Lessons on Technology and Growth from Small-Business Leaders

Ahead of the Curve

By David MichaelNeeraj AggarwalDerek KennedyJohn WenstrupMichael RüßmannBorno Ruba, and Julia Chen

Small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) are critical to fueling economic growth and job creation around the world. Their success matters. As SMEs search for ways to grow, they have the opportunity to embrace a new wave of information technologies. With the advent of the cloud, SMEs can access many of the same technologies as giant multinational companies. Yet the adoption of the latest IT by smaller companies has been decidedly uneven. This new digital divide threatens to widen the performance gap of SMEs as the pace of innovation accelerates.

The prospect of a growing technology gulf is relevant both for companies themselves and for policymakers around the world. The experience of technology leaders among smaller businesses shows a strong correlation between the adoption of advanced information technologies on the one hand and growth in revenue and jobs on the other.

To gain further insight into the factors that enable faster growth among SMEs and the role that technology adoption plays, Microsoft commissioned The Boston Consulting Group to prepare this independent report. The findings outlined below have been discussed with Microsoft executives, but BCG is responsible for all the analysis and conclusions.