Digitization is the prime game changer for SMEs

Harjit Singh Chauhan, President of SME Operations – India at Tata Teleservices, talks about how the company is helping Indian SMEs leverage digital technologies for growth. 

Sejuti Das Dec 16th 2016

India’s enterprise sector has grown exponentially over the last decade. And, according to reports, small and medium businesses (SMEs) contribute approximately 45 percent of the entire industrial output of the country, and also provide employment to more than 40 percent of the Indian population.

Correspondingly, there has also been an increased adoption of digital technologies by the SMEs. According to a recent Ernst & Young report, Indian SMEs have indicated an increase in cloud adoption at a CAGR of 20 percent in 2012 - 2016.

Growing at 15 percent YoY beating the market average, Tata Teleservices provides nimble and cost-effective tech solutions and managed services to Indian SMEs. It also helps them to chart a road map to value the true potential of digitization. Its product portfolio includes enterprise collaboration and conferencing solutions, data, voice and security-based solutions, IoT solutions, call register services, mobility solutions, collection applications, research applications, sales applications, and service applications.

Harjit Singh Chauhan, President of SME Operations – India at Tata Teleservices shares his insights on the trends driving the Indian SME sector for this year and the next, and how the company is supporting its customers.

Edited Excerpts:

What are the tech adoption trends that you see in the Indian SME sector in 2016-17?

SMEs in India are on a fast growth trajectory and are rapidly adopting newer technologies to scale-up businesses, achieve operational efficiencies, reduce costs, and enhance customer experience. Intelligently ‘connected SMEs’—with advancement in information technology—have been making higher profits with enhanced customer reach and improved employee opportunities.

By offering a level playing field, digitization has been one of the prime game changers for the growing businesses. In India, SMEs are rapidly adopting SMAC, owing to the huge potential that it opens up. It not only facilitates the development of new business models but also simplifies and provides greater operational efficiencies.

Mobile technologies and social media have also provided businesses with new ways to connect and interact with customers. Analytics, on the other hand, allows businesses to understand customers behavior, and lastly cloud computing provides a new way to access state-of-the-art technology and information, which businesses need to quickly respond to changing market dynamics.

While each of the four technologies can impact businesses individually, their convergence is proving to be a disruptive force that is creating entirely new business models for the SMEs across the globe. What's becoming clear is that none of the four technologies can be an afterthought for SMEs, because SMAC is not only giving them the ability to compete with large enterprises but in some cases also giving them a distinct competitive advantage.

What challenges  do SMEs face while deploying digital solutions?

Some of the major challenges still faced by Indian SMEs are the lack of technology knowledge, funds, ROIs, and access to digital talent. Addressing these challenges is definitely critical to the growth and development of SMEs.

Although most SMEs are keen on adopting newer technologies, a lack of awareness and poor infrastructure holds them back. It is the implementation of these technologies which is a major challenge for these businesses. They are unsure of which technology model to choose since they have varied requirements in terms of scalability, flexibility, and costs.

How is Tata Teleservices supporting and facilitating Indian SMEs?

We are working very closely with the traditional and new-age companies, enabling them to realize the digital dividends. We are now moving ahead from simply being a ‘connectivity partner’ to being a ‘business solution partner’, catering to overall customers’ business information, communication, and technology requirements, reflecting a more holistic approach.

We offer SMEs the widest portfolio of services, which includes not only telecom infrastructure but cloud-based applications, SaaS, and enterprise mobility solutions. We have enabled our SME customers by formulating solutions, which can be configured on a pay-per-use basis, and get activated with a click.

Additionally, we are regularly organizing consultative sessions for SME’s, wherein we work closely with them towards a basic digital understanding, and how digitization can help them scale up business with an efficient operational mechanism.

What does the future look like?

Much of the growth and innovation in a developed economy is fuelled by the SMEs of that country, and it will be no different for India. With cutting edge technologies being available on a pay-as-you-go model, Indian SMEs would finally get to play a pioneering role in the growth of the economy.

We would like to play the role of a technology catalyst that enables SMEs in the country to realize their full business potential. We aim to scale up our reach and access into the vast SME segment and enhance our portfolio of services including specialized comprehensive segment solutions. Scaling up our partner network is one of our major priority, which would help us in capitalizing on our deep understanding of customers, and their industry segments.