5 March 2014

SMEs which adopt the latest IT tools earn more: survey

Tech-savvy small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) created more new jobs and drove more revenue gains over the past three years than SMEs using little technology, according to Ahead of the Curve: Lessons on Technology and Growth From Small Business Leaders, commissioned by Microsoft  and independently conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm and a leading adviser on business strategy.
The study, completed in October 2013, surveyed 4,000 SMEs in five of the world’s largest and most diverse economies, US, Germany, China, India, Brazil; and secondary research in 19 countries*, including Singapore.
Vincent Wong, Director, Small Mid-Market Solutions and Partner Group, Microsoft Singapore, said: “SMEs are a critical growth engine for jobs and economies today in Singapore. The BCG report, Ahead of the Curve, Lessons on Technology and Growth From Small Business Leaders, has proven that greater use of advanced IT by SMEs can boost both growth and employment.”
BCG’s research found that over the past three years, IT-enabled SMEs, which BCG refers to as “technology leaders,” grew revenues 15 percentage points faster and created twice as many jobs than SMEs that use less technology. 

The research also revealed that across nearly all product categories, these fast-growing SMEs use more Microsoft solutions than any other products, and that SMEs view Microsoft as the top partner for new and future technology needs. In fact, when asked what technologies survey respondents could not live without, they chose Microsoft Office as the top productivity application over all others. What’s more, SMEs that adopted Microsoft Cloud services grew faster than SMEs that do not use any Microsoft products. 
The BCG report argued that the latest wave of technological advancement, such as cloud services, brings potential for the most far-reaching innovation and business growth ever, creating an opportunity for more SMEs to achieve the growth rates of technology leaders by leveraging technology to fuel productivity and growth. 

The research revealed that high-performing SMEs stayed ahead of mainstream IT adoption, riding new waves of advancement to improve productivity, connect with new customers and markets, particularly outside their own region or country, and compete with much larger players. These companies employ the full range of available tools — from productivity software to Internet connectivity and cloud-based services.
Microsoft is a key industry partner in Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (SCCCI's) drive to continuously and proactively promote IT awareness and adoption among its SME members. SCCCI’s Vice-President, Lau Tai San said: “Today’s dynamic and volatile business environment requires SMEs to be even more agile and innovative. We strongly believe that IT is a key enabler of growth for all businesses in this connected and digital world. We certainly encourage business owners to be bold and forward-looking in investing in technology so as to achieve greater productivity and collaboration among their employees, customers and partners.”
Other key findings of the survey included:
·      High tech SMEs in developed markets such as Singapore had 10 points higher job growth and 13 points higher revenue CAGRs;
·      Developed market SMEs using Microsoft cloud tools report enhanced flexibility (43%), data security (40%), and innovation (35%);
·      High concerns over data security (42%) in general, with privacy concerns cited as a barrier (34%) for IT adoption even more than cost (32%); and
·      Microsoft’s cloud tools address SMEs' security concerns, and can help enhance profitability (44%) and customer satisfaction (56%).
Wong added: “Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to helping SMEs harness technology for growth. In Singapore, our efforts extend beyond sales where we proactively work with our industry partners to ensure that SMEs have the necessary training to maximise usage of IT, as well running programmes such as BizSpark and YouthSpark to provide the tools and connections to nurture a new generation of IT entrepreneurs.”
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
More about how Microsoft is working with SMEs in Singapore can be found here.

*Secondary research was conducted in the following markets: Australia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Canada