Most people might not automatically put SAP and coffee in the same sentence. In fact, SAP’s customers produce more than 82 percent of the coffee and tea that people the entire world drink each day. Now the company has partnered with the Federación de Cafeteros de Colombia on a project designed to improve the lives of coffee farmers in The Republic of Colombia, the fourth largest producer of coffee in the world. As a result, 5,000 coffee farmers will have mobile tablets in their hands, providing anywhere, anytime connectivity to information vital for better decision-making.
In this video, coffee farmer Luis Fernando Tobon says that coffee is the most profitable plant in this small but important country at the northwestern tip of the South American continent. Tobon should know as his family’s only income for generations has come from the coffee bean. But with the advent of fierce global competition and unstable prices, Tobon is busy overcoming challenges his forbearers never dreamed of as they tended the land in this isolated countryside.
Internationalization has pushed technology to the forefront for many small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) today. According to a just released study from Oxford Economics, successful high-growth SMEs are thinking and acting on an international scale, competing even more with larger rivals, and investing aggressively in technology to improve operations and become more nimble. Colombian companies (76 percent) are by far the most concerned of any region about an increase in competition from companies in other countries. This infographic summarizes all of the research findings, and this fact sheet has the results from SMEs in Colombia.
What’s interesting is that emerging markets (55 percent) and Latin American companies (58 percent) place an especially high emphasis on innovation.Two-thirds of respondents strongly believe technology helps them achieve longevity and sustainable growth, and well over half say that technology is at the heart of their business transformation efforts. Mobile technologies are seen as transformational by 60 percent of SMEs—and by 70 percent of the most profitable companies.
Tobon says that having access to the technology provided by SAP has profoundly transformed his life, changing the way he and other farmers think and interact with the world. He appreciates the ability to quickly check coffee prices and decide on the best time to sell his coffee before making the long trek to the next selling market. Using an informational portal powered by SAP technology, he can answer emails and collaborate with other farmers instantly. He credits the technology for building a stronger community which he believes is creating a more modern Colombia and prosperous future for everyone.
It’s no wonder that nearly two-thirds of surveyed SMEs realize they must transform to stay ahead of the competition, and over half say that technology developments are making traditional ways of doing business obsolete. Partnerships between private enterprise and organizations like Federación de Cafeteros de Colombia that include technology and training can help energize SMEs to compete with success in an increasingly globalized world.
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