With the right technology, fast-growing companies can think big in 2019

David Turner Profile picture for user David Turner January 2, 2019
Fast-growing businesses rely on the right technology to make the most of their ideas, people and ambition, writes Oracle NetSuite's David Turner

Business growth technology global seedling in hand © Sergey Nivens - shutterstock
Companies of all sizes, particularly here in Britain, are facing unprecedented levels of prolonged uncertainty. Combined with shifting market dynamics and consumer demands for fast, convenient, often self-service or app-based interactions, it’s little surprise that established UK household names are being challenged by new entrants like Landbay, GoCardless and Receipt Bank. There was a time where the pains of big businesses were amplified at the smaller end of the market, but today’s fast-growing companies, as identified by Deloitte in its annual UK Technology Fast 50, are smaller, nimbler, and more able to take advantage of the gaps left by big-name competitors.

While the companies that make up the list provide services across a range of industries from health and wellness to online car dealerships, they all consider themselves to be technology companies. Making the most of digital technologies, the Fast 50 winners are constantly looking to develop and launch new propositions quickly. According to Scale Up Institute’s 2018 Annual Review, 79% of the UK’s 514 ‘scale ups’ have introduced a new or improved product, service or process in the last three years – a rate that many large companies struggle to keep up with.

Such a list will always include the best examples of fast-growing companies getting it right. But the most striking aspect of this top 50 is their average four-year growth rate of 2,176%. Not only are companies growing, they are doing so in a sustained and significant way.

All of these characteristics – the focus on innovation and continuous improvement, the desire to bring new propositions to market quickly and the self-categorization as a technology company – rely on having up-to-the minute information in order to make big decisions quickly and confidently. The companies on this list trust their core Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to help them do just that.

Almost a fifth of the UK’s 50 fastest growing technology companies use NetSuite as their ERP platform. Our own sustained growth – from startup, to public company, and on to acquisition – means we know at first-hand the transformative impact that the right, scalable technology can have, both in its own right and in support of other key drivers of success, such as talented people and great ideas.

Turning a great idea into a great business

Having a great idea and spotting an opportunity to disrupt an industry is the foundation of a business, but is almost entirely redundant unless it can be brought to life quickly and in a scalable way. Setting up a business from scratch is no small task. With the right technology as a launch-pad, a company can go from idea to professional entity in just a few months, with the ability to add functionality and draw on new features as it grows. This means founders can see their ideas flourish.

Providing a single view of company performance at any given time means that the ideas don’t have to stop with the core proposition. Having access to an up-to-the-minute view can help the business make better investments and strategic decisions to evolve or diversify the proposition with confidence. The key to continued growth, as evidenced by the top companies in the Fast 50, is being able to spot opportunities and take action – whether it’s tweaking your service based on customer information or changing course based on external factors.

Getting the most out of great people

People, it’s often remarked, are the lifeblood of an organization. With the right team in place, from leadership through to frontline service delivery, a company can significantly punch above its weight. Having people that live and breathe the culture and vision of the company they work for is the dream, but that dedication and willingness to go the extra mile can easily be lost.

Without the right technology to take care of the bureaucratic reality of growing a business as it transitions from plucky startup to a company shouldering the responsibilities and complexities of an established business, the paperwork for your most talented people can pile up and drive them out the door. Automation lets them focus on the things they joined the company to do – contribute to its growth, rather than take care of its administration.

Technology to realize long-term ambitions

With the right technology in place, a company doesn’t just make better decisions more quickly and free its people from bureaucracy to focus on growth. It also sets itself up to overcome any future hurdles that may arise. At some point, for example, a fast-growing company will need to expand internationally to keep growing. Going global, even in familiar or comparable markets, doesn’t just require compliance with a new tax system. It needs a localized product, new hires, investment, and agility. The right technology will tick most, or all, of those boxes and remove much of the complexity that comes with expansion.

For many founders, appearing on the likes of Deloitte’s Fast 50 isn’t a goal in itself, but a positive side effect of successful and consistent growth. The right technology augments all areas of the business and delivers demonstrable savings and growth. The bar, in terms of growth rates and revenues, raises every year, and so too does the importance – the necessity – of building the business around the right technology.

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