Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are integral to the economic development and growth of the State of Qatar. Defined as companies with fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than QR 100m, they constitute more than 90% of registered companies. Of these, a further 90% are local businesses. With a CAGR of 10% over the 2008-15 period, the sector is fast expanding and an engine driving economic growth in Qatar.
Fewer than 1% of SMEs are in the digital sector, with many clustered in sectors with historically low technology usage such as agriculture and construction. These metrics however leave significant room for additional digital adoption, resulting in the sector having a significantly higher economic ceiling than currently revealed; the technological gains from productivity, efficiency, customer relationship management and enhanced competitive advantage are yet to be fully explored.
A recent survey conducted by the Business Connect program asked 1,000 SMEs in Qatar about their organization's digital adoption; it indicated the following digital adoption rates and highlighted growth opportunities under the following key technology areas:
High awareness of cloud computing and low adoption of the technology represent a significant opportunity to capture a large share of the market by educating businesses and eliminating the key barrier to adoption
Of businesses have adopted cloud computing in their operations
Of businesses showed awareness of cloud computing, up from 14% in 2012
Low current adoption rate of big data analytics represents a significant opportunity to capture the market. Additionally, there is an opportunity to increase interest in big data analytics through awareness sessions
Of businesses are using big data analytics in their operations
Of businesses showed an interest in using big data analytics
The limited use of ERP to enhance internal business processes is tied to the low availability of vendors. This creates an attractive opportunity for investors.
Of businesses have adopted cloud ERP, up from 10% in 2014, in their operations
Of SMEs cite limited availability of vendors as one of top 3 factors limiting adoption
High awareness of basic digital systems but low adoption of mobile applications usage represents a significant opportunity to dominate the market by providing easily accessible and affordable custom solutions
Of businesses have adopted mobile app usage in their operations
Of those businesses who have adopted mobile app usage into their operations, only 35% of them integrate their mobile app with other business tools to increase efficiencies
Recognizing the important part SMEs play in the digital economy as adopters of technology and drivers of new businesses within the ecosystem, several programs are in place to help further mature the sector’s growth, by providing access to capital, identifying new opportunities for growth and encouraging technological adoption.