Successful management and managing success

John Antunes
Director of SME & Channels at SAP UK & Ireland
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Post date: Monday, 28th January 2013

Management, both good and bad, is an area of business that continually makes the headlines. It’s key to realising objectives and is a fundamental driver of businesses strategy, talent retention and employee satisfaction.

According to recent research conducted by Lane4, job dissatisfaction is rocketing due to poor management. One-third of UK employees are looking for new roles because they are unhappy at work, and almost nine in ten do not feel they receive the training they need to do their jobs effectively. With that in mind, and the additional intricacies that mobile working has brought to the table, you can appreciate what a complex subject management has become.

No one can deny than market conditions are tough at the moment, and have been for some time, which makes it more important than ever for effective management to be put into place. The key is to enable your company to move quickly, taking advantage of new opportunities as well as effectively closing down any threats – either from competitors or from the effects of the economic climate.

With a new year upon us, now is the time to consider how tweaking your management strategy can have a tangible effect on your business in every area, from employee morale and productivity to achieving growth and efficiency. So, how can you ensure that you’re considering the main issues of management and how they impact the success of your business?

1. Productivity and people: Managing talent

Making sure you have a skilled workforce on board to optimise business opportunities is crucial. In addition to getting the right people into your organisation, you must consider the value of employee training to ensure productivity and retention.

To attract the best and brightest talent to your business you need to understand and, to a certain extent, facilitate new ways of working. Whereas teams used to be mostly office-based, changes in remote working technologies have led to teams being dispersed across different parts of the country, or even the world. This has had an obvious impact on the management process but it also widens the pool of talent a business has access to if they broaden their geographical scope for employees.

Of course, one of the big drivers for mobile working is the increased adoption of mobile devices in the workplace.

Offering flexibility for employers and employees alike, mobile devices can heighten productivity and staff satisfaction, but they also lead to greater security risks. It’s essential that management teams make sure the right policies are put in place and that training is provided so that everyone knows what is seen as appropriate use, and what isn’t. Data security and the management of files passing between devices should also be an agenda item for management meetings.

2. Business growth: Managing through change

The need for a carefully crafted management strategy becomes increasingly apparent for businesses experiencing fast growth. According to recent SAP research, 73% of respondents cite expansion as either a major or a minor obstacle. To ensure momentum is sustained, business leaders need to be as prepared as possible to adapt quickly and efficiently. SME’s often hold the advantage here, being more nimble and able to react to competitor actions, changes in the economy, or new opportunities. EIU research revealed that, when looking ahead to the next 12 months, almost half (49%) of the UK’s SMEs saw a key opportunity as expanding into new geographic markets. Of course, managing this shift within a business won’t be without its share of difficulties and challenges – both culturally and economically. However, with government assistance in the form of reducing tax burdens associated with international trade, businesses have real reason to feel positive that this could allow them to expand more easily into these new markets.

Despite predictions for a ‘triple-dip’ recession, small and medium enterprises are largely positive about managing through change. One thing is clear; this is not a time to sit tight and batten down the hatches, but to think about how capitalising on new trends, markets or re-assessing your business strategy (even in the smallest way) could give your business a much needed edge.

3. Planning and forecasting: Real-time management

As any business leader knows, planning and forecasting underpins all business strategy. Thanks to cloud and mobile platforms, businesses are now in a position to make real-time predictions and projections that are more informed and accurate than ever before. For example, monitoring real-time stock levels that can be updated by employees, wherever they are, ensures that business data is live and accurate, facilitating supply and demand management. The same approach can be applied to the wider business – from supply chain management to HR processes including expense claims and holiday requests.

Ultimately, by having the processes in place which enable you to improve forecasting and create a deeper level of insight into your business, companies can significantly reduce the risks associated with unforeseen events, minimise shortages and surplus, lower costs, and be in a position to better match products to specific consumer demand.

Opportunities, not threats

Businesses of all size have seen a dramatic overhaul in working culture over recent years with employees working from an increasingly diverse number of platforms and locations. Providing effective and inspiring management has never been more challenging, particularly as talent retention is crucial to so many SMEs. Whilst advances in the cloud and mobile have connected businesses, their employees and their customers to a greater extent than ever before, it has created a very real need for staff training, along with the development of clear policies and guidelines. But rather than viewing these challenges as an obstacle, now is the time to recognise the real opportunities they bring with them. The tools are available to transform business management and processes.

It’s up to the brave and the bold to take a hold of them and use them to drive their business to new heights.

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