The 8th SAP SME Summit opened November 17 in New York City with the theme “Small Giants” – in recognition of the influence small businesses exert in the global economy.
According to Gartner, small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) will represent 50% of North American revenue in four years.
“Small and midsize businesses are known as the giants of the economy,” stated moderator and host Susan Solovic, a best-selling author and media personality known as The Small Business Expert, in her opening remarks. “They’re the job creators; they’re the ones who drive innovation; and they’re the economic engines behind our economies.
“As passionate risk takers, these entrepreneurs need the right partners and the right solutions to help them achieve their business dreams,” Solovic emphasized. “They need the right resources – and no one is equipped better to do that than SAP.”
Digital Transformation: Small Business Perspective
The one-day event was the first live event to be held at SAP’s new offices in Hudson Yards in New York City. Twice the size of last year’s summit, this event attracted a global audience that included almost 50 bloggers, journalists, and industry analysts. More than 15 SAP customers and partners were on hand to share their digital transformation stories and participate in panel discussions.
Asked to describe what digital transformation means for a growing business, Rodolpho Cardenuto, president Global Channels and General Business, SAP, responded by saying that, although we tend to think of digital transformation in the context of large enterprises, the fact is small and midsize companies are operating in the same complex business environment. “It’s very difficult to manage your business today,” said Cardenuto, underscoring the need for businesses to have the right digital tools. “SAP is providing small and midsize companies the same level of tools and solutions that a large enterprise would use. It’s no different.”
Referencing SAP’s solution chart for small and midsize companies, Cardenuto added, “The largest retailer in the world is using that solution; the smallest retailer in the world also has the opportunity to use that solution. SAP makes it possible for growing companies to be at par with the large enterprises in terms of solutions and technology.”
SAP’s portfolio of small and midsize business solutions provides small businesses with the digital tools to tackle the end-to-end management of their businesses in four key areas: 1.) Manage the business – using a series of ERP-related products like SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Business One, SAP Concur, and SAP Ariba; 2.) Empower people – using SAP SuccessFactors; 3.) Engage with customers and prospects – using SAP BusinessObjects; and 4.) Anticipate the future – using predictive analytics based on big data and business insights from SAP Hybris and SAP Anywhere to accelerate decision making.
For an overview of SAP’s SME offering, watch the event replay on Facebook.
SAP’s strategy for meeting the needs of small businesses is crafted upon enabling them to better reach and serve their own customers. “In the small business space, think about the reasons small businesses are procuring software. It’s to grow and acquire customers,” said Barry Padgett, president, SMB Team, SAP, outlines SAP’s strategy for penetrating the small business market. “There’s a big focus for SAP in the front office space. Think about e-commerce, omni-channel digital marketing, or CRM. These are the reasons small businesses are buying software. So, you’re seeing big bets by SAP in that space.
SAP: A Partner for Long-Term Growth
During the panel discussions, customers and partners shared their experiences and impressions from their digital transformation journeys. Many were satisfied that SAP would continue to be there for them as their businesses grew. As one panelist said, “We rely on the solutions to keep evolving in the future.”
Jeff Becker, CEO of Microbattery.com and an SAP Anywhere customer, advised other growing businesses that are considering a purchase of SAP solutions to “look to the future. Don’t think about what is going to happen six months after implementation. Look at 7 or 8 years from now, where you want to be with the system. Your back office is going to be phenomenally more important than your front office. My front office can go down; it probably won’t ever, but if it does, my back office stills runs – and my business still runs.”
Solovic underscored Becker’s point, sharing her observations from years of mentoring entrepreneurs and small business owners. “I think a lot of times what happens is small businesses get started and they take the path of least resistance,” she said. “They buy the easiest thing to implement right now, short term. They start growing and they hit this wall. They don’t have the expertise and the support to really get to that next level.”
This blog originally appeared on the SAP News Center.
Photo source: SAP