How Globally Minded SMEs Are Winning Through Collaboration

collaboration in actionIn my previous blog, I talked about how small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) are targeting international markets to deliver on their growth strategy. Today, we’ll take this discussion further by looking at the role of collaboration and how SMEs are incorporating collaboration into their innovation and growth strategies.

In markets across the world, SMEs are more and more able to compete with large enterprises. Findings from a research study by Oxford Economics, SMEs: Equipped to Compete indicate that 13% of SMEs are reluctant to adopt new technologies. And almost two-thirds strongly believe technology helps them achieve longevity and sustainable growth.  Why cite these stats?  Almost two-thirds of those surveyed strongly believe technology is critical to achieving longevity and sustainable growth.

To this end, the ability to predict, adapt and respond quickly to market conditions and customer needs is the major driver in how SMEs prioritize and invest in technology.    With this in mind, when it comes to where SMEs will invest, business management software is the top focus at 50%, followed by analytics (43%), enterprise mobility (37%), social media (36%), and cloud computing (34%).  SMEs are clearly taking a prudent approach – first committing resources to the building blocks for business growth and innovation with the goal of improving insight across the business.

Armed with more useful and comprehensive business intelligence, SMEs are increasingly turning to partnerships and collaboration to innovate products and services. For example, Polish bus-maker Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. collaborates online with suppliers and vendors in international markets to discuss contract and design details and to set up shared software. The company also establishes formal partnerships with makers of vehicle components for detailing and developing vehicles. Video conferencing is used extensively, saving time and travel costs, with less need for face-to-face meetings.

For SMEs, the advantages of creating alliances and partnerships are many —  faster to market, faster return on investment in new and emerging markets,  reduced capital requirements – all helping SMEs achieve global presence with significantly less risk.   Strengthening  competitive positions in multiple markets. Simplifying supply chains and  improving service delivery. Successful SMEs are achieving these goals through partnerships, and many are now tapping into online business networks and platforms to collaborate and drive innovation and growth.

Forging strategic partnerships and alliances are empowering SMEs to seize opportunities on the global stage. In fact, their size may give them the upper hand over bigger players – having a more adaptive culture means less red tape.

How is technology enabling collaboration for your business? How are you developing the competencies needed to compete globally?  Visit our SME Community Experts page for more information on the Oxford Economics study.