The SMB Nir­vana

DQ Channels - - Channel Pulse - RAJNEESH DE/ ra­[email protected]­berme­

In In­dia, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Mi­cro, Small and Medium En­ter­prises, SMBs con­trib­ute be­tween 8-9% to the GDP and 34% to the to­tal ex­ports of the coun­try. But the real rea­son why SMBs are more crit­i­cal is that they have a wider so­cio-eco­nomic im­pact. On the one hand they push in­dus­trial growth and pro­vide em­ploy­ment, and on the other, they ef­fect so­cial trans­for­ma­tion and en­cour­age eco­nomic self-re­liance at the grass­roots level. An SMB, how­ever, needs ev­ery help it can get to sus­tain and grow, and to con­tinue to ef­fect this so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. With tech­nol­ogy by its side, an SMB can mul­ti­ply its po­ten­tial and spread its im­pact wider, while grow­ing its prof­its.

The use of ICT can help an SMB au­to­mate ev­ery­day tasks, in­clud­ing the man­age­ment of cus­tomer or­ders, in­voic­ing, track­ing pro­duc­tion, track­ing de­liv­ery and man­ag­ing prod­uct and cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion. Au­tomat­ing ev­ery­day tasks doesn’t just im­prove ef­fi­ciency, it also helps con­tain costs. With the use of a web­site, the SMB can at­tract cus­tomers from all over the world. The ex­ist­ing cus­tomers can be ser­viced bet­ter with the use of bet­ter and more ef­fi­cient sales and mar­ket­ing tools, tar­geted sell­ing due to bet­ter man­age­ment of cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion and pref­er­ences, bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion with cus­tomers, re­move or­der and de­liv­ery er­rors and gather and in­cor­po­rate cus­tomer feed­back. Hope­fully our so­lu­tion providers too are fol­low­ing this path of help­ing SMBs grow.

While tech­nol­ogy for busi­ness has been around for a while, SMBs have been re­luc­tant in their over­ture to­wards it be­cause it ear­lier came at a price the SMB could not af­ford, and of­ten with fea­tures that the SMB did not need. All that has changed. To­day, there are ICT tools de­signed and priced specif­i­cally for SMBs. Start­ing with a very small in­vest­ment and lead­ing up to the en­tire busi­ness model de­vel­oped around ICT, there is some­thing for ev­ery SMB to con­sider. Just a desk­top or lap­top com­puter and an In­ter­net con­nec­tion can cat­a­pult an SMB into the league of con­nected businesses! With these two things, the door to in­for­ma­tion and e-mail com­mu­ni­ca­tion is opened. Search­ing the web, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with part­ners and cus­tomers and main­tain­ing of­fice records are all au­to­mated. The part­ners do have a ma­jor role to play here.

SMBs work bet­ter in groups—com­ple­ment­ing each other’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties, core com­pe­ten­cies and ar­eas of busi­ness. This col­lab­o­ra­tion can go awry with poor man­age­ment. With the use of ICT, this col­lab­o­ra­tion be­comes au­to­mated and ef­fi­cient. In­te­grat­ing in­voices and pay­ments elec­tron­i­cally with sup­pli­ers is one ex­am­ple of this col­lab­o­ra­tion. There is, of course, the big league of ICT use— fully in­te­grated busi­ness pro­cesses. With the use of ERP, SCM, CRM and other such so­lu­tions that SMB can use to rub shoul­ders with the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the larger en­ter­prises. The good news is that to­day SMBs don’t have to shelve out mil­lions for that. There are mod­u­lar ver­sions of these so­lu­tions avail­able at flex­i­ble pay­ment op­tions for SMBs. How­ever, the so­lu­tion providers need to act as the friend, guide and philoso­phers for these SMBs and help them in their path of reach­ing au­to­ma­tion nir­vana.

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