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