NEW YORK — A study released today by SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) shows that three out of four small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) see IT and technology vendors not just as an external resource but as vital to their business.
More and more technology vendors are being used by business leaders for consultation (76 percent), for insight and advice (79 percent) and to anticipate needs and risks (76 percent).
The SAP Business Partnership Study*, which polled 300 SMEs in the United States and 300 in Germany, explored the emotional and intellectual factors that drive these partnerships. The traits were similar to what one would expect in a personal relationship: more than three-fourths (80 percent) of business leaders surveyed said trust and cultural fit were significantly more important than cost savings.
“We are in the midst of unprecedented societal change, which poses both tremendous opportunity and challenges for today’s business leaders,” said Rodolpho Cardenuto, president, Global Channels & General Business, SAP. “In this environment, trust and mutual respect for culture have never been more important. They are the bedrock of all successful business relationships. We’ve seen what amazing things can happen when these qualities are nurtured and developed.”
Other key highlights of the study include:
- Almost three-fourths (74 percent) of U.S. respondents say their business aims to maintain their most important IT and technology partnership long term. They say that investment in a reliable partner is more vital to business growth than investing in the technology itself.
- Participants cite collaboration (70 percent), honesty (81 percent) and open communication (78 percent) about what is and isn’t working as crucial factors in selecting an IT or technology partner to do business with.
- More than three-fourths (United States 81 percent; Germany 77 percent) of respondents felt that successful business relationships helped facilitate knowledge exchange and learning.
“The results of this survey demonstrate that today’s SMEs are changing how they measure return on investment,” said Dr. Avan Jassawalla, professor of management, State University of New York at Geneseo. “They are now looking for technology partners rather than simply providers of technology services. To ensure these long-term relationships lead to growth both technologically and culturally, vendors must become as savvy in interpersonal skills as they are in technology.”
An infographic of the study can be downloaded here.
*The SAP Business Partnership Study survey was conducted online by Research Now on behalf of SAP in October 2017 and consisted of feedback from 300 IT decision-makers from SMEs (100–4,999 employees) in the United States and 300 in Germany. Companies surveyed represented a variety of industries, including professional services, consumer product goods, retail, wholesale and manufacturing. All analyses were performed by FH Global Intelligence. The full results can be found here.
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