How Microsoft is helping Indian SMBs adopt cloud solutions and survive the COVID-19 impact
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian SMBs are minimising expenses and staying afloat by adopting technologies such as cloud, digital payments, ecommerce, digital bookkeeping, CRM, automation, etc., rapidly.
The adoption of cloud technology, in particular, is expected to significantly impact cost-cutting and play a role in determining the survival of SMBs.
Cloud technology allows solutions such as CRM, ERP, web servers, enterprise applications, IoT solutions, etc., to be hosted online by a service provider.
In a video interaction on SMBStory’s Digital Playbook for SMBs, Harish Vellat, Country Head, Small, Medium, and Corporate Business, Microsoft India, said:
“SMBs that adopted technology such as cloud solutions had it better off than SMBs that didn’t. Only a small segment of SMBs understood what it took to collaborate, connect, and communicate, and they responded fast enough. They were able to migrate to remote working quickly, and resume business without too much disruption.”
SMBs that did not respond quickly enough saw their problems accentuated. These SMBs, who did not have cloud-based collaborative tools and systems to access common applications, found it more difficult to work remotely, according to Harish.
Advantages of cloud
It is a well-known fact that cloud technologies are hosted by service providers like Microsoft — not the SMBs themselves. Thus, SMBs do not have to install and maintain the technology.
Further, cloud technology and applications help SMBs communicate, monitor, and delegate crucial tasks even as they work from home. Tracking real-time data and preventing its unauthorised access are other features of cloud technology.
“Cloud solutions help SMBs acquire customers in a cost-efficient way. They also help supplement some of the physical processes undertaken by the SMBs and open up new ways of delivering products and services. SMBs can invest these savings into growth and take their productivity higher,” explained Harish.
Indian businesses are now poised to adopt cloud computing and software at a heightened pace. According to a report by IDC — on the impact of COVID-19 on IT spending — 64 percent of Indian organisations are expected to increase demand for cloud computing. About 56 percent are expected to increase demand for cloud software to support the new normal.
The need for remote working is bolstering the demand for cloud technology, especially for SaaS-based collaborative applications.
However, not all SMBs have the necessary knowledge and education in adopting cloud technologies. Traditional SMBs that don’t consider technology solutions as factors of production may consider them as expenses rather than investments.
“One of the resources that drive factors of production is technology. If SMBs are looking to lower costs, drive productivity, and respond to market changes quickly, they need to look towards cloud technology as a way of improving their P&L statements. This mindset can help thinking of technology as an investment,” Harish said.
A diverse SMB sector
Not all SMBs are alike; they all have different ways of navigating the current scenario, preparing for a comeback, and shaping their business for a post-COVID world.
“Some SMBs only need business continuity solutions. Others require digital transformation solutions for truly modernising the organisation. Or it can be a combination of both. To address these needs, Microsoft provides an SMB Back2Business Solution alongside our network of over 11,000 partners, who wrap their services around our core offerings for SMBs of different sizes,” Harish said.
The SMB Back2Business Solution brings together offerings across Azure, Modern Work and Business Apps, and are curated for specific scenarios across organisations of different sizes.
With their cloud spend continuing to grow, SMBs represent a significant cloud sales and services opportunity for Microsoft and its partners.
The pandemic and the nationwide lockdown made business continuity a priority for Indian SMBs, and they are now increasingly coming on to cloud infrastructure such as Microsoft’s.
The rapid adoption of cloud adoption is, thus, expected to play a key role in helping SMBs become more efficient and resilient, and pave the way towards economic recovery.