Cloud for Small Busi­nesses; a Match Made in Heaven

The DQWeek (Delhi) - - EDIT - BRAD PATER­SON

We be­lieve in fu­el­ing small busi­ness suc­cess and have spent over three decades un­der­stand­ing the unique strengths and chal­lenges faced by these busi­nesses all over the world. Over this time we have re­al­ized that firstly it is im­por­tant to ap­pre­ci­ate and re­spect the tenac­ity of ev­ery small busi­ness owner, as it is a daunt­ing task to grow and man­age a busi­ness in to­day’s rapidly chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Ev­ery small busi­ness strug­gles with lack of re­sources and time. There is a con­stant jug­gle be­tween run­ning the busi­ness and de­liv­er­ing the best prod­ucts and ser­vices to their cus­tomers.

In In­dia, the most com­mon pain point that large tech­nol­ogy play­ers hear from small busi­nesses re­volves around sav­ing time and money. A busi­ness owner wears mul­ti­ple hats - manag­ing op­er­a­tions, cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees. In the midst of all this, they tend to over­look a very im­por­tant com­po­nent, their fi­nances. Fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and fi­nan­cial health is cru­cial for any small busi­ness’ suc­cess. It has been ob­served that 1 in 3 small busi­nesses fail in the first three years due to poor fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

Here is where cloud tech­nol­ogy can make a big dif­fer­ence. Fi­nan­cial man­age­ment so­lu­tions over cloud of­fer small busi­nesses easy ac­count­ing done with speed and ac­cu­racy to get im­por­tant in­sights that are rel­e­vant and en­gag­ing and im­prove cash flow, all while sav­ing time. For small busi­nesses this can prove in­valu­able as it helps make the busi­ness more pro­duc­tive, ef­fi­cient, and grow at a rapid rate.

Ef­fi­ciency is es­sen­tial for the suc­cess of a small busi­ness. Fi­nan­cial man­age­ment through cloud can sim­plify the most dif­fi­cult of tasks, and more im­por­tantly, the cloud gives small busi­ness own­ers the lux­ury of con­nect­ing any­where and any­time. Ex­pense cap­ture and in­voices can be sent whilst on the road and cus­tomer ser­vice can be per­fected while on the go. These op­por­tu­ni­ties are in­valu­able for a small busi­ness owner who is jug­gling many tasks.

Small busi­nesses are the back­bone of the In­dian econ­omy, con­tribut­ing to 17 per­cent of the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP). In­dia is also presently go­ing through a start-up resur­gence; Ac­cord­ing to the Eco­nomic Sur­vey 2015-16, the coun­try has more than 19,000 tech­nol­o­gyen­abled star­tups. Of the 51 mil­lion small busi­nesses, 40 per­cent, or 20 mil­lion, have ac­cess to dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture such as de­vices and con­nec­tiv­ity. This is ex­pected to rise to 90 per­cent by 2020.

Mo­bile is dra­mat­i­cally trans­form­ing the busi­ness and tech­nol­ogy land­scape in In­dia with 956 mil­lion mo­bile phones, of which 168 mil­lion are smart­phones and 2 mil­lion are tablets. The data around mo­bile usage and growth in In­dia is as­tound­ing as 65 per­cent of to­tal in­ter­net traf­fic comes via mo­bile phones (com­pared to 22 per­cent in the United States)

Most small busi­nesses in In­dia to­day are al­ready lever­ag­ing mo­bile to man­age their busi­nesses and reach their cus­tomers. The po­ten­tial of mo­bile is im­mense. Mo­bile tech­nolo­gies are emerg­ing as a growth en­gine for small busi­nesses with 25 per­cent of adopters see­ing two times the rev­enue growth and up to eight times the num­ber of jobs cre­ated, ac­cord­ing a study by BCG.

Ad­di­tion­ally, with the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia sup­port­ing the Startup In­dia Ini­tia­tive and Ease of Busi­ness in In­dia im­prov­ing, to­day the coun­try has be­come a hot bed for in­no­va­tion, en­trepreneur­ship and for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. The three key driv­ers that are push­ing small busi­nesses to go dig­i­tal are:

Ac­cess to en­abling in­fra­struc­ture - adop­tion of smart de­vices in con­junc­tion with en­hance­ment in in­ter­net avail­abil­ity

Avail­abil­ity of var­i­ous SMB rel­e­vant so­lu­tions and ser­vices

Af­ford­able cloud en­abled en­ter­prise grade so­lu­tions such as Google Apps

A thriv­ing mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion eco-sys­tem – More than 9,000 In­dian mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion devel­op­ment com­pa­nies Adop­tion of IT across cus­tomers and push from ecosys­tem stake­hold­ers

More than 50,000 SMB sellers on boarded by the top three e-com­merce play­ers

The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia has an ac­tive Dig­i­tal In­dia cam­paign Cloud com­put­ing can prove com­mer­cially vi­able for many small busi­nesses due to its flex­i­bil­ity and pay-as-you-go cost struc­ture, mak­ing busi­nesses nim­ble, quick and ag­ile, and en­abling them to con­duct busi­ness faster and more ef­fi­ciently. Ac­cord­ing to Zin­nov, adop­tion of cloud tech­nolo­gies will drive the growth of the In­dian do­mes­tic IT mar­ket, which will touch $67 bil­lion by 2020. The In­dian Gov­ern­ment’s Dig­i­tal In­dia pro­ject will also be an ex­po­nen­tial driver for mas­sive growth in cloud adop­tion among small busi­nesses. A study by IDC claims that small busi­nesses us­ing cloud com­put­ing are al­most two times more likely to have over 10 per­cent rev­enue growth com­pared to sim­i­lar sized com­pa­nies in gen­eral.

Al­though there is still an as­tound­ingly large num­ber of small busi­nesses that are yet to es­tab­lish a solid dig­i­tal pres­ence, the hope is that they see just how valu­able this can be for their growth. The coun­try, with the sup­port of the Gov­ern­ment, is mak­ing large strides in this seg­ment and the next few years look ex­cit­ing and full of prom­ise.

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