The scope of cloud computing for Indian SMEs

<h1>The scope of cloud computing for Indian SMEs</h1>

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India have come a long way in the previous few decades, serving as the backbone of our economy with 63 million+ establishments employing 120 million+, generating half of India’s exports, and contributing about 30 percent of India’s GDP. SMEs have been among the hardest affected industries by the consequences of the shutdown and the Covid-19 outbreak, requiring them to rethink their business methods. Technology adoption fuelled by digital transformation, particularly the selection of cloud-based solutions, can be critical in re-energising this sector by assisting them in expanding across customer groups and business units while improving costs and curating their products and services to meet the needs of their customers.

As businesses adjust to the new normal, it is critical for SMEs to stop treating IT enablement as an afterthought. Cloud-based solutions demand special attention as part of the process toward embracing the proper technology to scale company outcomes. Cloud computing provides software, platforms, and infrastructure as a service on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing SMEs to embrace world-class technology at a cheap cost of ownership. These technological advancements have helped several SMEs develop and manage tier enterprises easily.

How does cloud solutions help SMEs grow?

In the previous five years, the use of digital technology by SMEs has increased dramatically (68 percent offline1 in 2016 to 37 percent non-users2 in Sept 2020). The cloud adoption landscape among Indian MSMEs may be summarised as follows:

16% of SMBs have acquired some degree of maturity, as evidenced by the use of 6-14 cloud-based apps. While the majority of this category has implemented websites, corporate email IDs, and/or social media to communicate with clients, the most sophisticated SMEs have leveraged selling online on e-commerce sites or listing on 3rd party portals.

In terms of data accessibility, cloud technology has been a wonderful equaliser. Instead of offline storage held under lock and key and access restricted to the availability of the person storing data, it is now accessible to all relevant stakeholders at any time and from any location. SMEs are increasingly relying on cloud-based functionality ranging from HRMS solutions to CRM, accounting, salesforce automation, and even design.

Aside from making cooperation and teamwork easier, cloud computing saves money for frequently cash-strapped SMEs by providing SaaS solutions that are available to them on the move and without requiring large investments on their part. Furthermore, they are extremely adaptable programmes that can be customised according to one’s demands, from the number of users to the features provided. These applications can be maximised and improved in tandem with the company’s rising needs. This enables an SME to convert CAPEX into OPEX by paying modest fees in exchange for enjoying the tremendous profits of cloud technology.

Digital push for SMEs

Widespread high-speed internet access over wide swaths of India, along with falling data costs for more than five years, has prompted many small company owners to actively investigate digital implementation (e.g., digital payments/UPI, mobile wallets, and online banking). The next wave of potential is cloud computing, which is commonly consumed as Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS – compute, network, and backup available in a rental model) or SaaS (software-as-a-service – fully hosted applications accessible remotely through the internet).

Cloud and digital demands of SMEs are advocated for and met primarily through channel partners and IT resellers (60 percent), owing to their vast reach, with digital engagement platforms garnering mindshare. While there is still a need to educate small and medium-sized businesses on cloud strategy and recruiting to fill the skills gap, there is no alternative for a business’s secure digital adviser who can guide them on their road to cloud maturity. Channel partners assist the firm by urging it to investigate digital technologies and SaaS while describing their effect.

Concerns on adopting Cloud solutions:

The SME segment in India’s cloud industry is facing a unique set of technical and commercial issues, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 situation. According to a NASSCOM survey, the main impediments to increasing cloud adoption include hidden (and non-transparent) cloud prices (37%), suppliers’ inability to deliver tailored services (33%), and staff opposition to digitalization (29%).

A big fear for businesses that use cloud technology is that their data is easily accessible to hostile attacks and that their privacy will be jeopardised. Data breaches, account hijacking, virus injections, and data loss are examples of such situations. It is strongly advised that all individuals who use cloud services trust well-known and trusted names when picking a service provider, and to exercise caution since the supply and monitoring of security and privacy is the joint duty of the service provider and the user.

Many businesses also use the services of cloud security specialists and software to protect their data. The fundamental key to safeguarding data in the cloud is to guarantee correct permission for logins and access, to regularly monitor user behaviour, and to maintain a data backup and recovery account. Security is provided in layers by service providers, so choose the standard that best meets your needs.

The ability for cloud computing to be transformative is dependent on the adoption environment that is created. Given the dynamic nature of the technology, cloud adoption raises a slew of concerns that companies and authorities are wrestling with. Cloud-based services are expected to be most ideal for Small and Medium Enterprises due to their on-demand, elastic nature.

Even though COVID-19 has affected SMEs, it has also created new chances for them to adapt and evolve through meaningful digitalization, of which cloud adoption is a crucial component. SMEs who continue to invest in or dare to invest in public cloud products (IaaS/SaaS or packaged packages, as illustrated above) will almost surely be able to redefine their businesses, making them more competitive and future-ready.