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Guest View: Social Media: Helping SMEs spark innovation and gain competitive advantage

Anthony McMahon, senior vice president, Ecosystem and Channels, SAP Asia Pacific Japan | March 12, 2014
Although expectations and emphasis for particular technologies varies depending on industry and geography, the overall trend is clear – social media is helping SMEs be closer to their customers, and in turn, grow their businesses.

The Oxford Economics study revealed that SMEs are recognizing that there is a digital revolution taking place they cannot afford to ignore. Over one-third of Asia Pacific senior executives surveyed ranked social media as their most important technological investment over the next three years. Although, the rankings varied from market to market, social media remained a priority in every country. This is because social media has an undeniable impact on SMEs' performance. More than half of the survey participants predicted that over the next three years, their investments in social media will create a competitive advantage for their firm. Additionally, upwards of 43 percent of survey respondents in the region indicated that social media is already creating a significant competitive advantage for their company.

On paper, developing a squeaky clean social media strategy can seem simple. But the execution of all the day-to-day tasks involved in that strategy can be a different story - at least without having the right implementing processes to manage it. As a matter of fact, when asked about the key challenges their firms faced in adopting social media, senior executives cited uncertainty in how to apply social media to their business, not knowing how to measure the ROI, and difficulty getting employees to embrace the idea of social media. Additionally, 49 percent of respondents in Asia Pacific said they were challenged with the amount of effort needed to commit to maintaining a viable social media strategy.

The value social media brings to SMEs is irrefutable. With the right social analytics and collaboration tools, SMEs can overcome these challenges and maximize social media strategy implementation. By enabling SMEs to use social media as a way to measurably strengthen customer relationships, expand geographically, and increase offerings, these tools make social media an essential ingredient for sparking innovation and increasing competitive advantage. 



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