Rise of the SME – the Small to Medium Sized Exporter (Outlook for 2009)

In the last two posts, I summarized some key trends that formed in the GTM space in 2008.  With the new year, I think it is appropriate to make a few predictions.  The first is the rise of the SME.  The Small Medium Enterprise? Not quite.  Actually we see the larger market of exporters (and there are over 230,000 in the United States alone), the Small to Medium Sized Exporter start to invest in managing export compliance.

A few trends are driving the SME and it starts with some good compelling events:

  • Enforcement is up
  • Fines are up (including imprisonment)
  • Regulations are not getting simpler (no 1040-EZ here)
So beyond the effective scare tactics of Don’t Let This Happen to You companies are starting to realize that exporting is a priviledge in the United States and can be taken away if you really screw up.  So, the Bureau of Industry and Security has a comprehensive program to help exporters comply with their EMCP Export Management and Compliance Program.  This was recently updated and expanded and covers all the bases from policy, to process, to training and systems.
Now, any time you build out a big process, you need to staff up.  The challenge for many SMEs is that they have jsut a few compliance players and no budget to hire staff.  This is where technology comes into focus to provide a highly targeted information system that meets the needs of the SME.
  • Highly configurable to reduce the cost of implementation
  • Able to integrate to any back-end system
  • Automates the time-consuming activities of an EMCP like screening and license determination
  • Demonstrates “reasonable care” by implementing a standard process with controls
  • Is available on-demand to eliminate the need to buy hardware, software or bother your IT staff
As the urge to “go global” shapes SME business strategy, operations has to follow.  The good news is that a new class of applications are available that can do the heavy lifting and don’t take a smoke break.