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When going global is the only way forward for your business


It might have been in the coming, given the size of the Australian market and the enterprise of its people. But here is some more visibility on how Australia’s small and medium businesses (SMBs) are headed to global markets, as the phenomenon gathers momentum.

Driven by technology and growing global opportunities, a whopping 91% of the nation’s SMBs plan to go global as early as the end of 2015, up from an estimated 76%, according to a survey by Oxford Economics, a commercial venture with Oxford University’s business college. Also, by 2016, most of their revenues (54%) will come from overseas markets, up from the previous estimate of between 21% and 40%.

“Realistically for any business small or large but particularly for small, you’ll get to a size where the Australian market is just not enough to substantiate what you’re doing,” said Jeanette Corley, COO for Grifols Australia.

It’s the tech, stupid

“Technology now makes it possible to sell a business or sell a product or a service out of Australia much easier than in the past,” she added.

The SMBs are counting on business transformation and investment in technology to successfully scale their businesses. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said they have either completed or are in the process of significant business transformation.

On technology investments, SMBs are focusing on business analytics. By 2016, two-thirds of the businesses plan to use business analytics to drive their business, up from 48%.

“What surprised me the most from the research was how much Australian businesses are planning to go offshore for the next round of growth opportunities,” said Ray Kloss, head of marketing at the German software-maker SAP’s Australia-New Zealand unit.

“Companies need to address their technology systems due to an increasing number of competitors who are using mobility, cloud, analytics and big data to take market share,” he added.

Other highlights of the Oxford Economics’ research, sponsored by SAP:

  • Australian SMBs’ primary concerns include economic uncertainty (47%) and increasing labour costs (36%)
  • Top priorities include expansion of product and service offerings (48%), driving innovation and cost reduction (45%) and customer relationships (32%).
  • 51% plan to roll out mobile solutions over the next three years, up from 40% today
  • Social media adoption will rise from 46% to 57%
  • 44% will use cloud computing technologies, up from 30%
  • Over the next three years, only 7% will depend exclusively on the Australian market for revenues, down from 20%