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Big versus small business: the experimentation divide

Big versus small business: the experimentation divide

In the recently released 2019 Australian Experimentation Maturity Index, results showed that enterprises and small businesses were outpacing their middle market counterparts when it came to experimentation maturity. Experimentation is a significant trend in countries such as the USA, where organisations that have a culture of experimentation enjoy a 750% growth rate compared to similar organisations that don’t use experimentation as a standard business practice. Because of this success, it has caught on as ‘the thing to do’ or at least ‘the thing to try’, especially with bigger organisations, which have enjoyed an early adopter advantage. Small businesses soon followed suit to access similar benefits, leaving the mid-market behind. We predict this gap will narrow in the coming years as mid-sized businesses catch up due to the wealth of information available and more support than ever to help them accelerate. Larger organisations also make up the bulk of respondents that indicate they intend to scale or build their experimentation maturity. This is often easier with greater velocity, that is, number of tests run per month. Because larger brands often benefit from higher volumes of traffic, which makes it easier to run more tests, they have a general advantage over smaller businesses in this regard. This isn’t to say small-to-medium-sized business don’t intend to scale and mature, just that size, resources and traffic volumes may limit their ability to do this at the same pace as larger organisations. In short, larger companies are more likely to recognise experimentation as worth doing, start an experimentation program and invest more in the people and tools that will help the program succeed and accelerate its maturity compared to their smaller (small and mid-sized) counterparts. While small businesses have begun to value experimentation, with many already working towards maturity, mid-sized organisations have some catching up to do, with a majority still in the initial stages.   Bridging the experimentation gap Experimentation as a culture in Australia is still emerging and as the general uptake grows, we predict that the speed of maturity will pick up the pace for those in the initial stages of their journey. This will largely come from community knowledge sharing and better support as well as greater momentum driven by a more solid platform of lessons and services from which to launch. Knowledge sharing is one area where smaller organisations have an advantage over larger ones. While only 35% of organisations actively share the findings of experiments, according to the index, most of these are smaller businesses where it is easier to disseminate analysis and influence change. There is a direct correlation between sharing results and the speed in experimentation maturity, and this is one way smaller organisations can bridge the maturity gap. On the other hand, one of the biggest obstacles to experimentation maturity for smaller organisations is a lack of resources, ranging from skills and expertise to tools and technology. A simple and affordable way to overcome this is to hire an agency that can assist in accelerating learning by working alongside inhouse staff to run tests, analyse results and help implement beneficial changes. An agency will also have access to suitable tools and technology and can train an inhouse team on their use. If executed properly, this is a partnership that can have ongoing effects on company growth. One essential factor is the extent to which the business understands experimentation as a cultural change, not just the purchase of a service, so it’s important that the agency embodies this mindset and has a positive influence on the business’ transition. It’s clear that while larger enterprises enjoy many advantages over smaller businesses that currently enables them to leap ahead in experimentation maturity, the gap will narrow in the coming years as the experimentation community grows stronger and small and mid-size organisations use the assistance of agencies to accelerate their growth, achieve maturity and instil its culture. ENDS   This article is one of a five part series breaking down the key findings of the 2019 Australian Experimentation Maturity Index. To read more about why we're tracking experimentation maturity in Australia please click here   For a copy of the report or for further information please don't hesitate to get in touch via hello@newrepublique.com or leave a comment in the section below.