by December 1, 2011 0 comments


Applies to: MSME sector
USP: Challenges faced by MSMEs
Related articles: India, Slovenia MSMEs to Collaborate in IT :
Search engine keywords:Downtime, MSME, ASSOCHAM

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) will contribute 22% to India’s GDP by 2012, according to a study by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). The contribution according to the study was 17% in 2009. Also, MSMEs accounts for about 45% of the manufacturing output and around 40% of the total export of the country which is estimated to increase to 44% by 2012. We see the contribution of MSMEs to various sectors as follows:

The contribution of MSMEs to various sectors is tremendous. MSMEs not only help create employment opportunities, it helps focus on ‘inclusive growth’ in a country like India.

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While MSMEs showcase such success rates, they still face a number of impediments including the financial and technological constraints. When it comes to finances, banks are reluctant to lend to MSMEs due to their higher risk profile owing to zero collateral or their limited years of operations. MSMEs have access to only 15 percent of funding coming from internal sources, 25 percent from banks and financial investments, and 10 percent from capital markets. When it comes to technology, access to latest technology is acting as a serious threat to the growth of the sector. One of the major drawbacks of this inaccessibility is wastage as a result of downtime. Downtime, when not attended to creates a huge roadblock for MSMEs.

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What exactly is downtime?

The term downtime is used to refer to periods when a system is unavailable. It is a period of time that a system fails to provide or perform its primary functions. The impact of downtime is directly proportional to the significance of the specific ‘system’ in a business process. Downtime issues are seen as a significant deterrent to a user as well as the business.

Impact of downtime on M & SMEs?

As per estimates by Symantec in its 2011 SME Disaster Preparedness Survey, the median cost of downtime for an SME is about $12,500 per day. Outages cause customers to leave -54 percent of MSME customer respondents reported they have switched MSME vendors due to unreliable computing systems, a 12 percent increase compared with last year’s survey. This downtime can also put them out of business. When MSMEs experience downtime, it costs their customers an average of $10,000 per day. In addition to direct financial costs, 29 percent of the customers surveyed lost ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of important data as a result of downtime impacting their MSME vendors.

For the M & SME sector, threats of flooding and fire can seem unrealistic —more likely to occur are transport strikes, bad weather or malware. These regularly affect businesses and many experience lost revenue because of poor planning. Remedying the situation could be as easy as replicating data to an off-site data center to spread the possible points of failure, or ensuring remote access is available for staff to work when conditions prevent them from reaching the office. While no strategy can guard against every issue, a business should always be able to recover from whatever occurs.

Protective measures like workstation monitoring and administrative lockdown to ensure the standardisation of machines. Standard users should be prevented from making rogue software decisions which could result in the possibility of

Ways to avoid a downtime

Following are a few measures to to do away with downtime.

1. Xcopy simplicity: Can the entire product, with all dependencies, data, the runtime and more be deployed with an Xcopy command?

a. How does this help?

b. It’s possible to set up a simple batch file (remember the DOS days of .BAT files?) and create a desktop icon. The user needs to click on this icon at the end of the day. The entire folder would get backed up to a rewritable DVD or a USB pen drive. In case of disk failures (and these happen far more often that one expects), it’s a simple matter (even if the owner needed to be told on phone how to do the steps) to copy back the contents to a fresh disk and get going.

2. Integrated backup: Can your product prompt to take a backup on quit? This process was quite common during the DOS/Foxpro application days, but is largely ignored today. Your product can then either do an incremental backup, or a full backup, depending on time and data size.

3. License management: How simply can you re-license the product? This is needed in case the user moves to a new server, or formats the existing one, or replaces critical components (which are often part of the fingerprint for licenses). Can you set up a non-human process that enables this to be done in minutes?

4. ‘Complete’ disaster: Have you seen computer systems fried by lightning — nothing survives, not even the attached devices and USB drives. What best practices are you training your SMB owner to follow to store backups off-premise? Do you support data encryption and storage to a USB drive that the owner carries with him personally?

5. On-line storage: Are you able to compress the entire application and data to a size small enough to use on-line backup services? Are you setting these up and either supporting these from within the application or via a desktop shortcut?

6. Application size: Under
normal installation and use, application size does not matter. After all a 20MB install or a 2GB install has no real cost implications (disk costs are now of no significance, really). Now consider a recovery situation — the SMB has a wireless modem or a 256K broadband connection. How easy is it to download a 1GB+ installer and get things going?

With some of the suggestions listed above, SMBs can recover from full disasters in less than 30 minutes flat! No longer will downtime be seen as an issue — it is considered a ‘solved’ problem to them.

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