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By Timo Elliott, Vice President and Global Innovation Evangelist, SAP

Chaos is everywhere! Business analysts and executives like me may say this phrase every year, but 2023 is officially an unprecedented year of “polycrisis,” according to the World Economic Forum.

I heard this myself at a conference for midsize companies earlier this year, where business leaders shared a litany of pressures on their organizations. They included sudden jumps in energy prices, supply chain problems, skills shortages, new sustainability regulations, and a looming recession in some regions.

It feels like midsize companies are being tossed around in an ocean of turbulence. To survive and thrive, they need to be ready for what's ahead and respond strategically.

Setting the stage for new priorities

An IDC InfoDoc, "A Guide to Growth" backs up my fellow conference attendees’ concerns, as a growing list of macroeconomic challenges compel midsize companies to adapt to swiftly changing market conditions and consumer preferences.

IDC defines midsize business leaders as companies that expect higher revenue and market share in 2023 compared to 2022, respond effectively to disruptions, and prioritize digital transformation. Moreover, they rank higher in several other facets of evolution, including launching new product lines or venturing into new customer channels such as mobile apps.

IDC reveals that 91% of these midsize business leaders plan to expand into new business models and services to address evolving consumer expectations. In comparison, only 26% of their aspirational counterparts intend to do the same.

In response to recessionary environments, companies are focusing on new business models that expand engagement and increase loyalty with existing customers. Midsize organizations can leverage their deep understanding of their customer needs to expand further into the value chain, with extra services and personalized offers. And more importantly, companies can go to market with that highly relevant and unique value proposition to new customers, rather than simply matching competitor offerings.

Navigating forward requires the right technology

IDC’s research shows that technology investment is critical when creating business models and adapting front-and back-office processes that support them – especially as macroeconomic conditions and consumer preferences remain highly dynamic. 81% of “leaders” have completed their digital transformation or are in advanced stages, while only 36% of aspiring midsize companies can say they've made significant progress.

Today’s customers expect to be able to use modern digital channels to interact with companies and are turning to the midsize businesses that can provide them.

Take, for example, the Belgian telecommunications company VOO SA. The growing company prides itself on putting the customer first with fast broadband service, a rich mine of TV content, and a generous mobile and landline service. And it wanted to deepen that commitment by launching a new brand for a younger generation.

Turning this vision into reality, VOO revamped and simplified its customer experience by digitalizing its entire system using cloud-based commerce and billing and revenue innovation management solutions. This approach set the foundation for a new brand (Zuny) that provides a fully digital and mobile experience so customers can learn about, acquire, use, get support for, and pay for Internet, video, and mobile services.

Millennial customers responded in kind with higher satisfaction scores. And rightfully so – installation services are faster, on-demand video consumption is more flexible, and customer care is personalized with self-care, e-billing, and online options. Additionally, employees across all areas of VOO can work more productively now that they have access to a single view of the customer and a unified platform.

Focusing on value with business model innovation

As VOO's experience demonstrates, combining business model innovation and digitalization provides fascinating opportunities for midsize companies to be ready for anything.

The right technology can give employees, department managers, and business leaders – all of whom fill multiple roles – the autonomy and control to contribute to the business. Such a work environment empowers everyone to collaborate and make decisions with the same data, strategy, and goals, making the delivery of relevant and meaningful value to customers easier and more successful.

Is your business ready for next-level growth? Take this quick assessment to find out.

This article was previously posted on Forbes.com