When it comes to discussions about information management, the mid-market is often overlooked. Developments or disasters at FTSE 100 firms inevitably hit the headlines, but far less is written about those companies who typically employ between 250 and 3,000 people.
It’s a serious oversight, as this sector plays a vital role in our global economy. In the UK, mid-market companies employ 50% more people than they did in 2010, and in recent years their profitability has compared favourably with their FTSE 100 counterparts.
Yet recent research has shown that mid-market companies, while being characterised by a sense of nimbleness and dynamism, can experience serious challenges of their own, particularly with regard to the way they manage their information. In this series of three blogs, we’ll explore some of these issues and suggest ways in which business leaders in this sector can address them.
When it comes to the middle, the rot starts at the top
We’re all familiar with the stereotypical figure of a mid-market CEO: entrepreneurial, innovative, energetic, their personality is often intertwined with the identity of their company. While this can provide employees with a clear sense of purpose and direction, it can also create vulnerability.
A recent information value study by PwC and Iron Mountain highlights a number of alarming tendencies within these companies. The first relates to age. Mid-market companies have generally not been around for as long as their larger competitors, and with this corporate youth comes a more cavalier attitude towards protecting crucial business data.
In a way this is hardly surprising. A company less than five years old may have spent so much time and energy growing and developing its market, discussions about how it manages rapidly expanding amounts of data may have taken a back seat. It may also not have suffered the chastening and costly experience of an information management catastrophe that forces people to mend their ways.
Gaining maturity – it’s time to get serious about information
It appears it is not until the five to seven year point in a company’s lifespan that its C-Suite begins taking information management more seriously. There is a further tipping point at around the 16 year mark, where companies develop a greater maturity in the way they handle and retain their data.
The logical conclusion from this evidence is that business leaders and senior managers in the mid-market must take serious steps to address these issues if they want to thrive and grow in today’s digital world. One way of doing this is to work with a trusted vendor who is experienced in the process. One such supplier, Iron Mountain, has been helping businesses across all sectors not only protect their information, with remarkable results, but harness it to deliver competitive advantage.
In our next blog, we look at the mid-market’s addiction to paper processes, and why these organisations, despite their reputation for innovation, lag behind their larger global counterparts.