by January 3, 2013 0 comments



A recent study conducted by PCQuest indicates that the top priorities of SMBs today are to reduce operational costs, improve productivity, and enhance customer service. So, effectively, they want to “Do More”, improve productivity and enhance customer service, “With Less” i.e. reduce operational costs.



With that thought in our mind, we headed out to five cities, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Chennai, with our SMB Forum series of on ground events, along with our telecom partner Airtel to address these concerns. The events were very well received by the audience, which stood strong at an average of 50+ CIOs, CTOs, and IT decision makers of SMBs attending in each city.


The Editor of PCQuest, Anil Chopra and Online Editor, Binesh Kutty shared the findings of the above mentioned study with the audience in all the cities. Besides, they also made a presentation on ‘Technolgies that SMBs Should Adopt in 2013’. In each city, there were experienced keynote speakers and Panelist who shared their insights on the topic, how to “Do More, with Less” by using technology. Here is a quick rundown of the key takeaways from our esteemed speakers and Panelist.


Mumbai


Hilton Hotel, December 06, 2012


PCQuest Speaker & Moderator: Binesh Kutty, Online Editor, PCQuest


Keynote Speaker & Panelist: Sumeer Goyal, CTO, Quikr.com


Key Takeaways: Goyal shared some great insights on how Quickr does more with less. For instance, there was some issue where ads were getting posted on four servers, but didn’t get posted on the fifth server. The solution was simple — they setup a cron-job to frequently check the key metrics of the server availability, with a dashboard displaying all key stats.

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Speaker & Panelist: Divya Sethi, Data Services — Head, Product Sales, Airtel


Key Takeaways: Sethi emphasized the fact that the world around a business is fast changing and businesses need to adapt to these changes to have an edge. Key changes he shared were: explosion of mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc), internet becoming an integral part of the society, videos are becoming very pervasive, cloud computing is enabling businesses like never before. An intelligent network in the backend lets businesses cope with all this and more.


Speaker & Panelist: Rajesh Gupta, GM Airtel


Key Takeaways: Gupta firmly presented his belief that cloud technologies have opened up doors for SMBs to develop a competitive edge in the market. Quite simply put, he shared how the managed SaaS services of Airtel can enable businesses with high productivity and RoI without heavy investments on IT infrastructure. He also touched upon how Office 365 is a feasible solution for the SMB community to make use of.


Panelist: Lalit Wadhwani, CIO, Frameboxx Animation


Key Takeaways: Wadhwani shared how he tackled the challenge of producing a proof of concept to a prospective client, which called for more computers and people working on it temporarily at an external premise. He simply removed about 14 servers from the server room, and replaced it with 3 blade servers. This saved on space, and the team were easily accommodated in the same premises.


Panelist: : Akshay Shah, COO & Founder, iWeb


Technologies


Key Takeaways: Shah, who has a cloud based solutions (Enterprise ERP) in his product line himself, he shared how money, people, etc is always less for a startup like the one he runs. He strongly advocated technologies enabling building of frameworks that allow customers to customize the products and services that they buy.


Kolkata


Kenilworth Hotel, December 12, 2012


PCQuest Speaker & Moderator: Anil Chopra, Editor, PCQuest


Keynote Speaker: Dr. G D Gautama, WB State Information Commissioner and former Principle Secretary for micro and small industries.


Key Takeaways: SMBs play a key role to the country’s growth, but they don’t have the resources, manpower, or think tanks like their larger counter parts. All however, is not depressing, because there are ample IT tools available to keep costs under control, productivity high, and delivery to customers on track. SMBs have to learn to choose the right ones for their specific needs. The second requirement is for SMBs to work as a team and keep their manpower motivated. “A machine or computer can do the job of 10 persons, but nobody can do the job of a single, committed, and honest person”.


Speaker & Panelist: : Pankaj Malik, Institutional Head, West Bengal and Orissa circles, Airtel

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“We want to be at par with the world technology and offer that to our customers”, he said. He talked about the company’s voice and data solutions, mobile apps, managed services, and cloud computing. He explained the concept of Airtel Money, a mobile technology that allows mobile to mobile transfer of money. He ended his session by explaining Airtel’s 4G technology, which was first launched in Kolkata, and gives far greater bandwidth than traditional broadband services.


Panelist: : J.D. Mondal, DGM, WBSWAN, Webel


Key Takeaways: There are a lot of challenges in managing the West Bengal’s state WAN connectivity. It started in 2008 and has connected 340 blocks via point to point connectivity with 3 Mbps to each district and from district to state HQ. Managing links in remote areas is a challenge, especially to the block level. Currently, the state’s treasury and commercial tax departments are using it extensively, and soon land reforms and labor office will also be connected. The challenge is to get them to use it, because the govt is the least user of ICT. There’s also a project where the police department will get connected across the state.


Panelist: : Amitava Sen, DGM-IT, Cargo


Partner Logistics


Key Takeaways: The biggest challenge was to open 13-14 offices in India in the shortest possible time, and be productive from day one. It was critical to be able to provide service across all corners of India, for which we had to do more with less. We setup an IT infrastructure, where all user data, mail, etc were running centrally and accessible from all branches. We used Terminal Services, so employees could access their data by logging into any PC from anywhere. There was no need for carrying personal laptops due to this. We’re connected to all our major customers, partners, shipping, and airlines companies. There are no emails and Excel sheets exchanged, but rather orders are directly sent. Everything is automated.


Delhi


The Park Hotel, December 14, 2012


PCQuest Speaker: Anil Chopra, PCQuest


PCQuest Moderator: Binesh Kutty, Online Editor, PCQuest


Keynote Speaker: N K Goyal, President CMAI


Association of India


Key Takeaways: Goyal took a different angle on “doing more with less”. He spoke about spirituality, and how it can help in coping with daily pressures of targets, and productivity. The audience were mesmerized with his talk on stress management. Goyal’s colleague, Prerna Jain, AGM — Development, CMAI Association of India assisted in the keynote speech and spoke about the important role of social media plays in marketing, customer care, etc of products and services.


Speaker & Panelist: : Anuj Pandey, Head —


Cloud Services, Airtel


Key Takeaways: Pandey spoke about how with Cloud services even SMBs can now be more productive, without shelling out too much. He also demystified the major concerns when it comes to cloud services viz. Security and Privacy concerns. He walked the audience through the state of art infrastructure and management that the customers can rely on without a doubt in their minds.


Speaker & Panelist: : Ankur Arora, Microsoft


Key Takeaways: Arora gave two demos that captivated the audience. First demo was ‘How to build a website in 6 minutes’ using SharePoint 2013. The second demo was the new improved functionality of Excel in Office 365. The attendees were wowed by the improved accessibility to conditional formatting, auto fills, etc.


Panelist: A.M Sharma, ISV


Key Takeaways: Sharma spoke about how free and open source solutions can really enable SMBs to do more with less. He also shared how a simple EMR software implemented at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Delhi eradicated a 40 page tedious Word document that the doctors had to file after a patient’s visit. As a result, the number of patients being attended rose by between 80-150%.

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Bangalore


Royal Orchid Central, December 18, 2012


PCQuest Speaker & Moderator: Binesh Kutty, Online Editor, PCQuest


Panelist: : Amit Singh. Founder Wow Group & Co-Founder, Headstart India


Key Takeaways: Singh cited some Indian products and solutions that SMBs can look to for doing more with less. For instance, Exotel can help them eliminate the manpower and expense of call centers; and Amagi allows SMBs to get local ad syndication in TV for very cheap rates.


Panelist: : Anirban Majumdar, Co-Founder,


LoReMo Solutions


Key Takeaways: Majumdar shared his experience with cloud service providers that he has been using for his organization. He emphasized that instant support is the key area of concern when it comes to being on a cloud service provided by vendors. He also resounded the audience opinion that open source solutions can also be useful to keep the costs low, but requires a high level of self maintenance.


Speaker & Panelist: Anuj Pandey, Head — Cloud Services, Airtel


Key Takeaways: Same as in Delhi event.


Speaker & Panelist: Ankur Arora, Microsoft


Key Takeaways: Same as in Delhi event.

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Chennai


Comfort Inn, Marina Towers, December 20, 2012


PCQuest Speaker & Moderator: Anil Chopra, Editor, PCQuest


Panelist: : Amol Vidwans, Head-IT, MARG, Chennai


Key Takeaways: Don’t blindly copy what technologies are others implementing, or get swayed by the marketing pitch of vendors about their technology offerings. Assess your own requirements very carefully, read the fine print on the offerings provided by vendors, and then negotiate hard on the technology you finally choose. You’d be surprised by the level of negotiation that’s possible in technology!


Panelist: : Mani Doriasamy, CTO, OrangeScape


Key Takeaways: Every new technology takes time to mature, so cloud computing is no different, and today it has reached a level where no-one can avoid it. In fact, it makes a lot of sense for start-ups, especially those in software development, to opt for cloud based solutions instead of setting up their own IT infrastructure. For other companies, a careful assessment of what should be moved to the cloud and the RoI it will give must be evaluated.

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Speaker & Panelist: : J. Ramasambandhan, Data Head – Airtel, Kerala and Tamil Nadu


Key Takeaways: Cloud computing has reached a level where small companies don’t need to invest time and resources in setting up their own infrastructure. Instead, they can concentrate on their business.

Speaker & Panelist: : Shivakumar, Microsoft


Key Takeaways: With Office 365, you get complete office productivity in the cloud, without having to worry about new technology upgrades.

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