Evolution of analytics in Indian SMEs


Satyakam Mohanty is spearheading Ma Foi analytics as the Director & CEO. He has worked with a wide range of customers globally by creating value in areas related to sales & marketing analytics, and market research for Pharma & Medical devices organizations in the US. Satyakam shares his insights on the growing need for business intelligence and how analytics will be the forefront of change and how small and medium business can leverage technology to put strategy into use and leverage it to their advantage.

Need for analytics in India

If you look at the KPO market for instance, it’s a billion industries in India. But today it’s hard to define analytics, because at the core of it has all these predictive sciences, optimization etc. then you have associated things like market research, test research, social media research, then there is reporting BI and at the end of it, there is master data management. So depending on who you are, you can call it IT or you can call it analytics. So it’s hard to define, but the data analytics piece is the most value add, followed by BI.

In India, the prediction levels are always lower because the Indian market is always dynamic. Our GDP is growing at 7%, which means at every day, something is changing somewhere. In developed countries they don’t change so much, but in our country, given our politics, environment, etc., it’s more dynamic comparatively. So predication levels will be little lower. So it is more challenging in India and it is therefore of greater need, as my personal experience will count for less as the market around is changing more frequently.

Adoption of analytics in India

India is certainly a huge market for analytics. Banking typically is the leader globally as a sector in adoption. In India, lots of top banks and even mid-sized banks have analytics. Retail has a lot of untapped potential which is yet to adopt on sales and marketing front. On inventory side there has been some growth. E-Commerce have adopted well, most of them. Manufacturing has also adopted on inventory side, Health care not much. So India has a lot of potential, but India will take time. And India is not a place where services model would work very well, partly because even though we are in India, while we are lower cost for the rest of the world, we are not low cost to India because analytics profiles are expensive.

Opportunity in Indian SMEs

SME is an untapped market globally, even in US, the mid-market as they call it is massively untapped. The adoption rate of analytics here is very less. Today, the environment for providing analytics based intelligence services to SMEs doesn’t exist in India. It hardly exists even for larger companies. But having said that, it is a big market, there is a larger need for SMEs to adopt this early on. There are few things which can drive that. As more and more companies start using internet for sales and customer acquisitions, using cloud for their businesses, it will accelerate. Today, India is also hampered by the infrastructure; basic data practices are still poor. For instance, I came across a regional bank with more than 300 branches, certainly not small. They don’t even have a central IT platform. When asked about how they do their decision making, their answer was that branch manager takes all decisions, acting like a mini CEO. Some of those practices have to be changed. In other cases, some of the fairly large banks, they have started using analytics and are doing fairly well on customer acquisition side, but still poor when it comes to risk side, as there are huge number of defaulters. Slowly they have started to think differently.

Scaling will be another challenge. You also need a solution centric approach. You gotta lead with solution and there has to be a touch and feel factor that can be monitored every day. These are some of the factors which can drive SME’s growth.