SAP study finds most SMEs in Asia-Pacific adopt remote work setup amid pandemic

Majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are well-positioned to adapt to a remote working setup during the pandemic. This was among the findings of a recent study commissioned by SAP during the Covid-19 outbreak, in collaboration with the Oxford Economics (entitled Digital Resilient and Experience-driven: How Small and Midsize Organizations Can Prepare for the New Economy).

Of the 240 respondents to the research from across the region (including the Philippines), 77% said they adjusted to remote work arrangements for their employees. The figure was higher compared to 75% of respondents on the same stand in Europe and 71% in the Americas.

About 61% of polled SMEs in APAC created remote work set-ups for employees during the pandemic; 69% invested in IT and collaboration solutions to support remote access and/or online learning; and 10% indicated that the pandemic has not affected their ability to accommodate remote work and maintain employee productivity.

Interestingly, 66% of polled SMEs in APAC are also actively exploring new channels to bring their products and services to customers (compared to 64% and 59% in the Americas and Europe, respectively). About 46% are developing new products and service offerings (compared to 40% in the Americas and 49% in Europe).

“SMEs across the region—like their counterparts around the world—have certain advantages over larger competitors in terms of agility and closeness to the customers,” said Edward Cone, Editorial Director of Thought Leadership and Technology Practice Lead at Oxford Economics. “Yet even before the pandemic, SMEs in APAC had also faced meaningful challenges in keeping up the pace of digital transformation,” he added.

Lastly, 45% of surveyed APAC SMEs disclosed that the pandemic has affected their operations and strategies. Covid-19 has also affected their ability to operate in full capacity (45%), the ability of the supply chains to keep up with demands (40%), and their ability to keep existing customers (40%). Some of the respondents had to completely restructure business strategy and operations to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

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