Mid-market businesses find themselves in a unique position—in addition to falling into a company size that garners somewhere between small business and full-on enterprise, their growth has landed them a unique set of challenges as well.
No longer startups with basic management systems but also not quite graduated to the level of maturity that brings stability and consistency, mid-market companies are in a challenging but exciting state of rapid change and complexity.
The good news? There is a solution—the Work OS.
In this article, we’re walking you through the basics of a Work OS and how to choose the best one for your mid-market company’s needs.
What is a Work OS?
A Work Operating System (Work OS) is an open platform where teams create and customize the workflows they need to execute their best work with speed and ease.
Work OS platforms offer scalable and flexible frameworks that can be adapted for any industry or team and as an organization grows.
Key functionalities to look for in a Work OS
A Work OS steps up the basic functionalities of a task management tool or project management software because users can:
- Create and automate workflows
- Assign task owners
- Visualize work in a variety of views i.e. Gantt Chart, Kanban View, Timeline View, and more
- Import and export files and data
- Centralize team communication
- Quickly generate easy-to-understand dashboards and reports
- Integrate with their favorite tools
Here are a few more key functionalities you should look for in a complete Work OS:
Mid-market business’ employee numbers tend to grow with the business, so you’ll need a Work OS that serves all users in an organization, not just specific functions or teams. This way, everyone is using the same core platform to do their work—which can prevent a lot of wasted time along the way.
Unique to a Work OS is something called building blocks, which are functional drag and drop blocks that teams can use to assemble apps for managing their work, as well as capturing and presenting data. The beauty here is that the user can therefore break apart and reassemble any workflow or application already offered on the Work OS to create a custom experience.
In the case of mid-market companies with teams of varying sizes and specializations, this can be invaluable.
Structured data store
A Work OS should capture any data related to human action, that way data is complete and also digestible for users. For example, monday.com Work OS has a column type called Creation Log that makes it easy to see when a teammate created a specific item or task—but more on that later.
Permissions and governance
Security and governance become increasingly important as a mid-market company steps away from start-up life and aspires for enterprise status. A complete Work OS will include permission-setting and governance features regarding exactly who can view, update, and enter data as well as who can integrate and automate work. This way, teams can work in their unique way while being compliant and aligned with their organizational and industry standards.
monday.com’s Work OS makes it possible for anyone to create the tools they need to run every aspect of their work, from everyday work to projects that span months. By combining building blocks, like apps and integrations, team members have the power to build or customize the solutions that best suit them.
monday.com also offers some advanced features that not all Work OS platforms will:
While most Work OS’ in general still don’t offer standalone communication channels, monday.com provides teams with a way to send messages and updates within the context of a work task. This can really reduce email threads and lack of clarity. You can also integrate third-party communication tools like video, messaging, document sharing, and email to add additional context to your communication.
An amazing feature of a Work OS is the capability to provide transparency into work progress for every employee and every team for projects, initiatives, and processes. This is vital for managers, as they can easily keep track of everyone’s work, and therefore make sure teams are aligned. With monday.com’s Workload widget you can see how your team’s work is divided and the upcoming timeline for everyone’s tasks in one place.
Low-code/no-code app creation
A Work OS like monday.com provides a no-code/low-code open platform where developers can create custom widgets, workflows, integrations, and apps. These can be used by developers’ own organizations or for commercial use by others. monday.com even has an apps Framework to make building custom apps simple and accessible.
Common challenges for mid-market businesses
Before we introduce you to the flexible, intuitive, and scalable tool that is the Work OS, let’s set the stage for why mid-market businesses should adopt one as a part of an efficient and strategic workflow.
If you can relate to any of the following challenges, it might be time to make the switch to a Work OS.
Challenge #1: Priority alignment and communication
According to a journal on mid-market challenges and mistakes published by Deloitte, often one of the biggest areas for improvement is in the approach to meeting their demands and performance goals. In the case of improving the alignment of priorities (and communicating this), the journal suggests that a “disciplined approach” to project selection can help take the emotion out of choosing:
- Which projects to pursue
- How to allocate resources to them
In their method, the core ingredient is using a structured process to evaluate and analyze several criteria of potential projects, like impact, scope, risk, and more.
With a Work OS, you won’t have to rely on static and cluttered spreadsheets and presentations to make those assessments or present them to leadership.
For example, with monday.com Work OS you can use the Program Risk Register template to visually and clearly manage action plans, identify risks, and even mitigate potential risks. You can use one board to determine high-priority actions, as well as who will handle them and when.
Challenge #2: Scaling operational processes
62% of organizations have modeled and standardized up to 25% of their business processes, and with good reason—it can make a big difference when it comes to the speed, productivity, and scalability of your business.
A Work OS can help with business process management, or the discipline of streamlining all repetitive workflows that happen within your organization. For example, you can create standardized forms, boards, and templates to help speed up internal processes. You can also automate routine tasks like data collection and reporting that relate to a number of processes, like client onboarding, billing, and accounting, or even sourcing raw materials.
A great example relates to IT requests—instead of having your already busy team members field individual messages and emails, you can organize them into a formal process with a form that populates an organized workflow. With less time spent on tracking down missing information and work, mid-market businesses can put more of their valuable time into their other goals.
Challenge #3: Finding and keeping top talent
According to EY, 61% of mid-market companies—those with between $50 million and $3 billion in annual revenue—say attracting and retaining talent are among their biggest challenges.
Despite the fact that substantial budget and resources are put into employer brand marketing, recruiting, and employee experience, mid-market companies can find it hard to position themselves as positive alternatives to larger organizations.
However, one area where efficient mid-market companies are edging out enterprises relates to leveraging technology and automation to improve workforce productivity. In EY’s Global Capital Confidence Barometer survey, 50% of respondents indicated that they are less risk-averse and more prone to embrace cutting-edge technology as a tool for enabling innovation and unlock growth potential.
Implementing a Work OS like monday.com is a great way to also signal to current and potential employees that the company is not only invested in its own innovation and growth, but the tools its employees use to better their own work productivity and experience.
Challenge #4: Getting a leg up on your competition
For any size business, but perhaps particularly the mobile mid-market sector, being aware of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses is extremely important when it comes to forming your own strategies and executing them. Keeping this information up-to-date, relevant, and easily accessible is another challenge altogether.
With monday.com, you can create boards and workspaces dedicated exactly to that. For example, your CS, marketing, and product teams need to be synced on this kind of information. Your organization can create your own competitors analysis workspace, where you store crucial documents, notes, and other materials related to this.
With our boards, you can use color and statuses to make the information digestible at a glance—or automations to notify stakeholders when new information is added. And you have a lasting knowledge repository to refer back to easily.
Challenge #5: Implementing workplace software
Making the decision to implement a new process let alone a new platform or tool is not without significance for any size business. And of course, a new resource like a Work OS’s value will truly shine when it is paired with strong leaders and ambassadors.
Here are a few common pain points associated with implementing new software—and how a Work OS like monday.com is built to bypass them.
Intensive setup and hardware maintenance cost
Traditional, on-premise hardware systems typically require more intensive IT staff maintenance and are more expensive than Work OS platforms. Why? When it comes to a cloud-based software, you’ll typically save on:
- Hardware or software license costs: One cost benefit of a Work OS is that you don’t have to make substantial upfront hardware investments, and therefore usually pay a smaller recurring fee, according to Executech. Also in contrast to traditional systems which require purchasing service licenses upfront, a Work OS monthly or annual subscription fee usually includes a portion of the license fees. You also won’t need to cover expenses to replace and maintain old or broken hardware. By saving money in these areas, a mid-market business can invest further in other areas such as hiring or scaling.
Frequent update requirements
Many mid-market organizations with traditional systems also have to be at the beck and call of mandatory and often frequent updates to their systems. This can be particularly challenging because customizations made on the last version of the software can not be easily adapted or duplicated in the latest version. Which also means they might decide to keep working on the outdated and less efficient systems.
A Work OS like monday.com mitigates this with customizable building blocks and drag and drop interface that can be duplicated quickly and easily, regardless of updates (which won’t hamper the entire workflow of customers). It also comes with pre-loaded templates, so nothing has to be built from scratch.
Lack of data availability and accessibility
Budget-minded mid-size businesses often end up using multiple systems dedicated for each department instead of investing in one Work OS. While this creates multiple data sources, it also means there will be a lack of data availability and accessibility for employees. The disorganization and inconsistency of this can create a lot of confusion and certainly wasted time trying to track down what is needed, or understand it.
A Work OS, however, serves as a single source of truth. This not just saves your money and efforts from deploying multiple applications but also enables stronger communication with a centralized data platform where you can:
- Integrate your favorite tools
- Communicate in context on work
- Upload, share, and view files
- Create documents with Workdocs
Loyalty to legacy systems
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to implementing a Work OS can be an organization’s loyalty to old or outdated systems, like spreadsheets for example. As a business grows, data will also increase and managing it all can get very complicated.
monday.com makes the switch much easier, because not only can you import your data and spreadsheets directly into the platform, but you won’t have to jump through hoops to get started:
How McChrystal Group increased revenue by 60% amid the COVID-19 outbreak
As an example of how monday.com Work OS gets mid-market businesses up and running fast to make an impact, let’s look at one of our customer stories—McChrystral Group.
Founded in 2011, the management consulting and leadership development firm is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, with the rest of the team dispersed remotely throughout the United States. They also have an office in London, England. But now, because of the Coronavirus outbreak, everyone at the firm has transitioned to working from home.
For years, they didn’t have a company-wide project management system and were therefore extremely reliant on spreadsheets, documents, presentation slides, and even individual teams using different preferred software.
How did they choose monday.com?
“We were considering several project management platforms over the summer, including Asana and at least two others. But then we discovered that our Analytics Division was also on the lookout for the same need and had already settled on monday.com,” says Shawn Murray, Chief Financial Officer.
One team had actually planned to do a 3-month trial to make their decision, but after about half of that period and seeing the speed with which they were able to learn and customize the platform, they were ready to use monday.com across the business.
In addition to using it for project management, they ultimately adopted monday.com as a CRM as well to build an entirely new sales pipeline as a result of the pandemic crisis. They actually walked away from an in-house CRM system they were developing in favor of monday.com! Read more of their story here.
Move forward with Work OS
Mid-market businesses are unique—from their size and revenue to the way their teams experience growth and change.
A Work OS like monday.com is built to support and help these teams navigate and scale through change, both rapid and gradual. When it comes to overcoming challenges related to communication, scaling, and ease of use, a centralized platform is the key to success.