The right technology can enable growth and provide businesses a competitive advantage. Years ago, Dell was a small business with an entrepreneurial spirit and the belief in the power of technology to empower people to do even more in their businesses and life. Today, that spirit and initiative continues to drive Dell to share how technology can grow companies of any size, especially for emerging businesses looking to expand globally.

Technology and innovation go hand in hand. The ability to delegate routine (and non-routine) tasks to a technology solution allows a business to make real-time decisions on new challenges and continue to deliver the best customer experience possible. During the 2011 Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network event in Rio de Janeiro, a panel of tech-savvy entrepreneurs shared a number of tips and examples of how technology can drive growth for an emerging business.

Tech Panel

Below are 5 key takeaways from the discussion:

1. Don’t think of your technology needs as how much hardware and software is necessary for the work to get done. Technology provides your business with the ability to accelerate and scale, so you should identify technology needs based on how much you want to grow and how fast you want to do it.

For Joana Picq, Managing Director at Voyage Prive Brasil, technology allows her to quickly adapt to the changing needs of her businesses so she can continue to innovate far beyond what she was able to do 10 or even 5 years ago. [Video]

2. Keep an open mind about the role technology can play in your business as you never know when major growth means becoming more of a technology company.

Catherine Graham and her husband own RIGHTSLEEVE, a promotional marketing company that has grown to a software business, commonsku. Since technology has been a part of RIGHTSLEEVE since the beginning, adapting to a more mobile workforce was simple through incorporating cloud solutions into their infrastructure to deliver collaboration and access from anywhere for their employees. [Video]

3. Embrace the cloud. The ways this new technology can enhance your business capabilities makes it far more than just a buzz word.

The cloud provides a number of benefits for businesses in any industry. Anneke Seley, founder and CEO of PhoneWorks, leverages a virtual IT staff that can address IT needs real time via the cloud so that the business can focus on their core competencies of accelerating and innovating inside sales teams. With the cloud, Joana Picq’s companies are provided enhanced security and the employees of RIGHTSLEEVE are granted the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere and stay connected. [Video]

4. Leverage technology platforms from CRM to social media to innovate how you sell to customers. According to Anneke Seley, “inside sales or phone and web sales is growing 15 times faster than field sales.” [Video]

Integrating social media and sales management allows you to better understand where your customers are communicating, what they are saying and how they want to continue the conversation. [Video]

5. Don’t expect your CTO and IT Managers to understand your vision for the business as well as you do. Talk about technology as a competitive advantage so your growth vision is actualized.

Neetu Bhatia, co-founder of KyaZoonga made the decision at the beginning to employ tech that fully integrates and can innovate and scale with the business with ease. [Video]

Technology can help your business grow and differentiate from the competition in countless ways, but the bigger question for many businesses is how should they invest in technology?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you are interested in leapfrogging the competition, over invest in the beginning on a platform you know will be critical to business success. Neetu Bhatia did this with a CRM system for KyaZoonga[Video]
  • If you are building a fast-growth business, invest in a scalable infrastructure and don’t get distracted by free technologies. Joana Picq recommends partnering with a trusted technology provider with a solid track record of delivering long-term support. [Video]
  • For a growing business, technology is one component of success. Another important aspect is to not lose sight of the entrepreneurial spirit the idea was founded on. For Dell, this means a corporate culture that embraces intrapreneurship and a passion for delivering solutions that empower customer to do more. For others, like Neetu Bhatia, the entrepreneurial spirit of KyaZoonga is cultivated by remaining close to her co-founders so they can help remind her why they started the business and what the true goals are. [Video]

Members of the “How the Right Technology Strategy Can Promote Real Growth” panel providing the above advice and information included:

  • Kim Hibler, Vice President, U.S. Small and Medium Business Sales, Dell (Moderator)
  • Neetu Bhatia, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, KyaZoonga
  • Catherine Graham, Managing Partner, RIGHTSLEEVE, Co-founder, commonsku
  • Joana Picq, Managing Director, Voyage Prive Brasil
  • Anneke Seley, CEO and Founder, Phone Works