There is increasing signs of maturity among Indian enterprises when it comes to mobility policies and IT policies around mobility. With devices getting cheaper, and vendors focusing more on B2B devices, mobility is an opportunity partners cannot bypass.
In Focus: SMBs
The Opportunities: Partners targeting SMBs can expect a 49 million-strong market, representing a Rs 27,000 crore opportunity by 2017. Plus, SMBs make decisions quicker compared to large customers.
A cycle manufacturer in Ludhiana, a textile unit in Madhya Pradesh, and a chain of hotels in Kerala--all examples of the nearly 49 million SMBs present in India. According to a Zinnov report titled Indian SMB Sector 2013, this number is all set to rise at a CAGR of 4.5 percent.
According to another report by AMI-Partners, the IT and communication spending for Indian SMBs is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR of nearly 16 percent to $49 billion (about Rs 27,000 crore) by 2017.
Much of that will be made up of products and solutions that can help SMBs overcome nagging business challenges.
"Basic computing and networking hardware dominates the IT spending portfolio of Indian SMBs. This is especially true for the small business segment which is gradually enhancing their ICT backbone serving as a platform for future adoption of higher-end technology solutions," says Dev Chakravarty, research manager, AMI--India.
SMBs are a relatively untapped vertical and are therefore a massive opportunity for solution providers, especially for those who rely on a volume model. One such partner is BB Professionals.
"Our business makes a profit only when we do volume sales every quarter. The SMB sector makes this possible," says Ashim Bhasin, director, BB Professionals. This solution provider derives 80 percent of its business from the SMB sector with a focus on cloud-based ERP. BB Professionals focuses on up country markets where SMBs are pre-dominantly concentrated.
Some solution providers working in this sector believe that SMBs offer better opportunities compared to larger enterprises. Among the many reasons is an SMB's ability to make decisions fast, compared to the bureaucratic internal processes of large enterprises. That shrinks a partner's sale cycle and boosts cash flow. "Large enterprises are fussy and their internal procedures take a lot of time. Why should I spend so much time on approvals for a single project?" asks Bhasin.
Also, with SMBs, most of whom don't have an internal IT team, the solution provider has the freedom to present a complete swathe of solutions, thereby increasing its chances of up-selling. That's much harder to do with top-tiered establishments who have their own IT teams.
That said, it's important to listen carefully to SMB customers and make sure you offer business-oriented, hard-RoI solutions. "The solution provider needs to talk more in terms of the benefits to the customer. They need to understand the core business processes of SMBs and then tell them about the right choice of solutions," says Vishal Bindra, CEO of Delhi-based ACPL Systems.
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