by December 2, 2010 0 comments

Now that the economy is coming back on the growth track, it’s important for Indian organizations to understand how to leverage IT to maximize their growth. We therefore surveyed around 136 mid to large Indian enterprises to understand how this is impacting their business, what sort of challenges they face, and what are their IT investment priorities moving ahead. The results are interesting, and there are some very clear differences in priorities of mid-sized enterprises as compared to their larger counter-parts. Here, we defined mid-sized enterprises as organizations with 100-1000 employees, whereas large enterprises were organizations with more than 1000 employees.

State of business post the slowdown
We received some interesting answers to this question. For one, there were more mid-sized organizations (33%) than large enterprises (19%) whose business declined during the slowdown and were now slowly getting back on track.
Likewise, there were a lot more large enterprises (43%) than mid-sized enterprises (24%) who didn’t witness any decline during the slowdown and were now witnessing even higher growth rates.

There were an equal number of both mid and large sized enterprises (22% each) who saw a decline in their business during the slowdown, but were now witnessing significant growth.
Unfortunately, there was a higher percentage (10%) of mid-sized enterprises whose business continues to remain affected by the slowdown as compared to large organizations (only 4%). This obviously indicates that larger enterprises have deeper pockets and can therefore survive for a lot longer during tough times.

Key drivers of investments in IT

There’s a stark difference in the IT investment priorities of mid and large sized enterprises. While 34% of the mid-sized enterprises we surveyed are looking toward IT to improve internal productivity and efficiency, only 13% of the larger organizations have this as their top priority.
Similarly, while 23% large enterprises we surveyed have improving customer satisfaction on their agenda, only 13% of the mid-sized enterprises have this as their priority for investing in IT.
Interestingly, both sized organizations have an equal number of respondents (33%) wanting to invest in IT to support rapid growth in their business.
Likewise, there are differences in just about every IT priority for types of organizations. In fact, some large organizations even have plans to leverage IT to setup new business units and create competitive pressure. Whereas mid-sized organizations don’t have any such plans in their list of priorities.
All of the above factors don’t come as a surprise, because large enterprises are early adopters of IT and have already been through most phases of IT which mid-sized enterprises are going through now. So, there’s bound to be a difference in their IT priorities. This just makes things more clear as to what are those specific priorities.
IT Pain Points of mid-sized enterprises
There are lots of pain points in IT faced by mid-sized enterprises. These can be broken up into IT infrastructure management, new technology deployment, and choosing the right products, solutions and services. The level of difficulty in these pain points can vary from being not challenges at all to somewhat challenging, to challenging and extremely challenging.

IT infrastructure management challenges: Three key pain points can be associated with IT infrastructure management. These include finding the right manpower, managing on a thin IT budget, and getting the most out of the existing IT infrastructure. Here, 65% of mid-sized enterprises rate finding the right manpower anywhere between somewhat challenging to challenging. In fact, many organizations went on to add that even if they found the right manpower, retaining them was a challenge.

Getting more out of existing IT infrastructure is considered challenging by 43% of the mid-sized enterprises, with another 28% feeling that it’s only somewhat challenging. Managing an IT infrastructure on a very low IT budget is challenging for 39% of the mid-sized enterprises, while another 31% feel that it’s extremely challenging.
New Tech Deployment Challenges: Another set of challenges is associated with implementing new IT initiatives. Some of the hurdles that a mid-sized enterprise is likely to face include justifying the cost of deploying IT to top management, managing resistance and convincing users about using IT, and integrating many islands of information.
Here, while 40% of the mid-sized enterprises find it challenging to convince top management about deploying new IT, another quarter (24%) feel that it’s only somewhat challenging. Similarly, another 30% feel it’s only somewhat challenging to convince users about using IT, while another 34% feel that it’s rather challenging. In fact, another related pain point that emerged from our survey was to train end-users on technology. Another interesting aspect here is that of meeting end-user expectations. So if the sales team requires an IT solution to their problem, it’s rather challenging for the IT team to understand the requirement clearly enough to be able to find a solution to it.
Integrating many islands of information received mixed feedback. Some felt that it was only somewhat challenging, while others felt that it was challenging or extremely challenging.
Challenges in choosing the right IT infrastructure: Any IT infrastructure comprises of products, solutions, and services. 42% of mid-sized enterprises find it challenging to choose the right IT service partner for their business. Another 36% face a challenging situation while choosing an IT solution. Another 34% find it somewhat challenging to choose the right IT product. There’s another 33% that also find choosing the right IT products for their business as challenging.
Surprisingly, a similar trend was visible across large enterprises as well. Most of the pain points vary between somewhat challenging to extremely challenging. Therefore, we’ve not displayed their graphs separately.

Other key pain points

Besides the above pain points, there are several others that users are finding it difficult to manage. Most of these have to do with vendor management. So one of these is to establish the right service level agreement with vendors. Organizations find it extremely difficult to define the right level of SLAs and track whether they’re being met or not. Another key pain point is getting the right level of after sales support. Many organizations feel that they feel dissatisfied by the quality and technical knowledge of the support staff once they’ve purchased and deployed something from a vendor.
Hardware obsolescence is another key pain area for organizations. By the time they order and get new hardware, it’s already obsolete.

Which Technology to Adopt?

There’s a slew of new technologies and buzzwords making rounds in the field of IT today. And interestingly, even from our list of 16 different technology options we shared in our survey, there’s nothing that mid-sized enterprises don’t plan to deploy. They have plans for deploying all technologies we listed down, and then some. The difference is in the number of respondents. There were more from large enterprises for deploying newer technologies as compared to mid-sized ones.
The top technology that both types of organizations plan to deploy in the future is DR and BCP. This is followed by security related technologies. Third most popular technology amongst mid-sized enterprises appears to be cloud computing, whereas it’s virtualization for large enterprises.
Cloud computing is the fourth most popular technologies amongst large enterprises. And surprisingly, Green IT is the fourth most popular technology amongst mid-sized enterprises, which is not something one would expect from this segment of the industry. And yet, 39% of mid-sized enterprises said they’ll deploy green IT technologies in the near future.
Some other technologies that organizations are considering to deploy include web 3.0, analytics, and a Content Management System.

Which IT hardware?

Hardware follows a similar trend as new technologies when it comes to the number of companies likely to spend. For instance, while servers were on top of the purchase list of organizations of both sizes, large enterprises had 71% respondents interested, while the figure was 61% in case of mid-sized enterprises.
The same trend continues when it comes to desktop PCs and notebooks. Other areas of larger difference include audio/video conferencing equipment, where there’s greater interest amongst large enterprises as compared to the mid-sized ones. Likewise for printers. In other types of hardware, the number of respondents from both types of organizations is nearly the same with a difference of less than 10%.
Some other hardware being considered for deployment include thin clients and even bar code scanners.

Which IT Security Products?
Considering that security products are amongst the topmost technologies on the purchase list of both mid and large size enterprises, one would like to understand what specific products are they planning to go for under security.
Interestingly, we found that anti-virus is on top of the purchase list for 49% of the mid-sized enterprises, followed by firewalls. In case of larger enterprises, surprisingly, firewalls are on top of the purchase list, followed by email security.
Interestingly, there’s equal amount of interest amongst both types of organizations for biometric authentication devices.

Which Business Apps?

When it comes to business apps, ERP seems to be on top of the purchase list of mid-sized enterprises, followed by CRM. This is only logical considering that the topmost challenge for these types of companies is to improve internal productivity and efficiency. That’s likely to come from a good ERP deployment. Likewise, CRM would be required by them to support rapid growth in business (second business priority).
In contrast, BI and BA software is on top of the purchase list of large enterprises, which is only natural because they need IT to support rapid growth in their business. Also, most large enterprises have already deployed ERP and CRM solutions, so they’re now looking for solutions to draw meaningful information from all the data these solutions generate. In fact, while 57% of large enterprises are likely to deploy BI and BA software, the figure for mid-sized organizations is 30%.
Next on the purchase list for both sized organizations appears to be CRM software.
IT Outsourcing plans
There’s considerable interest amongst large enterprises to outsource their WAN management. The number of respondents in case of mid-sized enterprises is at 24%, which is much lower and understandable since they may not have so many WAN links to manage in any case.
Desktop management and Internet bandwidth management seem to be the two key aspects of the IT infrastructure that mid-sized enterprises are likely to outsource.
So these were the challenges and opportunities of mid to large Indian enterprises. While it would be impossible for us to provide solutions to all the challenges in this story, we have attempted to compile together a story on various technologies that are hot these days and how to use them.

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