SMEs Are Adopting a Global Mindset

                      SMEs Are Adopting a Global Mindset

Oxford Economics' Global Study Sponsored by SAP Reveals Small and Midsize
Firms That Do Business in Six or More Countries Will More Than Double in Three

PR Newswire

WALLDORF, Germany, July 2, 2013

WALLDORF, Germany, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) and Oxford
Economics today announced survey findings by the Oxford Economics research
program, sponsored by SAP, that show small and midsize enterprises (SMEs)
around the world and across industries are making major changes to their
business models, products and go-to-market strategies. SMEs are also competing
with larger companies by investing in technology to improve operations and
become more efficient. The survey of 2,100 executives from SMEs in 21
countries shows they believe they are equipped to compete with larger firms
and have some clear advantages over them. The findings overturn some industry
stereotypes of smaller companies as local or regional entities that are
largely technophobic. The survey looked at SMEs with an annual turnover of US
$20 million–$750 million across the globe.


"The overarching finding of the study was that successful SMEs are going
outside of their home market to accelerate growth. And by doing so, they face
fierce competition from large multinational corporations and more empowered
customers in new markets," said Eric Duffaut, president, Global Ecosystem and
Channels, SAP AG. "In their new international or even global landscape,
business network and latest technology innovations are more and more required
by SMEs to evolve their business models and effectively compete."

Important findings from the research include:

  oSMEs are expected to grow outside their home markets while facing
    increasing global competition at home. The number of firms expecting to
    generate as much as 40 percent of their revenue internationally jumps by
    36 percent in the next three years. Fifteen percent of respondents
    currently do business in six or more countries today, a figure that is
    expected to rise to 35 percent in three years based on survey responses.
    More than one-quarter of respondents cite increasing global competition
    among the top three trends affecting their business today. Nearly 60
    percent say competition from companies in other countries has increased
    substantially in the past two years. And 59 percent say they are competing
    more with larger companies now than in the past.
  oSMEs are forming networks around the globe. Over half of respondents say
    they increasingly are forming partnerships with suppliers and other
    vendors located in countries outside their home markets. A similar number
    are increasingly collaborating with other firms via online business
    networks and platforms to help drive innovation and growth. Nearly 40
    percent of SMEs cite forming strategic partnerships and alliances as a key
    challenge as they remake their companies for the global marketplace. North
    American companies (60 percent) and both the largest (60 percent) and most
    profitable (62 percent) firms are more likely than companies from Latin
    America (50 percent) and those with a profit margin below zero percent to
    say they have boosted collaboration with other firms via online business
    networks and platforms. Cloud computing and social media are believed to
    be important enablers.
  oSMEs recognize they must embrace business transformation to compete.
    Two-thirds of all companies surveyed are at some stage of the
    transformation process (about to begin, in process, or recently
    completed), with transformation understood to help achieve significant
    changes to their company's business models, technology, product offerings,
    or go-to-market strategy.
  oTechnology is important for SMEs and a major element of transformation.
    Investing in new technologies appears to be a top strategic priority as
    SMEs remake their businesses for the global marketplace, including
    business management software, data analytics, mobile, social media, and
    cloud computing. Almost two-thirds strongly believe technology helps them
    achieve longevity and sustainable growth. Overall, 35 percent of
    respondents identify themselves as early adopters; the figure rises to 42
    percent for discrete manufacturers and to 47 percent for firms in North
    America. Additionally, less than one-third of respondents say their firm
    lacks the technology capabilities of larger competitors and only slightly
    more than one-quarter say they struggle to understand how technology can
    create measurable benefits for their firm.
  oInnovative technology is a key to help enter new markets and create strong
    customer relationships. More than one-third of respondents cite creating a
    culture of innovation as a leading priority in their transformation
    efforts. Regionally, emerging markets* (55 percent) and Latin American
    companies (58 percent) place an especially high emphasis on innovation.
    Emerging-market companies also are more likely (54 percent) to expect
    growth to be driven by new product and service offerings than those in
    developed markets (43 percent). Mobile is the leading technology driver of
    competitive advantage for SMEs as well as an important driver of
    innovation; respondents cite improved innovation as the biggest benefit of
    mobile adoption, more than other technologies considered.
  oSMEs are job engines but face cultural obstacles to technology adoption.
    Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents are actively hiring employees to
    support their growth activities. SMEs face the same issues as their larger
    competitors; 39 percent find it increasingly difficult to recruit people
    with the right skills. According to 31 percent of responses, encouraging
    employees to use mobile technology is one hurdle, while 35 percent say
    lack of understanding of the benefits of cloud computing is an issue. And
    43 percent of SMEs indicated they have trouble encouraging employees to
    embrace social media.

"The road ahead is well marked for SMEs," said Edward Cone, managing editor
and senior analyst at Oxford Economics. "Globalization, transformation and
technology will be the hallmarks of successful small and midsize companies."

For more information, visit the SAP Newsroom.

*Emerging markets are considered as Brazil, Chile, China. Colombia. Czech
Republic, Hungary, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa

About the Research
This research program is based on an online survey conducted in April 2013.
Survey respondents came from 21 countries around the world, with the total of
2,100 responses evenly divided (100 respondents each) among the following:
Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France,
Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia,
South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Industries
represented include discrete manufacturing (25 percent), professional services
(21 percent), consumer products (22 percent), retail (17 percent), and
wholesale (16 percent). Respondents are C-level executives or direct reports,
including CEO/President/Owner (10 percent) and a broad mix of senior leaders
from IT, sales, finance, operations, marketing, and procurement. Revenue at
respondent firms ranges from $20 million–$99 million (27 percent) to $100
million–$249 million (23 percent), to $250 million–$499 million (29 percent),
and $500 million–$750 million (20 percent).

About Oxford Economics
Oxford Economics was founded in 1981 as a commercial venture with Oxford
University's business college to provide economic advice and forecasts to
international organizations. Since then, it has become one of the world's
foremost independent global economic firms, producing forecasts, analysis, and
data on 190 countries and regions, 100 industries, and 2,600 sub-regions and
cities. Its team includes over 80 professional economists, industry analysts,
and management experts.

Oxford Economics specializes in global quantitative analysis, and business and
public-policy advice. The firm offers a sophisticated portfolio of forecasting
services, consisting of regular reports, databases, and models on countries,
cities, and industries. Oxford Economics is renowned for its evidence-based
consulting and thought leadership services, including economic impact studies,
scenario analysis, business modeling, risk assessment, market sizing,
executive surveys, white papers, and public-sector analysis. The firm is
distinguished by the quality of its quantitative analysis, caliber of its
staff, and close links with Oxford University. For more information, visit

About SAP
As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps
companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to
boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers
people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business
insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications
and services enable more than 238,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt
continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit

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