“Adoption of technology among MSMEs is rising and will grow as benefits are realized”
—Dinesh Gulati, Director, IndiaMart
How are Indian SMEs different and similar from others across the globe
A key difference lies in the way SMEs are defined in India. Most of the major economies classify micro, small and medium enterprises based either on the number of people they employ or their turnover or a combination of the two. An advantage of this classification is that it makes it easier to measure the productivity of organizations on an average or aggregate basis. However, in India the SMEs are classified on the basis of their investments in plants and machinery or other equipment. For manufacturing activities, a micro enterprise has an investment cap of Rs 25 lakh while small enterprises are capped at Rs 5 crore and medium-sized enterprises at Rs 10 crore.
SMEs in India are generally more manpower intensive and have relatively low adoption of technology as compared to their counterparts in the developed economies.
A key element of the Makers of India is to celebrate the success stories of SMEs in the country? Why do you think mainstream media often fail to tell these stories?
SMEs in India are often not so brand conscious or media-savvy as the large enterprises are and it’s not very common for them to have dedicated public relations (PR) teams. Their engagements with external PR agencies or professionals are also mostly ad hoc, if any. Consequently, one doesn’t get to see regular issue of press releases for the consumption of media, who in turn also don’t follow up for updates.
With Makers of India campaign, IndiaMart will be able to create a platform for SMEs to showcase their successes as well as exchange ideas for honing their PR skills, which in turn would potentially yield more media exposure for them.
When you talk about providing them a platform to market their business, how is it different from the current offerings of IndiaMart?
The current offering is focused on providing an e-marketplace platform that connects buyers and sellers across various sectors and market segments. The new offering will serve as a platform for knowledge and information sharing and exchange needs of MSMEs.
Access to information and knowledge is another issue that SMEs grapple with. How is the campaign going to address this issue?
As part of the campaign, we will be creating an online platform for Makers of India where MSMEs will be able to congregate and exchange ideas, say, around existing businesses as well as new opportunity areas. They could also showcase their success stories and know about others’ and know how they could be a bigger part of the nation building, especially in the wake of new government programs like Make in India and Digital India.
How can technology help address some of the key challenges that SMEs face? Are SMEs more open to trying out technology?
Digital technologies like social media, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) are helping MSMEs leapfrog and come on a level-playing field with the larger enterprises all over the world. These technologies help the small businesses overcome resource constraints to a large extent and achieve business agility when it comes to catering to needs of customers spread far and wide. Digital marketing, for example, allows MSMEs not only to reach out to customers all over the world but also gain valuable insights about their specific preferences and the propensity to make purchases for the offerings. Customer analytics enables MSMEs to pitch the right products and services to different sets of customers instead of inundating them with blanket offerings that often lead to customers unsubscribing from the mailing lists.
Thanks to a wide coverage of 3G and the rapidly growing rollout of 4G networks, more and more MSMEs are making use of digital technologies. As they experience the benefits that cloud-aided mobility provides in terms of reaching out to existing and potential customers or coordinating with suppliers, they are becoming more open to use of technologies. This is a virtuous cycle and is bound to lead to a multiplier effect in terms of adoption of technology among MSMEs.