Pune: By 2020, India is likely to have about 730 million people using the Internet, and by 2022, there will be more than 700 million smartphone users in the country.
While internet penetration has improved in areas where MSMEs are most prevalent, many of these businesses are still running in an informal manner without being registered, and thus cannot utilise the latest tech and software solutions that are being offered to registered MSMEs. However, changes in policy & regulatory changes such as GST and demonetisation pushed many MSMEs to go digital and register themselves. With the technical assistance for industries and entrepreneurs at the district-level and government-backed incubation centres still lacking, a lot more needs to be done to empower MSMEs. Successful SMEs in developed markets & all over the world, have adopted technology for higher productivity, better customer experiences and for scaling up their operations and presence, ensuring sustainable growth and profits.
MSMEs provided employment to more than 123 Mn workers in FY’16 in India and the potential for adoption of business analytics tools in the SME sector is high as it aligns with digital tools used for payments, accounts and sales tracking. On one hand where some Indian tech startups are at the forefront of the technology and the digital revolution, they have room to offer solutions to MSMEs. Tech platforms such as SaaS and business analytics offerings can help MSMEs connect with potential clients to grow their business further, manage inventory smartly and enhance delivery efficiency of their product or services, manage labour, RoC, IT, GST filings, accounts and more.
While new age companies are looking to strengthen their technology-based products and services, older and more traditional SMEs want to transform their legacy infrastructure to keep pace with increasing competition. In a world of agile tech-based companies, older companies must modernise and transition to be a software defined business if they want to retain their competitive edge. In the current Digital Age, customers demand seamless access and will not stick to a business that does not deliver just that, while digital transformation will mean improved profitability and revenues for every business.
In a survey conducted by India SME Forum as apart of its annual State of the MSME study in 19 states, over 34% of the overall 1,29,537 MSME respondents are employing digital means of communicating with Employees, Customers and Suppliers whereas only 7% have fully embraced digital technology or SAAS Solutions. Over 50% of the MSMEs highlighted several benefits (increase in profitability, operational efficiency & improved customer engagement), however 70% of the MSME respondents cited lack of knowedge as key barrier for wider adoption. Major causes for low technology adoption that have been cited by the MSME respondents in the survey are :
1. Lack of understanding and guidance of business benefits, technology can deliver
2. Resistance to incurring upfront investment-related costs to implement technology
3. Lack of skilled / trained manpower to manage technology setups
Understanding the need for Government, Organsiations, Technology Providers and Corporates to work together for digitally empowering MSMEs, a National Campaign for Accelerating Business using technology has been envisaged to enable India MSMEs for technology absorption resulting in increased revenues, lower risks, reduced costs and sustainable competitiveness in the International markets. In this series, the first of its kind Entrepreneurs Day is being organised on 24th September 2019 at Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel, which will showcase Tech Tools for Business, Skill workshops on using technology, branding, compliance along with face to face sessions with mentors and speed networking sessions. Entrepreneurs can just walk in to the Day, entry for which is being offered free of cost by the organisers or call 7710000933/960 to pre-register.
Mr. Vinod Kumar, President of India SME Forum stated that, “The scale of digital transformation this country presents is tremendous and Greater digitization of MSMEs has the potential to triple the MSME sectors GDP contribution (from the current 8% share), heighten employment opportunities for India’s growing workforce and boost overall economic growth. India SME Forum is committed to take global best practices and solutions to all the progressive MSMEs of India and we are thankful for the support of the Ministry of MSME and Intel. We are starting our journey with Rajashthan and now coming to Pune knowing fully well that MSMEs here, are extremely open to implementing New technologies, Solutions and Tools for boosting profits and growth.”
Roshni Das, Director – Marketing, Intel India, asserts, “MSMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy and pivotal to driving future innovation and growth in the country. Intel is committed to working with the ecosystem to ensure education, technology access and support for these businesses. We’re excited to collaborate with the India SME Forum to digitally empower MSMEs in India, enabling greater productivity, efficiency, opportunity and business success,”.
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