SMEs in India are thinking out Cloud

by September 16, 2015 0 comments

In today’s competitive markets, startups and SMEs are competing neck-to-neck with larger enterprises or even leading two steps ahead. The cut-throat aspirations amongst them are making them hungry for cutting-edge cloud applications to empower themselves with competencies that are usually seen in the repertoire of large enterprises.
Catering to the same demand, many enterprises are capitalizing on the demands and introducing easy-to-use cloud apps to empower ever-growing SMEs in India.
Adding to it, Cloud Practice Head of a digital services company, TO THE NEW Digital, Aman Aggarwal said, “For SMEs, cloud has been proved as a boon as there is no need to buy and install expensive software for it, because it’s already installed online.
According to the Microsoft survey rather than spending money to maintain hardware that often goes unused, subscribing to software and services for a low monthly fee can help small businesses stretch their budgets further.  “Moreover, not to mention the fact that many cloud applications are offered free of charge also.  With cloud applications, you subscribe to the software, rather than buying it outright. This means that you only need to pay for it when you need it, and it also offers flexibility and in that it can be quickly and easily, scaled up and down according to demand.  It offers virtually unlimited storage compared to server and hard drive limits,” Aggarwal added.
For instance, Microsoft recently announced that it will offer free its Azure cloud services to startups in India for speeding up the entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. The Azure cloud services, valued at USD 120,000 will be given free to qualified start-ups under the ‘BizSpark plus programme’ for building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
Seagate Technology also offers a range of cloud apps including Seagate Media App. The Media app enables data sharing, managing, and viewing files from smartphone or tablet from anywhere. It automatically organizes all files by type, making them easy to view.
“The variety of apps Seagate offers not only provides secure data access from anywhere outside of the office, but also empowers SMEs to build robust and reliable centralized data storage system cost-effectively. They also enable SMEs to utilize the full potential of a NAS system, such as cloud backup and surveillance system, without excessive cost and manpower investment. In today’s world where data management defines how businesses interact and serve their customers, these NAS systems and applications are essential to their growth,” said Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager for India & SAARC, Seagate Technology.
Similarly, enterprises of all sizes and repertoire are creating a cloud ecosystem for aspiring startups or SMEs across sectors in India.
Application Portability across clouds
Eyeing this market, Bluemeric Technologies, an India-based startup with focus on DevOps solution and services, launched its SDLC 3.0 platform, goPaddle.
Cloud computing has started making a profound impact on the application development. Mobile and web based application development companies have significantly benefited by developing and rolling out their applications on clouds. But application downtimes and development process can delay the lab to market cycle. 80% of downtime of mission critical applications is caused by miscommunications about the release change. Similarly 45 to 65 percent of the issues are introduced during the requirements and design phase of the software development. GoPaddle addresses these two problems through improved collaboration between the teams and helps to identify issues early in the release cycle through container based shift left approach. Due platform neutrality, goPaddle offers developers and IT teams the flexibility to use different operating systems and different cloud platforms across the software release cycle.
While model-driven PaaS and container adoption is on the raise, most of the applications still run on Infrastructure clouds compared to platform clouds. A solution like goPaddle connects these technologies with the existing application deployments.
Using goPaddle, cloud based application development companies can now speed up their software development process. They can do forward and reverse engineering of a multi-tier application in a similar fashion. In addition to this agile application delivery, they can also achieve application portability across different cloud platforms.
Relationship Cloud
Headquartered in USA with its 100% subsidiary in India, SalezShark Inc most recently launched customer relationship management platform based on Relationship Cloud in India to empower sales and marketing teams of SMEs. SalezShark is the next generation platform for sales and marketing that harnesses the power of customer intelligence and provides a 360 degree view of customers to drive better engagement and strengthen professional relationships that ultimately lead to exponential sales.
“In the era of customer centricity, it’s all about creating superior customer experience & better engagement. Traditional CRMs handle sales automation but do little to facilitate better relationships. SalezShark is born to address this void with its Relationship Cloud via Personalization, Contextual Intelligence and Customer 360 along with sales & marketing automation that makes it a complete solution to strengthen business relationships and perform better sales,” said  Ajay Chauhan, CEO and Co-Founder, SalezShark.
SalezShark is available as a SaaS based platform along with different subscription modules, tailored to suit different business models. Chauhan said that, one can implement it in just two hours on any web platform, and iOS and Android, for mobile device. The company claims to empower startup with cost-effectiveness, as Chauhan commented that other peers in the industry offer solutions for low prices, but keep charging at every step for support, for security service and so-on-and-so-forth. “While SalezShark charges only once and support the client fully in that one time cost itself,” he added.
Call Management Cloud
MyOperator, a cloud-based call management system is reaping the revenues by managing SMEs’ business calls thereby creating a complete database of their customers for the purpose of mobile marketing, creating regular reports and maintaining effective communication within the organization. Cloud offerings in MyOperator include three bundled features, PBX, call tracking on mobile app, and remarketing.
“Cloud based applications bring in easy adoption. They save time and availing them an option to be at par with large enterprises. For example, MyOperator’s remarketing feature avails an SMS based marketing platform for SMBs. It enables small business owners to reach out to their callers via SMS,” said Ankit Jain, founder & CEO of MyOperator.
Enterprise mobility cloud
To put it simple, Kushal Nahata, CEO and co-founder of Delhi-based startup FarEye, said that cloud computing, social media, mobility solutions and collaboration are the four highest priorities for SMEs in 2015. Once such cloud based app catering to the management demands of out- of- office workforce is FarEye. FarEye is a cloud based app that aims at enhancing the management of remote employees and gaining transparency across field operations. The ‘enterprise mobility platform’ helps in carrying out vital operations relating to scheduling, execution and evaluation. The app has a dashboard that performs vital functions like job dispatching, auto assigning of jobs, live job updates, real time coordination, notifications to customers and instant notifications and communications between the field workforce and the manager in the office.
For small and medium businesses, email/ collaborations softwares, web/ e-commerce, office tools and productivity based and CRMs are the most commonly used apps nowadays.”About 59 % of SMEs using cloud services have reported a significant increase in productivity benefits from IT as compared to just 30% of SMEs not using any cloud based services,” said Nahata.
Cloud Telephony
A prominent cloud telephony company Knowlarity provides communication tools including cloud telephony, IVR, fax and conferencing facilities for SMEs, enterprise customers and individuals.
The company is banking on the cloud opportunity with four main products SuperReceptionist, a cloud based, telephony service is your virtual assistant, front office receptionist, lead manager, and CRM rolled into one. The second product SmartIVR creates the impression of a professionally managed company at little costs to you. One can create multiple departments within the company with the help IVR, ‘press 1 for sales’, ‘press 2 for voicemail’, ‘press 3 for marketing’, ‘press 4 for voicemail’. “IVR services are a must for any modern enterprise looking to make the best of their limited resources. It provides an option for after hours or holiday customers by routing calls to voicemail or night support. Unlike conventional IVR Systems that are expensive to install and maintain, Knowlarity’s Smart IVR services are affordable as you spend for what you use and there is no excess capacity,” claims Ambarish Gupta, CEO & founder of Knowlarity.

The third product,  Superfax which allow company to discard their fax machines as faxes are sent and received as email attachments, paving the way for greener offices of tomorrow. And fourth Superconference is a digital voice system on the cloud that gives a high quality sound experience every time, secured with a unique PIN and ID number.
The company has also launched new ‘Super Receptionist app’ that allows businesses to view call records on their mobile and track their leads with the touch of a button. Power packed with features like business health indicator, call analytics, customer location tracking, click–to-call and a lot more. This app comes with a lifetime subscription and business phone number at no cost along with a few minutes of full service. Further, subscribers don’t have to worry about the safety of their sensitive business data because this application is connected to servers hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is the most secure and reliable platform in the world for cloud-based services.
The Super Receptionist app becomes your personal call manager. It can help handle your calls when you are busy, and filter out the unwanted calls that you do not want to answer. Business Health Indicator in this app performs complicated data analysis on your call records to let business owners know their efficiency and responsiveness to customer requests.  “Having the Super Receptionist app on the mobile has enabled SMBs to now have the power of data analytics literally at their finger tips. They do not need to login to a computer or wait for complicated procedures to look at simple data which could help them. Like which region they got maximum calls in the last month, which agent was able to convert more sales and so on,” said Gupta.
Talking about benefits of cloud telephony, He said that cloud telephony  being available on your mobile phone provides dual benefits to customers, like, collaboration, as this  allows more collaborative working as multiple people can view and edit the same information at once, ensuring your team works efficiently.
Gupta also told that Software as a service (SaaS) allows SME’s to ensure all users of their application are on the same version of the software. This is because they can provide automatic updates to cloud applications, rather than waiting for users to do it themselves. This also helps with support, as the company will know what version of the software is being used when issues are logged.
Some cloud do’s and don’ts for SMEs
The best way for any SME to save time and money, is to learn from others. There are a few do’s and don’ts for new cloud adopters.  Seagate Technology’s Rajesh Khurana suggests that with a surge in data volumes and the necessity for its efficient and safe storage, SMEs should thoroughly check the data security aspect while selecting cloud applications. “They should opt for cloud storage solutions which would address this fundamental issue in a scalable and secure way, without compromising the performance,” he added.
Adding to the same, TO THE NEW Digital’s Aggarwal said that SMEs should understand their needs that will help them in identifying the right service provider according to their requirements.  “One of the most crucial points to be kept in mind is to ensure the security of the data stored in cloud. Moreover, SMEs should always opt for zero CapEx model (pay-as-you-go) with no long-term commitment,” he added.​
In today’s time, SMEs should keep in mind while selecting cloud applications is openness in integration with different platforms, cost projection of expenditure, features you need vs. features being offered, data security and peer reviews, and customer support, said MyOperator’s Ankit Jain.
While we all know that cloud has the potential to drive any business notches higher through its diverse uses and applications. “Some ways of the critical aspects which one must keep in mind while selecting a cloud application are,  cost effectiveness, flexibility, security,  productivity, disaster recovery, and collaboration efficiency,” said Vikas Bhonsle, CEO, Crayon Software Experts India Pvt Ltd.
He further elaborated that SMEs need to ensure there are suitable applications in cloud, which ensures that data is backed up and one can access it again much faster than non-cloud users.
Usually, first and foremost priority of SME is to focus on business growth. Adding to it, Knowality’s Ambrish Gupta said that SMEs should look at their business growth, and for that, they need to make sure that the cloud applications they choose are reliable, cost effective and provide them with scale. “Scale is important as the business grows. Also, the cloud applications they choose should be easy to operate without any technical knowledge,” he concluded.

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