As the Economy Shifts, here are 3 Ways to Position Yourself for Growth
Tom Schoen, CEO, BTM Global
Many companies, especially retailers, have enjoyed a lively year of profits and growth. During these busy times, they rightfully focus on buying, moving and selling. In other words, they’re just trying to keep up with demand and maximize sales.
Now that some economic indicators are showing signs of a cooling economy, companies may get a little breathing room. But that’s not a bad thing: A cooling-off period is an opportunity to invest in technology infrastructure projects and digital transformation. These types of projects become a priority during a slower business cycle because companies have the cash, time and resource capacity to execute them. It’s the chance to catapult a business to new levels.
As the economy shifts, now’s the time to look at how digital transformation can make it easier to grow your business in the next boom time. Whether it’s a new Oracle Retail POS system, a more automated financial system from NetSuite or more efficient resource management with Kantata (formerly Mavenlink), digital transformation give you more of the right data and right insights to measure the right things to grow your business.
Here are three ways to position yourself solidly for future growth.
Get the Support you Need
If you have an Oracle Retail product, you should know that Oracle is discontinuing Level 1 support. So, if you’re a retailer that relies on calling a help desk for operational support, you’ll need to start looking for a new partner.
Here at BTM, we now offer Level 1 support to small, mid-sized and large retailers. Our staff are seasoned in Oracle Retail technology, and they can provide expert troubleshooting and triage.
If you suspect you have a data or software problem, we also offer Level 2 support for Oracle Retail products. Level 3 support would require code changes to fix a bug or issue, and we also provide that level for clients.
Improve your Forecasting
As a result of supply chain upheaval, inventory forecasting has been a huge challenge.
So, now might be a good time to look at your merchandising software and other ways that inventory management could be improved. Inventory forecasting is as much of an art as a science, and I don’t envy merchandisers right now, but improving tools and data will help you get a better grasp of history and current reality so you can make better informed decisions.
Resource forecasting is another opportunity for digital transformation improvement. Digitizing and automating your project planning, budgets and resource allocation will make you better prepared for the next roaring business cycle. Here at BTM Global, we invested in Kantata OX (formerly called Mavenlink) and saw double-digit improvements in our utilization rates. We’ve gained better business intelligence, optimized staffing, made more accurate budget predictions, and scaled up more easily with new projects.
Find an Implementation Partner now, but don’t Rush it
Everyone is struggling to find people, and that includes system integrators and technology implementation partners. For this reason, it’s really important to plan your digital transformation projects ahead of time.
Ideally, you should have a 3-5 year plan that lays out the big picture of what you want to achieve. Share this with your potential implementation partners so they can offer you specific recommendations, strategies, and budget of how to get there. It’s not realistic to plan a year at a time and think you’ll get a quality partner to jump in at the last minute; most partners are incredibly busy and they can’t react as fast as they have in the past. Starting those partner conversations now and planning out your multi-year vision will give you and the implementation partner better clarity for tackling projects in a cost-efficient and time-efficient way.
When choosing an implementation partner, it’s also important to be diligent but agile about the selection process. If you usually do a traditional RFP process, rethink it. Implementation partners are so busy right now that most won’t participate in a lengthy RFP schedule because it’s too time and cost-consuming.
Instead, consider more efficient ways to find the right implementation partner. Ask for referrals, but also look up vendors’ clients that aren’t advertised on their website to get the “real” story of working with them. Do your diligence and talk to several partners to find the best skill and culture fit. The most successful projects in terms of time, budget and goals are those that are proactive, strategic, and not last-minute.