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Former Member

SAP is empowering cities to improve the lives of their citizens. Through technology, we can enhance education, healthcare, transportation, and security – all issues that can affect the prosperity and appeal of a city. Today, urban businesses, governments, and citizens have the power to transform the way their cities operate.

What Do Citizens Really Think?

Governments and public sector organizations around the world use SAP technology. To help develop solutions that really make a difference, it’s important for us to understand how these people feel about their cities. So, as part of the Urban Matters initiative, SAP Value Insight conducted an analysis of the public sector in Q2 of 2014.

More than 294 SAP employees took part in the research from 32 countries, across four regions: North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and South/Latin America. The aim of the study was to uncover the perceptions of city living. For example, what participants thought of their city and the importance they placed on topics within four key areas:

  • Quality of life for citizens (safety, infrastructure, regulations)
  • Economic prosperity (jobs, ease of doing business, economic growth)
  • Public governance and citizen service (financials, digitalisation, public services)
  • Demographic attachment.

Citizen Satisfaction

So what did we uncover? Well, the results found that a reliable infrastructure was the most important factor for citizen satisfaction across all regions (92% in North America; 90% in Europe; 82% in Latin/South America; 83% in Asia and the Middle East). This shows that the importance of clean energy, good roads, quality healthcare, and enhanced safety is universal. However, that’s where the similarities between the regions stop.

Under Pressure

In Asia and the Middle East, there is more pressure on cities to deliver high-quality citizen services, compared to other regions.  But why?  Well, the results indicate this could be because newly-developed APAC cities are dissatisfied with the quality and breadth of public services (31% vs. a median of 16% for other regions).

Opportunity for Improvement

Latin and South America reported lower ratings on economic prosperity (45%) and good governance (36%), compared to other regions (80% median; 53% median). In fact, Latin and South America was the most negative region regarding public services, when compared to other regions.

These include:
  • Public performance information levels (91% vs. 60% median of other regions)
  • Digital/social media citizen communication (82% vs. 57% median of other regions)
  • Public money and reduction of waste/fraud management (82% vs. 64% median of other regions).

So, what can cities do to improve perceptions? And how can they attract and retain residents?

Family vs. Quality of Life

While cities can do a lot to improve the loyalty of their citizens, the results revealed the most important factor for citizens to stay where they are is the presence of family (43%). This was followed by work opportunities (31%), the weather (14%), arts and culture (6%), and familiarity/attachment (3%). This was consistent across all regions.

But are those the only factors that citizens care about?

While family relations appear to be the key reason for attracting new citizens, our research indicates there’s more to it.

When faced with an opposing question: "What is the biggest reason to leave your current city?", citizens stated they would move if other cities offered a better quality of life, more work opportunities, and greater personal safety. So, if governments want to attract and retain citizens, they need to invest in security, infrastructure, education, employment, and public services.

How Can SAP Help?

SAP for the public sector can provide governments with the technology they need to make their cities run better. To learn more about SAP’s Urban Matters initiative, visit