I was honored to attend the 8th annual SAP SME Summit in NYC. The event included SAP executives, their customers, SME experts, and media from various industries. There were numerous takeaways from the Summit; I decided to focus on two key topics that resonated throughout the event:

1) SAP Helps Small & Midsize Enterprises

According to an SAP press release, approximately 80 percent of the company’s customers (roughly 250k businesses) are either small or midsize enterprises. In the first half of 2016, SAP signed up over 13,000 new SME customers. At the Summit, several SME customers and partners shared stories about growing their businesses with the help of various SAP solutions.  They included:

Dickinson and Associates – Don Dickinson founded the company in 1998. He was on a partner panel at the Summit hosted by SAP executive Rodolpho Cardenuto. Dickinson talked about his company’s struggle with technology before investing in S/4HANA Cloud as their digital foundation. As a result, Dickinson & Associates is able to review their processes and make changes to their business in real-time.

Microbattery.com – Jeff Becker, CEO, Microbattery.com, joined a panel of SAP customers in a discussion led by Barry Padgett, President of SAP’s SMB Solutions Group. Becker’s company is a leading provider of micro batteries in North and South America. His SAP success story focused on the new SAP Anywhere product that helped his brand with sales and marketing in both the B2B and B2C worlds.

2) Big Data is a Secret Weapon for Small and Midsize Enterprises 

Throughout the Summit, examples were shared about how different small and midsize companies use technology to grow their respective businesses. In the afternoon portion of the conference, SBE Council President Karen Kerrigan, Small Business Expert Barbara Weltman, andSummit host Susan Solovic joined SAP’s Ursula Ringham for a special edition of SMB Talks to discuss big data and small business. The 25-minute conversation is filled with excellent tips and practical takeaway ideas for business owners interested in harnessing big data into actionable next-steps in their businesses. Here is a link to the video of the session recorded on Facebook Live. Some of the key pieces of advice included:

  • Use big data for external purposes (measuring industry and community trends) as well as internal purposes (sales, customer demos, marketing campaigns)
  • Find out what motivates your customers? They all want to feel special and have their needs met. Create analytical reports to answer these questions.
  • Big data can help business owners take the guess-work out of deciding what’s important to customers. There should be no more “throwing spaghetti against the wall.”
  • Used correctly, big data can give small businesses a competitive edge in the marketplace. Savvy companies will be viewed as “problem-solvers” and not just small businesses.

I’ve been fortunate to have attended three of the eight SAP SME Summits. Although previous summits were inspiring and filled with motivational success stories, this year’s summit was the best one to date. There was a confidence in the air among SAP’s customers and partners that 2017 was going to be their year. Technology, Social Media, and harnessing big data are just a few of the many resources businesses have to help them get ahead next year. I can’t wait to see what transpires at the 9th Annual SAP SME Summit.

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