Digital transformation is helping small businesses build resilience and equip themselves to face the uncertain future. While small businesses are a catalyst for economic growth, they can thrive only if powered with the right tools. Customised solutions are needed for them to stay afloat. We examine how emerging technologies can herald a new era of innovation and growth.
Ruchiraa Sharma from Moneycontrol spoke to Mr Nilesh Lele, President - Chamber for Advancement of Small & Medium Businesses, Mr Vivek Belgavi, Partner, PwC India, Mr Deepak Ramteke, Co-founder and Partner, Word Publishing, Mohammad M Ansari, Product Marketing Manager, Dell Technologies and discussed “Future-ready framework small businesses can adopt now”.
It is estimated that India has sixty-three million small businesses. Being connected means being able to speak or move goods over long distances. These are basic functions that help a business grow. Vivek Belgavi, the Partner, PwC India, remarked that technology and common assets like the internet and cloud computing could help small businesses connect and improve logistics. The diversity of problems in the last mile of connectivity is very high. The challenge of connecting is overcome by using digital mechanisms his experience exuberates hope. “I see the light at the end of the tunnel as many smart individuals and large enterprises have brought their focus to lsat mile connectivity. We need more interactions in the digital world and more platforms that encourage co-thinking and innovation.” he mused.
Nilesh Lele, President of the Chamber for Advancement of Small & Medium Businesses, said, “I represent an SMB chamber and we have realised that the small business owner is a one-man show. They typically face three key challenges: marketing, finance or credit or banking lending and the newly available technology.” His observations about the food industry appraise us of the on-ground situation. Farmers and business owners in the industry are far from understanding AI or machine learning. Technology can reduce operational costs for the company but may not be applicable in all scenarios he explained.
“A small business should be ready to take a risk and be very proactive. Flexible business strategy and the business model are important. These are over and above the challenges a business faces.” counselled Deepak Ramteke, Co-founder and Partner, Word Publishing. The main challenge he said he faced as a small business owner was access to resources including tech know-how. Finances and funding are a constant concern. In a candid expression, he quotes, “it's impossible to have all the skills and tech know-how to explore tech products. A one-man show can't do everything. Though a core team of good people is very helpful.” He suggests partnerships with business associations and advice from trusted vendors offer viable ways forward.
Many businesses find it difficult to adapt to a new technology upgrade which is why Dell comes into the picture. Mohammad M Ansari, Product Marketing Manager, Dell Technologies, shared survey results which show that seventy per cent of small businesses that survived the pandemic had a robust digital ecosystem. Digitalization of daily activities during this pandemic has reduced operational costs by almost fifty-four per cent. The small business advisor program by Dell Technologies is designed specifically to address the needs of this sector. Dell is willing to design tailor-made tech solutions that help people and businesses understand how technology can help achieve more. As small and medium businesses have a positive sentiment towards revival, now is the time to choose the right technology advisor and build their future-ready framework.
Going forward, small and medium businesses must create a strong digital ecosystem to foster growth. They must acquire the right tools and talent that will enable them to be future-ready. This discussion with industry leaders encouraged businesses to be prudent as they adapt technology to survive and thrive in the new normal.
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