JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Nearly one-third of South African SMEs (small and midsize enterprises) will generate 21%–40% of their revenue globally within the next three years, compared with 22% today. Over the same period, the number of local companies operating in six or more countries will rise from 16% to 39%.
These are some of the key findings of a global SME survey, titled “SMEs: Equipped to Compete“, which was commissioned by SAP and conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics. The study aims to better understand how SMEs around the world are using technology to boost innovation, strengthen customer relationships, improve agility, and expand their business. The organization, which is one of the world’s foremost independent global economic firms, specializing in global quantitative analysis, business and public-policy advice, surveyed 2,100 executives across 21 countries, including South Africa.
Speaking at an SME Forum event in Johannesburg today, SAP Africa’s Head of Ecosystem and Channels Desmond Nair said the findings reflect a “quiet but powerful transformation” in the SME sector that is fundamentally changing markets for companies of all sizes in South Africa.
“The survey shows that SMEs around the world and across various industries are making major changes to their business models, products and go-to-market strategies. Globalisation, transformation, and technology will be the hallmarks of successful companies, and, with a commitment to enter new markets and willingness to adopt technology innovations, SMEs have never been better positioned to win,” said Nair.
The findings also overturn some industry stereotypes of smaller companies as local or regional entities that are largely technophobic: 73% of South African SMEs view technology as the heart of their business transformation efforts and, despite economic uncertainty, leading-edge adopters are willing to invest in solutions that help them improve operations and become more efficient to gain a competitive edge in the larger world arena.
Other areas of focus are the expansion of product and service offerings, which was mentioned by 62% of South African SMEs, as well as strengthening customer relationships (59%).
The study also identified major issues affecting South African SMEs. This list is led by a concern of 68% about increased competition from foreign firms, followed by shifting customer expectations and demand (37%), as well as increasing labor costs and greater supply chain flexibility—each cited by 30% of South African SMEs.
Edward Cone, managing editor at Oxford Economics commented that looking at the survey from a BRICS point of view is an interesting exercise, as growth rates for new business startups in these five countries are much faster than in other countries.
“SMEs in the BRICS nations are just as affected by increasing globalisation, fierce competition, more empowered customers in new markets, and fast-changing technologies. They are transforming themselves to compete in the global market, and leveraging technology is clearly the prerequisite to help them do this,” he says. “Almost 70% agree that technology helps them achieve longevity and sustainable growth, with that percentage rising to 77% in Brazil and India.”
For more information, visit the SAP Newsroom.
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 248,500 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.
Note to editors:
To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.
For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:
SAP Africa (within SA): 0800 981334
SAP Africa (outside SA): +27 11 235 6045
Global Customer Centre: +49 180 534-34-24
United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)
For more information, press only:
Antonia Stafford Ashton, SAP Africa, +27 (21) 528 1700, email@example.com, CAT
Andrea Slater, FleishmanHillard, +27 (11) 548-2000, firstname.lastname@example.org, CAT