This new decade has begun with unexpected challenges and outbreak changes for every company worldwide, and of course for Small and Midsize Enterprises as well. SAP can support people and organizations to manage current scenarios: we take our mission of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives very seriously.
What are some of most relevant challenges SMEs must deal with?
- Changes in consumer behavior. Even more than in the past consumers will use e-commerce platforms, social networks and mobile applications to purchase goods and services: people prefer to do remote/online transactions rather than visiting stores or service centers.
- Processes flexibility. Concepts like flexibility, adaption and agility would become mandatory for SMEs. You can consider how some companies in consumer industry have to adapt supply chain processes to meet unexpected new increasing in demand, or how purchasing processes are affected by shortage in spare parts and consumables availability due to lock-downs actions made in several countries worldwide.
- Changes in social and workers behaviors, that bring drastic changes in workforce mobility and a need of distributed software usable as services.
- Innovation as a must to respond to actual and future challenges and to stay competitive
How to respond to these challenges?
- Experience Management. Being connected and listening to customers, employees and suppliers is now even more important for a successful business.
- Platforms and technology agility to support business processes flexibility. SMEs need a robust, flexible and easy to adapt Digital Core ERP system, empowered with loosely coupled innovative technologies consumed as a service (ref. Loosely Coupled Solutions for SMBs Topics)
- Software as a Service. Systems and technologies must be consumed as service, enabling easy remote collaboration and job activities, reducing the impact of constraints on face to face execution, without reducing quality of service to end customers.
- Real time insights. Gain real time insights to define reasonable actions in almost every aspect of each business. The ability to combine available data, analyze, and visualize it, will be key to success.
- Intelligent Technologies adoption to help SMEs becoming Intelligent Enterprises.
How can SAP support SMEs?
SAP strategy to support companies is Intelligent Enterprise.
Operational data (O) like costs, revenues, and sales refer to what is happening in company business. But companies also need Experience data (X) to understand the feelings of the customers and employees and why things are happening. SAP acquired Qualtrics in 2018, envisioning a new fuel for the companies, called X+O: experience and operational data working together for better results.
Operational data (O) and experience data (X) can be combined together and can gain Intelligence leveraging technologies available in SAP Cloud Platform and helping SMEs to innovate.
- Suite in a box. Both solutions offer built in processes (e.g. order to cash or procure to pay etc.) for everything from finance and sales to product management and purchasing. This means you’ll be up and running fast with the best in class processes driving your business. Both solutions leverage 40 years of business process experience to work for SMEs organization and make them focus on what they do best: their business. That means companies don’t have to spend time developing or rethinking business processes.
- Cloud. SAP meets different SME customers deployment requirements, ranging from private and partner managed cloud with SAP Business One to public cloud with SAP Business ByDesign. This allows remote collaboration among employees and business partners, and enable a more easy and flexible way to consume system and technology. Beside that, SAP Business One can be deployed on-premise too.
- Insightful. Real time analytic is embedded and it is part of every process, so company can get full transparency into every aspect of its operation and the insight to make business-growing decisions. Because analytics are embedded into every process, company can share and see data across functions and departments and arm its team with the more accurate, timely and complete insight they need to make informed decisions.
- Scalable-Flexible. Both solutions are highly flexible and scalable to let companies start simple and grow as their needs change. Easy and extensive configurability supports companies to simply and quickly adapt processes and procedures to business changes. Companies can also benefit of an intuitive, easy-to-use, modern user interface.
- Mobile. Several out-of-the-box mobile apps are available to extended sales, services and project management business processes, in order to additionally increase process flexibility and remote collaboration.
- Global. Both solutions offer all capabilities companies need to expand internationally. Depending on the country, localization features are either delivered by SAP itself or by certified SAP partners.
Intelligent enterprise for SMEs
At begging of 2019 we launched SME Partner Innovation Program, with the purpose to boost intelligent technologies adoption on our partners ecosystem and consequently to our SMEs customers.
Result was amazing: we collected interest from around 80 partners worldwide who submitted 166 projects levering different Intelligent Technologies, such as AR-Augmented Reality, Block-chain, Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligent and Machine Learning, Chat-bot and Internet of Things.
Out of these 166 projects, 69 were finalized within 2019 delivering innovative solutions that can now be offered to SMEs customers to support them becoming Intelligent Enterprise.
These 69 projects have been documented in this great SME Business Innovation playbook
Special thanks must go to all SAP Business One & SAP Business ByDesign Partners for helping us provide these innovation stories, and of course we look forward to continuing the innovation journey with them, documenting even more successes along the way.
SMEs customers can browse this playbook to understand how our partners’ intelligent solutions can support them to improve actual business processes, enable new ones or find new revenue streams to respond to actual and future challenges and stay competitive.
Intelligent enterprise for SMEs – Customer Experience
To close this blog, I would like to mention this brand-new customer reference story that summarized all concepts described so far.
ALFA Sistemas, a Brazilian SAP Business One partner and their passionate customer Impecável, from Rio de Janeiro, built their first customer experience real-time dashboard leveraging the power of Qualtrics (X) and SAP Business One (O): customers’ feedbacks flow real-time from Qualtrics to the SAP Business One, where the data is crossed with operational data and transformed into ready-to-consume dashboards and KPI’s available at the manager’s Cockpit.
Stay tuned for the next chapter.