Danish companies are front players when it comes to using IT. Denmark’s small and medium sized companies use IT at a similar level as many large companies in other countries.
Therefore, the American network giant Cisco Systems Inc. has chosen Denmark as main source for advice on new products ready for the world market.
Denmark came in as no 4 on World Economic Forum’s list of the world’s best network nations, published a few weeks ago. In top were Singapore, Iceland and Finland.
But if you only consider small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), Denmark is in top, says Peter Alexander, VP of Cisco’s global department of sales for SMEs.
Direct and agressive
’I have not seen SMEs in any other countries integrate IT as aggressively as the Danish do. We have asked ourselves how small a company can be and still need an intelligent network. In Denmark, the answer is down to 4-5 employees. This was quite a surprise! In Denmark, far smaller companies are using e.g. Microsoft Exchange for their e-mail, than is the case in other countries. In the US, several smaller companies choose for example Yahoo for their e-mail’, says Peter Alexander.
This week he was in Mols (DK) to meet with the Danish Cisco Channel Advisory Board, a dialogue forum for dealers of Cisco products. Cisco has created these boards in 21 countries (Denmark was the first), but Peter Alexander, who is a member of the concern management does not participate in meetings in all countries.
‘I attend the meetings in Denmark, because Danes are the most attentive towards possibilities within new technology, and because Danes have a very direct communication culture. Danes are very direct and aggressive and do not hold back out of courtesy, when it comes to demands or critique as is the case other places. They put forward ideas and demands and expect that we take action upon these and customize our solutions to them. Which we do. Many of the ideas are incorporated in our products and services and consequently rolled out to the world market’, says Peter Alexander.
He points out that on a global scale small and medium sized enterprises invest in IT in the same way larger companies did five years ago.
For the same reason, suppliers are busy developing CRMs and ERPs for the small and medium sized enterprises. And as Danish companies are well ahead in this development, they are excellent clients for Cisco.
This means that they are increasingly demanding intelligent networks, which secure both IT and operational security, and may integrate network solutions such as IP telephony and wireless networks.
‘A small company does not have IT staff to take care of security. Therefore security must be integrated in the IT systems for the smaller companies in a smart way, so that they do not have to survey security and operations, but may leave this to external partners. Also in these areas, the Danish companies are well ahead in the development. Companies down to four employees will now have IP telephony integrated in their CRM and ERP platforms, so that for example a lawyer’s office automatically writes in telephone conversations with clients in the relevant clients’ bills’, says Peter Alexander.
Today, about 25% of Cisco’s turnover stems from SMEs. Peter Alexander predicts that the share will reach 50% in five years.
The news story was reported in Jyllands-Posten