Buried beneath the avalanche of doomsday economic headlines is a bright and shining truth about who is best positioned to jump-start growth. Many believe small and midsize businesses are the real backbone of the economy, able to drive innovation, job creation, and economic stability. Consider these facts:
- In Europe, 95% of all businesses are small businesses (European)
- Over past two decades, 65% of jobs in the United States have been created by small businesses (U.S. Small Business Administration).
- In South Africa – where unemployment is as high as 40%–80% of new jobs are being created by businesses with fewer than 50 workers (according to the finance minister of Southafrica Pravin Grodhan)
- Across India, small and midsize companies conducting international business activities are expected to rise from 31% to 56% by 2013 (Business Standard).
- Some 16 million small and midsize companies are responsible for 20% of Brazil’s GDP and employ 60 million people (SEBRAE)
SAP has rallied employees and partners around a unified strategy to bring small and midsize businesses in all countries the technologies they need to grow. Eric Duffaut, President, Global Ecosystem & Channels, calls small and midsize businesses the backbone of the global economy and a critical part of the emerging global business network. He explains, “SAP is uniquely positioned to support SMEs with a dedicated portfolio of solutions that fits the way they do business and want to use business applications, so they can grow their business and strengthen their competitiveness vs. large players without losing their agility and customer intimacy. We are also bringing our key technology innovations in mobile, cloud and HANA, our in-memory computing product, into our SME solutions portfolio.”
To support SME customers in all industries worldwide with these solutions, Duffaut adds that SAP has a rapidly expanding partner ecosystem. Over 30% of SAP’s software revenue comes from the company’s 11,500+ partners worldwide. By 2015, SAP’s goal is to generate more than 40% of its software revenue from partners. Duffaut says the only way to achieve this is by accelerating growth for all routes to market.
SAP’s New Heritage: For Great Companies of All Sizes
Many people may be surprised to learn that nearly 80% of SAP’s customers are small and midsize companies. The portfolio encompasses SAP Business One on-premise and in the cloud for smaller companies, SAP Business All-in-One for on-premise and hosted, scalable, verticalized ERP suite solutions, and the cloud-based Business ByDesign product. All of these solutions also have strong appeal to subsidiaries in search of the performance benefits of standardized, connectivity across systems without sacrificing local autonomy for differentiation. Most important, they deliver the end-to-end visibility that gets companies closer to customers.
Bobby Vetter, Senior Vice President, Global Ecosystem & Channels Readiness, explains, “Our solutions are designed to address what smaller and midsize businesses need most – ease of use and implementation, and lower TCO short and long-term thanks to a common architecture. With immediate access to the right information, businesses can develop and deliver new products and services that increase revenue and change customers’ lives for the better.”
A good example is SAP Business One which is available in over 120 countries, 27 languages, and 41 country localizations. With over 50,000 downloads of its mobile app from iTunes, Vetter says SAP Business One delivers the industry specific capabilities smaller companies need for both best practices and differentiation. What’s more, because all the business processes are integrated, it’s easy for customers to connect their entire supply chain from external source to shop floor to customer-facing employees. In today’s fast-paced, globalized business world, this can mean the difference between failure and success.
“SAP allows companies of all sizes to transform their businesses, achieving highly sophisticated value chains for greater speed, transparency, and efficiencies,” says Vetter. “If you want to expand your business, we make sure you’re not restricted to one country, one industry, or one language. End-to-end connectivity across operations, geographies, and international regulatory environments is crucial to compete with success.”
Available in 120 countries, SAP Business One is ideally suited to helping fast- growing companies expand. This is precisely why OSI Group selected SAP Business One to update the business management software for its Asia-Pacific region. An international food-processing company with over 50 facilities in 17 countries worldwide, OSI depends on close customer-supplier relationships. SAP Business One gives OSI end to end transparency that traces products from point of origin through inspection. Working with local implementation partner Shanghai MTC Information Technology Co., OSI reengineered business processes to make the most of SAP standardized functionality as well as food industry best practices. With real-time data access managers make faster, better decisions, and the company meets its quality objectives.
“The software addresses the entire spectrum of our business operations so we can make tangible improvements in operational efficiency,” Steven Zhang, VP and CFO. “It can also help us enhance internal controls and be more responsive to market demands while supporting decisions to improve service quality and customer satisfaction.”
SAP Business All-in-One
The beauty of SAP Business All-in-One solutions is that midsize companies receive the same benefits of the SAP Business Suite, but in easily consumable pre-configured partner offerings. Available in more than 55 countries with over 600 industry specific partner solutions, SAP Business All-in-One delivers best practices previously available only to the largest enterprises.
“When you take SAP’s business process expertise by industry and add the specialized local knowledge our partners have of verticals and micro-verticals, we are uniquely positioned to meet the in-depth industry requirements of fast-growing small and midsize companies everywhere,” said Todd Idler, Director, Ecosystem & Channels Solution Marketing. “We free up their resources so they can innovate to deliver new products and services that change customers’ lives for the better.”
Beautiful Software Brings Beautiful Furniture Worldwide
Ethnicraft is an SAP Business All-in-One customer that typifies the growth-driven demands of midsize customers. Begun by two Belgium entrepreneurs who were committed to create distinctive wooden furniture, Ethnicraft now has a branch in France, manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Serbia, and exports its products throughout Europe. They turned to SAP for an integrated, scalable, multilingual solution across applications, facilities, and processes worldwide.
With the support of SAP partner, Expertum, Ethnicraft integrated financial, logistic and sales processes. Better forecasting and inventory and services management, as well as centralized customer data helps Ethnicraft deliver first-class customer service. The company has significantly improved stock levels, reducing out-of-stock items and surpluses for cost savings. At the same time, real-time visibility into sales data by product as well as customer information, provides insights to meet fast-changing market demands and fuel growth.
“SAP offers end-to-end support and the insight we needed, allowing us to raise efficiency, cut costs and make better decisions,” says Stefan Dusart, Ethnicraft COO. “We will definitely keep investing in SAP in the future. The package is scalable, ready to grow in line with Ethnicraft’s expansion. With SAP behind us, we are all geared up for the future.”
When Entrepreneurs Succeed Everybody Wins
Everyone agrees that small businesses create significant economic value. This is why SAPis inviting organizations that empower entrepreneurs from around the world to compete in “The Power of Small: Entrepreneurs Strengthening Local Economies,” an online global competition jointly sponsored by leading NGO, Ashoka. The competition is open to individuals and organizations that offer innovative strategies to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and thrive in underserved communities. Strategies can be either conceptual or already implemented, but must focus on giving entrepreneurs in both emerging and established markets the infrastructure to reach their full potential and impact society for the better. Four winners will receive a capital, technology, and promotion package. This includes a cash prize of US$10,000, SAP technology to optimize performance and scale operations, and promotional and networking opportunities at the SAP SAPPHIRE NOW Conference in Madrid, Spain to be held November 13-15.
“SAP was co-founded by five entrepreneurs 40 years ago, and since then innovation driven growth is the cornerstone of SAP’s success”, explains Duffaut. “By supporting programs that give entrepreneurs and small businesses greater access to funding, education and training, global supply chains and more, we’re helping create sustainable local economies that ultimately spur the growth of a larger national and even global market.”