Infotech Lead India: 43 percent of global SMEs have trouble encouraging employees to use social media, according to a survey by SAP AG and Oxford Economics.
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.
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.
The survey of 2,100 executives from SMEs in 21 countries says the number of firms expecting to generate 40 percent of their revenue internationally jumps by 36 percent in the next three years.
15 percent SME 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.
Over half of respondents say they increasingly are forming partnerships with suppliers and other vendors located in countries outside their home markets.
The SAP survey said a similar number are increasingly collaborating with other firms via online business networks and platforms to 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.
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.
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.
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.
More than one-third of respondents cite creating a culture of innovation as a priority in their transformation efforts.
Eric Duffaut, president, Global Ecosystem and Channels, SAP AG, said: “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.”
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).
The survey looked at SMEs with an annual turnover of US $20 million–$750 million across the globe, SAP said.