Microsoft and its partners offer a plethora of solutions for small businesses and are at the leading edge of new technology adoption, such as the Cloud. Research suggests that SMEs are some of the first to see the value of the Cloud - bucking the usual trend of large enterprises adopting new technology first. But the challenge for many small businesses is to see through the technical jargon and understand the value that business systems can deliver in the real world.
When talking to Mamut’s customers and partners, we realised that there was a lack of ROI related material that could help an SME quantify and justify not just the benefits of implementing a solution like Mamut’s, but also the cost and payback period. We also noticed that small businesses can sometimes get "stuck" at various levels of maturity in the use of business systems without fully understanding the obstacles that are preventing further growth and efficiency. We therefore decided to develop the Smart SME Maturity Model as a way to help small businesses with up to 50 employees to understand their current level of business systems maturity and how they can potentially improve this maturity in order to propel growth and efficiency in the business.
The model was developed by Gryphon Consulting Ltd., a niche IT business value-led consulting company based in the UK, and drew upon the expertise of Mamut, Microsoft, Baker Tilly, ICAEW and a number of key Mamut partners. The model has also been linked to credible benchmark information from sources such as the Aberdeen Group, the Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft, and Cisco in order to provide SME's with an indication of the likely benefits, costs and return on investment (ROI) that could be experienced by using software solutions such as Mamut One to break through maturity obstacles in order to move to the next level in their businesses.
Mamut has used this model to develop a Maturity Assessment for small businesses with up to 50 employees which will help SME's to understand:
- Their current level of maturity across a range of business systems areas.
- The indicative benefits of moving to a more mature level of business systems usage.
- The indicative costs of implementing a software solution such as Mamut One to move to a more mature level.
- The indicative ROI of investing in a solution which will move the business to a more mature level of business systems usage.
The Smart SME Maturity Model
In the experience of Mamut and the other contributors to the development of the model, there are typically four distinct levels of maturity in the usage of business systems within small businesses with 50 employees or less. These can be categorised as Basic, Functional, Efficient and Optimised. It must be kept in mind that these maturity levels represent "typical" SME behavior and capabilities at each level, and that while any one SME may be classified as functioning predominantly at one level of maturity, it is quite possible that certain aspects of the business are better described by another level of maturity. This differentiation of ability across the business is catered for in the assessment.
The Smart SME Maturity Assessment
The Smart SME Maturity Model has then been used to develop an assessment for small businesses with up to 50 employees that aims to do the following:
- Help small businesses understand their overall current level of maturity in the usage of business systems, as well as their maturity at a more granular level across a number of different areas of the business. These include; Financial Management, Sales Management, Purchasing / Logistics, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Web Presence, E-Commerce, Mobility and Business Systems Integration.
- Provide some indication, using credible benchmark data from sources such as Aberdeen Group, Boston Consulting Group, Microsoft and Cisco, of the potential financial and non-financial benefits to be gained by small businesses migrating to a more mature level of business systems usage.
- Provide an indication of the costs required to improve the business systems maturity through the implementation of a comprehensive, integrated SME solution such as Mamut One.
- Provide an indication of the return on investment (ROI) that would be experienced from investing in a software solution that would improve the business systems maturity.
How to complete the Smart SME Assessment?
The Smart SME Assessment can be found at http://www.the-smart-sme.com/. The SME using the assessment completes a set of short questions, most of which are selected from a list of possible answers, and is then emailed a detailed and personalised presentation containing the information listed above.