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BW Businessworld

Start-ups To Cater To Unorganised Market

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Small businesses with good time management are more likely to see growth and are perfect breeding grounds for new technologies. Enterprises, small and medium-sized, which are tech-savvy, tend to create jobs and drive more revenue as compared to their lesser tech-savvy counterparts. This fact has already been established in a research commissioned by Microsoft Corporation and another survey independently conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) which is a global management consulting firm and leading advisor on business strategy. The findings of both the surveys depict that if more SMEs in India adopted the latest IT tools, there is potential for SME revenue to grow by $56 billion and create 1.1 million new jobs.

Event ticketing industry, which is estimated at $1 billion in India alone, excluding tickets sold for buses, trains, airplanes, movies, museums, art galleries, etc, has commenced leveraging the technology about a year ago. 

Technology has been deployed not only to list events, but to categorize tickets and enable their online sale by powering them with payment gateways. The e-commerce-enabled technology platforms are now moving to the next notch by becoming partners with large-format event organisers.

The Indian economy today, to a large extent, is driven by the SME sector and there is a tremendous opportunity for economic growth. Technology has played a pivotal role in helping these SMEs expand their businesses. The organizations adopting technology have witnessed enhanced efficiencies that have brought visibility to key performance parameters. It also gives better control over operations, reach newer markets and grow their businesses. 

For instance, event technologies have evolved to encompass multiple segments. Their horizons have widened from not just selling tickets online, but the other products like attendee check-in, attendee networking, and enlisting of venues have all been brought onto technology platforms, making small and medium enterprises entrench themselves in this business.

As per the survey, IT-enabled SMEs, which are denoted as technology leaders, grew in revenues faster by 15 per cent and were also able to create twice as many jobs as SMEs that use less technology. Such companies also reported greatly improved employee mobility, scalability and agility. The report also showed that the latest wave of technological advancement, such as cloud services, brings potential for the most far-reaching innovation and business growth ever. It also creates opportunities for more SMEs to achieve the growth rates of technology leaders by leveraging technology to fuel productivity and growth. It was also found that high performing SMEs were always ahead of the mainstream IT adoption and constantly integrated and upgraded the latest technology in their systems. This not only improved their productivity, but also helped them connect with new customers and markets, particularly outside their own region or country and compete with larger players. These companies employ the full range of available tools - from productivity software to Internet connectivity and cloud-based services.

Small enterprises with less than a million dollar annual gross merchandise volumes are able to visualize a manifold business growth to the tune of almost $25 million annually, just because they are able to tap the technology resources and align them with the business.

In the past few years, SMEs have played a vital role in developing the Indian economy and beyond. It has also been the primary driver of job growth. It, however, remains a large and informal economy in India, which mostly does not get reflected in the statistics. It is indeed true that these SMEs provide a large opportunity to increase output and employment substantially. They would also lead to a more vibrant economy by outperforming innovation. In spite of this, it has been revealed that the adoption of IT services by SMEs is absolutely uneven. Apart from this, many SMEs and their customers do not have access to modern broadband networks and many lack the skills to get the most out of it. These SMEs are also still using large amounts of old and less efficient hardware and software. The reason behind this is the highly priced new devices due to high import duties. SMEs are also concerned about online security and privacy. Despite these obstructions, the growth prospects described in the study are too important for governments and the IT industry to ignore.

At this point, the event industry, which is on the forefront of leveraging the IT to the hilt, are now embedding live streaming as an added offering to the event organisers and also such offerings are seen as revenue grossers.

One of the major drawbacks of the Indian economy is that almost 90 per cent of SMEs in India have no access to the internet as compared to only 22 per cent of SMEs in China and 5 per cent of SMEs in the US. As the government looks at making the most of the economic growth, it is important for the policy makers and the IT industry to implement strategies to remove barriers to IT adoption by addressing the top concerns of small businesses about using more technology.    

The author is Founder & CEO,

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