from within their ranks?

“To support innovation, use brainstorming sessions and don’t focus on quality of suggestions. Focus on quantity of ideas first. The craziest sounding idea may lead to a breakthrough.” Anita Campbell @smallbiztrends

“Encourage staff to challenge status quo – ‘we’ve always done it this way’. Push to find new ways to use tech as an enabler.” Nancy Teixeira @nancytex

“Harness best in class technology and tools to get tasks done faster than ever before, freeing time for creativity, collaboration and growth.” MindBridgeAI @mindbridge_ai

What should businesses seeking to recruit talent with expertise in AI, machine learning and data science do?

“Look for people with clear problem-solving experience and not just the ability to explain algorithms, look for where they’ve previously used this when it comes to machine learning.” Rob May @robmay70

“Start early and often, identify people who are interested and help find their early education in the field. Partner with education institutions to help create programmes in outlying areas to get more people interested in the field.” Tripp Braden @TrippBraden

Attracting talent is much more than a competitive compensation package. It’s multifaceted – look to ‘gravitational hires’ who attract others; exciting challenges that inspire participation and innovative benefits that keep great people.” PaymentEvolution @PayEvo

“Work with universities and colleges in your area to find recent grads who majored in those fields.” Rieva Lesonsky @Rieva

As new tech emerges, how can businesses support professional and technical development of employees?

“Skills for the new tech is one of the going challenges, especially for the small-to-mid-sized firm.” Ian Moyse @imoyse

“Ensure they have ‘business skills’ and ‘know how to interpret the data’ NOT just buzzwords like Python and Perl – ensure they know how to avoid bias in the models.” Carla Gentry @data_nerd

“As a business owner or manager, ‘investing for the future’ is how you have to view it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Consider where your team will be a year from now. That’s the goal.” Anita Campbell @smallbiztrends

Using the right insights will help your business move in the right direction

Automation can play a key role as your business seeks to increase revenues

PwC claims Industry 4.0 will revolutionise industrial production. What should businesses do as they implement new tech and try to reduce costs and increase revenues?

“Take the time to analyse which parts of your business need automation – connectivity, better data. A little bit of upfront consultation/analysis could avoid costly, and unnecessary, tech investments. One size does not fit all.” Nancy Teixeira @nancytex

“Organisations need to know where their profits come from and then work to build value in those unique capabilities.” Tripp Braden @TrippBraden

“Become predictive and use all that technology has to offer but remember, there is never a quick fix (I hate ready, fire, aim) so ensure your staff is data driven and has the talent and experience needed to take you to success – tech is great if used correctly.” Carla Gentry @data_nerd

What advice do you have for women seeking to build careers in fintech and manufacturing?

“If you do not find you are welcome in the environment you are in, go somewhere where you are appreciated or create your own. Women must create their own networks and support systems. Secure a senior champion and sponsor.” Janice B Gordon @Janicebg

“Follow your passion. If that passion leads you to manufacturing or fintech, go there. Last I checked, there was no ‘men only’ rule. Embrace your unique status as a female in male-dominated sectors. It’s an asset. Challenges status quo”. Nancy Teixeira @nancytex

“Advice for women in fintech and manufacturing: always show competence, yet don’t be afraid to show heart, too. In the end, people not businesses are your customers. They respond to a bit of heart in messaging, product design and more.” Anita Campbell @smallbiztrends

“Regardless of industry, speak the language of business – get ‘quantitative’ when discussing the value of your work, calculate and align your goals to the executive KPIs that matter: ROIC, EPS, EBITDA, FCF, etc. When you speak the language of business, you level the playing field.” Joanne Moretti @JoannMoretti

Final thoughts

The enterprise and entrepreneurship field is a community. If you look and not too hard either, you’ll find support from some of the most successful people in the space. Their ambitions mirror yours and their willingness to offer guidance is frequently a free service that you’d do well to utilise.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below and do follow our #sagetop100 on Twitter for our global business influencers’ updates and thoughts.

Is your business running you?

As your growing business gets more complex, are you seeing signs of stalling growth? Download this white paper to discover how automation and analytics can help you keep things moving.

Get your free white paper