Small and Medium sized businesses (SMBs) account for 99% of global organizations with an estimated 400 million operating worldwide. SMBs also represent the majority of the businesses in economies in Central and Eastern Europe. Recent global Microsoft small and medium business (SMB) voice and attitudes to technology study shows that more than 80% of SMBs recognize the importance of technology in reaching business goals, while 42% see technology as vital for business.
“We see that early adopters implement the latest new technologies in their business and invest more in cloud solutions, which increases their productivity and sparks innovations. They demonstrate the positive impact of technology on business performance, reporting more progress towards their business objectives, higher annual revenue growth, and more confidence and generally positive business outlook than other businesses. SMBs’ mindsets and behaviors will not change overnight. SMBs today are looking for more than just technology solutions; they are looking for technology strategy advice support through partnership and funding support, like EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Additionally, simplicity and flexibility of technology tools democratize the access for small- and medium sized organizations to enterprise-grade technology. In Microsoft we created a mechanism to serve customers in a flexible and affordable way, where there is no limitation in the technology” said Gyula Sarusi, Regional Director for Corporate & SMB at Microsoft CEE Multi-country region*.
In the Adriatic region, Spica International, a Slovenian company that provides user-friendly software solutions for workforce management to customers around the globe, uses Microsoft Azure to develop its All Hours platform for workforce management. In Serbia, the largest retail chain in the country and a member of the international Ahold Delhaize chain uses Azure to create a loyalty application called “My Maxi”, offering benefits to its customers in line with their shopping habits. Croatian company Nephos is focused on inspiring customers to become leaders in their respective markets by increasing their digital acumen – from assessment of their IT staff and environment to architecting cloud solutions, upskilling their internal IT teams, and advising on optimal cloud usage.
In the Baltics, Enefit, the leading energy provider in the Baltics, also known as Eesti Energia in Estonia, created more efficient and collaborative environment, powered by Microsoft 365 and Azure, following the digitalization example set by the Estonian government. In Lithuania, Ignitis Group, completed the implementation project of Microsoft’s business management system Dynamics 365 F&O (Finance & Operations), as an important step forward in the reimagining and digitization of the company’s processes. In Latvia, a startup company RoboEatz invented completely autonomous robotic kitchen system that prepares, cooks, and serves a wide range of dishes.
In Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Bulgarian law firm Boyanov & Co. migrated their hardware infrastructure to Azure and digitalized their administration and business operations by using Microsoft 365, which facilitated real-time collaboration via SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Teams for Business. In Ukraine, AI startup company Elai.io enables other companies to use text for generating video content and customized AI videos with real humans. Kazakhstan’s startup Uniqa is an example of AI use in everyday life. It is collecting and analyzing data from real conversations 24/7 in real-time and then displaying them in Power BI reports to use for better management decisions. In Hungary, OTP Bank, has launched cloud-based core banking modernization initiative to accelerate product innovation capabilities. OTP Headquarters mitigated operational risk and improved resiliency by cloud migration to Azure.
“The beauty of technology lies in its simplicity. When small and medium business embrace technologies like AI, machine learning and cloud, using M365 modern workplace solution, Azure cloud solutions or our low-code Power Platform smart apps for business, they tackle key business challenges, like security, business process optimization and cost efficiency. That process provides time for SMBs to unleash creativity and innovation to power up local economies,” said Krasimira Karaivanova, SMB Lead at Microsoft CEE Multi-country region*.
As recent Microsoft Digital Futures Index has shown, digitally advanced countries are proven to be greener, wealthier, more innovative, and more competitive. And having a strong and digitally well-developed SMBs scene is among the key drivers to their success.
*Multi-Country is a subsidiary within Central and Eastern Europe, including 25 countries: Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.