IBM In­dia

InformationWeek - - Front Page - Tobby Kakkamthot­til

What is the size of the In­dian SMB seg­ment? What is the po­ten­tial? As we know that Small and Mid­size businesses (SMBs) have long been the en­gines of driv­ing eco­nomic growth and in­no­va­tion. SMBs are re­spon­si­ble for 65 per­cent of GDP and ac­count for nearly 90 per­cent of the work­force to­day.

The SMB mar­ket­place is get­ting ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive, as ven­dors are look­ing to claim a sig­nif­i­cant share of the ex­pand­ing SMB op­por­tu­nity. IT ven­dors will need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves through de­liv­ery of in­dus­try-spe­cific func­tion­al­ity for mi­cro-ver­ti­cals and lo­cal­ized prod­ucts that ap­peal to the global needs and sup­port con­cerns of fast- grow­ing SMBs. Busi­ness Part­ners play a crit­i­cal role in de­liv­er­ing this ex­per­tize. The re­cent IDC re­port that pre­dicts pub­lic IT cloud ser­vices spend­ing will reach al­most USD 100 bil­lion in 2016 is a clear in­di­ca­tor of the IT boom that has taken the SMBs in­dus­try by storm and it is slated to grow.

What are some of the chal­lenges for SMBs in adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy? SMBs in all in­dus­tries are chal­lenged to make sense of mas­sive amounts of Big Data flow­ing from so­cial me­dia, mo­bile de­vices and sen­sors. Mak­ing sense of large vol­umes and types of data has be­come es­sen­tial to not only com­pete but also to get one step closer to pre­dict­ing busi­ness trends and an­tic­i­pat­ing con­sumer needs. In fact Big Data an­a­lyt­ics has got so ad­vanced and per­va­sive that it is now avail­able to all businesses, re­gard­less of size. How­ever, it can still be dif­fi­cult for small businesses to get ac­cess to cap­i­tal and fi­nanc­ing in or­der to be able to eas­ily af­ford these tech­nolo­gies.

The SMB mar­ket rep­re­sents a USD 231 bil­lion op­por­tu­nity. To­day, IBM works with more than 500,000 SMB clients glob­ally in a va­ri­ety of in­dus­tries.

The grow­ing use of tech­nolo­gies such as Big Data an­a­lyt­ics, cloud, so­cial and mo­bile among small and medium businesses is open­ing up new op­por­tu­ni­ties, en­abling SMBs to iden­tify new mar­kets while lev­el­ing the play­ing field for them to com­pete with larger com­peti­tors. The rise of the cloud has had dra­matic ef­fects on Big Data and is mak­ing Big Data an­a­lyt­ics tech­nolo­gies within reach for SMBs. By putting an­a­lyt­ics in the cloud, SMBs can drive down their costs and re­lay the re­sult­ing sav­ings to their cus­tomers. As a re­sult, we are see­ing an in­crease in de­mand for Big Data an­a­lyt­ics.

Can you state some ex­am­ples of your SMB cus­tomers? IBM rec­og­nizes the needs of the SMB mar­ket and un­der­stands the need to pro­vide them with cost- ef­fec­tive, yet ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies to help them com­pete in this space. In re­cent times, IBM has part­nered with co-

op­er­a­tive banks like The Co- op­er­a­tive Bank of Ra­jkot (Gu­jarat), Shiva­ji­rao Bhos­ale Sa­hakari Bank (Ma­ha­rash­tra), Goa State Co- op­er­a­tive Bank and Tumkur Veerashaiva Co- op­er­a­tive Bank (Kar­nataka) and few oth­ers who adopted IBM’s data cen­ter so­lu­tions to im­prove their op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and com­pete more ef­fec­tively.

In­dia is home to a large num­ber of ur­ban and ru­ral co- op­er­a­tive banks. These banks were fac­ing chal­lenges in many as­pects and were try­ing to trans­form them­selves in a com­plex busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. These co­op­er­a­tive banks needed ac­cess to en­ter­prise class tech­nol­ogy that sup­ports com­put­ing de­mands in the most cost ef­fec­tive man­ner pos­si­ble to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them through ro­bust ser­vices for growth and com­pe­ti­tion. IBM’s do­main ex­per­tise in forg­ing re­la­tion­ships with small and medium sized businesses made these banks se­lect IBM’s ISR so­lu­tion for en­ter­prise needs. These so­lu­tions helped the banks ex­pand their of­fer­ings and boost the over­all cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

Apart from this, IBM is reach­ing out to small play­ers with tech­nol­ogy of­fer­ings like cloud, an­a­lyt­ics, Big Data, etc. A re­cent ex­am­ple is ESDS, an IT in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices and so­lu­tions provider, that selected IBM PureSys­tems to bring greater busi­ness ef­fi­cien­cies in their cloud ar­chi­tec­ture as well as pro­vide host­ing ser­vices for cus­tomers. The ob­jec­tive was to pro­vide flex­i­bil­ity to many ESDS cus­tomers who were grow­ing their busi­ness op­er­a­tions.

Among other clients, Mother Teresa Univer­sity in Tamil Nadu is one that is us­ing an IBM an­a­lyt­ics so­lu­tion to pro­mote aca­demic suc­cess. The univer­sity is us­ing IBM’s an­a­lyt­i­cal soft­ware, SPSS (Sta­tis­ti­cal Prod­ucts and Ser­vice So­lu­tions), to train their man­age­ment stu­dents on pre­dic­tive anal­y­sis and reporting so­lu­tions. This part­ner­ship be­tween IBM and Mother Teresa Women’s Univer­sity has helped train the stu­dents to make smarter de­ci­sions, solve com­plex busi­ness prob­lems and im­prove out­comes.

The Univer­sity of Ker­ala, among oth­ers, has adopted IBM’s Cog­nos Ex­press so­lu­tion as part of a tai­lored pro­gram to be a part of the cur­ricu­lum at the Depart­ment of Fu­ture Stud­ies, Univer­sity of Ker­ala, Thiru­van­tha­pu­ram. The so­lu­tion of­fer­ing has been made by IBM in part­ner­ship with Data­mat­ics, which will en­able the univer­sity to of­fer a reg­u­lar PG Di­ploma Course in Busi­ness In­tel­li­gence and an­a­lyt­ics to its stu­dents by pro­vid­ing them with the train­ing staff and so­lu­tion stack re­quired for the same. Please elab­o­rate on how IBM has cus­tom­ized so­lu­tions for the SMB seg­ment with re­spect to tech­nolo­gies such as cloud, so­cial and mo­bile? SMBs are mov­ing their core busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions to the cloud. In fact, IBM’s cloud ser­vices are also be­com­ing pop­u­lar in the bank­ing,

The grow­ing use of tech­nolo­gies such as Big Data an­a­lyt­ics, cloud, so­cial and mo­bile among SMBs is open­ing up new op­por­tu­ni­ties for them, en­abling SMBs to iden­tify new mar­kets

au­to­mo­tive, and other sec­tors — a sign that SMBs are com­fort­able in the cloud.

In 2011, IBM also com­mit­ted USD 1 bil­lion in fi­nanc­ing through IBM Global Fi­nanc­ing for credit qual­i­fied SMBs (through IBM Busi­ness Part­ners). Since the launch of this pro­gram, IGF has in­creased its fi­nanc­ing to mid­mar­ket clients by 32 per­cent. SMBs are eval­u­at­ing new busi­ness mod­els to sup­port and adapt to chang­ing busi­ness dy­nam­ics. Apart from low­er­ing the cost of IT, cloud com­put­ing pro­vides ac­cess to new mar­kets and en­able new busi­ness mod­els.

To­day’s rapidly evolv­ing threat land­scape de­mands smarter and more re­spon­sive man­aged se­cu­rity ser­vices. IBM Man­aged Se­cu­rity Ser­vices, an­other of­fer­ing to SMBs and oth­ers in terms of ser­vices of­fer the in­dus­try-leading tools, tech­nol­ogy and ex­per­tize to se­cure in­for­ma­tion as­sets 24X7 a year, of­ten at a frac­tion of the cost of in-house se­cu­rity re­sources, which makes it suit­able for SMB clients. How is IBM po­si­tion­ing Dis­as­ter Re­cov­ery for SMBs? Please state some ex­am­ples of clients in this seg­ment? VSR is a dis­as­ter re­cov­ery ser­vice, which en­ables clients to not only pro­vi­sion re­cov­ery re­sources in min­utes but also avoid er­rors of man­ual op­er­a­tions. It en­sures that the com­pany seam­lessly continues its busi­ness op­er­a­tions with­out any dis­rup­tion to client ser­vice. Businesses look to cloud­based VSR ser­vice for its re­li­a­bil­ity, scal­a­bil­ity and abil­ity to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce re­cov­ery time.

The ser­vice helps im­prove server re­cov­ery time and re­li­a­bil­ity by lev­er­ag­ing high qual­ity au­to­ma­tion and cloud tools. It min­i­mizes the risk of fail­ure due to dis­parate hard­ware at the pro­duc­tion data cen­ter and pro­vides re­mote por­tal ac­cess to help re­duce cost and time as well as the in­con­ve­nience of trav­el­ing to the re­cov­ery site.

In In­dia, the or­ga­ni­za­tions that have adopted the IBM SmartCloud VSR so­lu­tion in­clude: Servion Global So­lu­tions, a Cus­tomer In­ter­ac­tion Man­age­ment (CIM) so­lu­tions firm; Syn­thite In­dus­tries, a man­u­fac­turer of nat­u­ral prod­ucts and Lu­mi­nous, a power back-up so­lu­tion provider. En­ter­prises in In­dia are in­creas­ingly us­ing cloud-based tech­nolo­gies to drive agility and in­te­gra­tion across func­tions and op­er­a­tions.

The po­ten­tial of the In­dian SMB mar­ket is huge, as many SMBs have still not adopted IT. Mar­ket re­search firm, Zin­nov, high­lighted that only 20 per­cent of the 50 mil­lion SMBs in In­dia are tech­nol­ogy ready. To tap this huge op­por­tu­nity, al­most ev­ery ven­dor is busy cus­tomiz­ing its prod­ucts. Tech­nol­ogy gi­ant IBM is no dif­fer­ent.

Tobby Kakkamthot­til, Tele­cov­er­age & In­side Sales Leader, IBM In­dia, South Asia, shares his com­pany’s plans for tap­ping the SMB gold­mine with

In­for­ma­tion­Week’s Srikanth RP

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