Small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia Pacific are leading the world in terms of generating revenues outside their home countries.

The SAP-sponsored survey of 2,100 executives from SMEs in 21 countries shows these enterprises are equipped to compete with larger firms and enjoy some competitive advantage over them.

Only 12 percent of SMEs in the Asia Pacific region earn their revenue exclusively at home turf and this percentage is expected to go down as low as four percent in the next three years.

However, these companies have to deal with stiff competition from foreign organisations and this will drive them to use new technology and bring necessary changes in the business strategy.

Sixty percent of Asia Pacific SMEs said technology helps them achieve longevity and sustainable growth.

"The road ahead is well marked for SMEs in Asia Pacific," said Edward Cone, managing editor and senior analyst at Oxford Economics. "Globalisation, transformation, and technology will be the hallmarks of successful small and mid-sized companies."

Technology investment required

Although SMEs in Asia Pacific understand the importance of investing in technology, almost two of three companies in the region said their technology investment is contingent on a clear return on investment (ROI).

Only 24 percent of these enterprises are early adopters of technology compared to SMEs in other regions.

Cloud computing and business analytics are expected to see the greatest increase in adoption across Asia Pacific SMEs and over three-quarters of all companies are at some stage of the transformation process.

More than one-third of respondents in Asia Pacific said creating a culture of innovation is a leading priority in their transformation efforts.

The number of Asia Pacific firms doing business in 10 or more countries will increase sharply in three years and over 65 percent of respondents said they are competing more with larger companies now than in the past.

"Having clear business insight across the entire organisation at any one time is of the utmost importance for those firms with a significant global footprint," said Bronwyn Hastings, senior vice president, Ecosystem and Channels, SAP Asia Pacific Japan.