|Topic:||Technology -Wise choices for business|
|Organisation:||CA Technologies, India|
Mr Saurabh Srivastava chairs the Indian operations of CA Technologies Inc. He founded and chaired IIS Infotec until Steria acquired it. He has since founded/invested in over 50 start-up ventures.
Mr Srivastava serves/has served on various boards of private and publicly listed companies in the UK and India. He is a co-founder and past Chairman of NASSCOM, the NASSCOM Foundation and the Indian Venture Capital Association. Mr Srivastava serves/has served on the National Executive Committees of the CII and FICCI apex industry chambers in India, and is the Chairman Emeritus of TIE Delhi. Mr Srivastava serves/has served on numerous government committees, task forces, and boards. He serves/has served on the Advisory Board of the Imperial College Business School, London, on the Entrepreneurship /Incubation boards of IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur and on the Advisory boards of Uttarakhand and Himachal Universities.
Mr Saurabh Srivastava has a Masters from Harvard University and a B Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur. Awards include ‘Distinguished Alumnus’ from IITK, an Honorary Doctorate in Technology from the University of Wolverhampton, UK and a Lifetime Achievement award from the IT Industry in India.
India’s economic growth and rising economic inclusion are among the world’s highest. Although India’s great industries play a big role, the country’s small and medium businesses (SMBs), with the help of the latest information and communication technology, are advancing throughout the country, creating jobs and promoting the rapid social and economic inclusion that has marked India’s recent history. To continue this growth, SMBs need help from the government both to invest wisely in the latest technologies and to use them effectively.
Through the years, visionaries and dreamers alike have wondered what their future may hold. Some seek out fortune-tellers, tarot card readers or mediums to guide them on their path for future success. However, those methods won’t work for business decision makers. When it comes to technology, it is of critical importance for organizations to make the right choices. It is also unlikely that all enterprises would be able to able to invest significant amounts of time and money on a ‘proof of concept’, a practice that partially deploys a new system or series of technologies just within a small corner of the business. Solutions need to be practical, easy to implement, and have an immediate impact on how the organization operates.
Businesses are now reinventing themselves constantly to effectively balance the new and unique demands of current times, high cost of capital, customers who want more for less and consequent pressures on margins and profitability. As the demand for information technology products and services increases, in line with their role in growing businesses, small and medium enterprises across all verticals are adopting the IT route. This helps them gain visibility and enhance performance, improve business efficiency and even expand operations.
The effective integration and implementation of technology is critical for ensuring that all business tools make a difference to the overall performance and ‘health’ of the organization. Most organizations target their efforts towards optimizing costs and aim at faster and better returns on investments. This is a sure testimony to the growing awareness and importance of the emerging business intelligence.
Organizations are becoming wiser and want to realize the benefits of the costs incurred to strengthen the organization, to ensure profitability, reduce operational costs and capital investments. To succeed in a competitive environment and to achieve their potential, organizations have recognized and adopted many best practices and embraced technology that enhances competitiveness and reduces CAPEX and OPEX while increasing the quality of products. As organizations scale, it is important that, at the right time, they adopt the right mix of IT tools for their needs need.
India, today, is witnessing a boom not just in the introduction of new software and solutions, but an increasing adoption of new production and processing technologies by all kinds of organization. It is interesting to note that the small and medium enterprise segment is likely to account for more than one third of India’s total IT spending by 2015. Usage of technology has resulted in the structural transformation of many enterprises and revolutionized how they do business.
Today, SMBs in India are adopting technology for growth and creating a big wave in the global village. According to the latest report by IDC (International Data Corporation), domestic IT spending in India was expected to grow by 16.3 per cent by the end of 2012, notwithstanding such factors as an unpredictable economy, pricing pressure and falling rupee. The SME segment accounted for 38 per cent of enterprise IT spending in 2011. This proportion is expected to grow to 43 per cent by 2015. Moreover, the overall IT market is likely to increase to US$43.57 billion in 2012, up from US$37.46 billion in 2011.
Despite lower than expected GDP growth figures during the last fiscal period, India still has a high growth rate, following China among the BRIC countries. SMBs today have an aggressive outlook towards growth; they see technology as an enabler of business transformation, so SMBs are viewed as key drivers of technology.
According to a recent report by Zinnov, India is currently home to around 50 million SMBs, of which ten million are technology-ready. Leaving behind their traditional pen and paper business culture, SMBs are increasingly adopting technology to run their businesses. Modern SMBs are investing in PCs and are using the Internet and websites to market themselves and compete in global and domestic markets.
The SMB sector is a huge growth market and as it grows the IT industry will grow along with it. These smaller enterprises are generating the momentum for India’s economic growth, in good part by adopting technology to increase their efficiency and reach. This is growing their business rapidly and, in the process, creating new jobs and new business opportunity for other companies, thereby boosting their country’s, and their region’s, economy. Additionally, technology is also enabling them to develop high value added products and adopt competitive strategies, regionally and internationally.
Although SMBs are effectively using, and benefiting greatly from, the power of technology, especially to compete in fast paced global markets, there are still several challenges which need to be overcome. Among the roadblocks faced by Indian organizations are insufficient IT knowledge, lack of financing, the affordability of needed investment, accessibility, improperly defined return on investments, expensive technical support and poor physical infrastructure. There is a need for government and industry to come together and address these challenges collectively to drive ICT adoption.
To revolutionize the SMB sector through the adoption of technologies, the government should come forth with new measures like additional investment in information technology, e-business and new business models that provide a friendly environment to support and help SMBs to better use information technology and increase their competitiveness, productivity and growth.
With the above in mind, what is the key or mantra for success? After seeing the opportunities and challenges associated with IT deployment, it is imperative for any organization to be define the purpose, evaluate the impact, strategize to maximize efficiency and minimize investments. To adopt this approach, the magic chant for any organization is change is constant. Investing in the latest technology keeps a business growing beyond the competition. Corporations must remain on the lookout for the arrival of new and more advanced technologies that they can leverage. Businesses cannot increase market share without substantial growth. Therefore, organizations must hire individuals who can operate and manage technology along with constant change.
Another business imperative this day and age is for businesses to keep pace with current market trends. Cloud computing, big data, mobility, consumerisation of IT and social media are among the resources that technology and service providers are making available to SMBs with increasingly reasonable terms and prices. More businesses are starting to adopt cloud-based services and they frequently begin to manage their data, hardware and software requirements online. Documents, emails, customer information, business applications and other assets can all be stored externally to help reduce hardware and software costs, support more flexible working practice, and make it easier to scale their IT systems. Cloud computing also reduces the need for in-house IT support and offers reliable and secure back up for business’ data.
Nevertheless, it is essential that companies do not simply follow whatever other companies do or whatever is the most ‘sought after’ technology or service. There are ‘horses for courses’ – correct choices for given situations. Start-up organizations and SMB’s need to choose wisely the technologies they use to make the most of their investments. Larger organizations need healthy investments to take the business forward and maintain its competitive advantage.
The impact of technology on business within the last 20 years is evident; we have seen the growth of microchips, the adoption of personal computers, the retooling of many old systems, the development and adoption of personal gadgets such as tablets, and of new systems that rely on information technology. Globally, we are in the ‘Age of Technology’, and businesses are making great strides with the help of smarter machines, smarter processes and, perhaps, even smarter business people.