According to research firm AMI-Partners the Indian economy is forecasted to show strong growth with SMBs being the key drivers of economic prosperity.
AMI-Partners examined some of the leading trends which will impact the India SMB universe in 2016, specifically:
Social E-Commerce: Online marketplaces have already revolutionized India’s retail and service sectors, expanding opportunities for SMBs’ to grow their customer base and scale of operations. Now social media platforms are getting in on the act, with online shopping on social media platforms gaining traction. The growing presence of SMBs on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms has already created a fan following and a receptive audience for these businesses. Today, according to AMI’s India Small and Medium Business ICT & Cloud Services Tracker Overview, more than 60% of India SMBs use some form of social media. Now, with the social media presence well established for marketing and advertising purposes, online sellers are increasingly conducting various social selling experiments and some are even able to sell directly without requiring an online store anywhere else other than social media platforms.
On-Premise Infrastructure vs. the Cloud: India SMBs have already started transitioning to the cloud with interest in remote managed services and software-as-aservice remaining high. In 2016, AMI anticipates seeing a greater interest in cloud infrastructure as SMBs look for ways to quickly scale up infrastructure to keep pace with business growth while maintaining flexibility in terms of payments on an as-needed or monthly basis. Additionally, more and more CIOs and IT Managers are focusing on preventing data loss, ensuring system backups and disaster recovery solutions as they realize the greater strategic importance these functions are for the organization. Cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions present an affordable, more easily manageable and flexible alternative to on-premise solutions.
Correlation & Integration between Devices and Teams: With the divide between personal and official devices long breached, SMBs now see employees accessing company data across a plethora of platforms – PCs, tablets, smartphones…..wearables may be next! This has increased the complexity for IT departments not only to ensure data security, back-up and regulated access across devices but also to ensure seamless operation across all devices and across all platforms. With collaboration and coordination the norm in workplaces today, there is a greater need to ensure all devices and solutions “talk” across all platforms.
Business Intelligence and Analytics: “Analytics” has been a key buzzword in recent years yet its application is limited within India SMBs. However, with business goals showing greater alignment with technology, there is an underlying need for SMBs to systematically sift through and understand their data. Efficient and cohesive analysis of data can lead SMBs to understand customers, market trends and operational dynamics better and hence can be a source of key competitive advantage. In the competitive marketplace the 2016 promises to bring, SMBs can no longer ignore analysis and must aim to understand and glean insights for greater operational efficiencies and better customer/supplier management. According to AMI’s India Small and Medium Business ICT & Cloud Services Tracker Overview, 60%+ SMBs have mentioned that Big Data/Analytics is one of their key “Strategic Focus Areas” for the future.
Continued focus on Improving Broadband Infrastructure/Mobile Data Speeds: According to AMI’s previously mentioned India study, 88% of SBs and 56% of MBs access the internet with speeds less than 10 Mbps. Improving broadband connectivity has been an ongoing focus area for India SMBs and will continue to be a major concern. The Indian government is building an all-pervasive optical fiber network that aims to cover the entire country in 3 years – this will significantly boost connectivity. Furthermore, with the greater emergence of 4G connectivity by ISPs and mobile operators, both broadband connectivity and mobile data connectivity are likely to improve.