Post image for New-Age Technology For Indian SMEs

New-Age Technology For Indian SMEs

by Vivek on March 4, 2015

As a technology consultant and cloud evangelist, I work extensively with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). My definition of an SME is a company with 10 to 500 users — a user being someone who employs IT. In my opinion, Indians SMEs differ from Enterprise Customers in their approach to using technology. Indian SMEs rely heavily on their IT partners for technology adoption, unlike Enterprise Customers where CIO-led IT teams manage it.

Here are some thoughts on how Indian SMEs can adopt latest technology, specifically in Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud (SMAC) areas.

Pre-adoption IT Infrastructure

Let us take the case of a 150-user manufacturing company with a head office, few branches, and a couple of factories and warehouses. In a company of this size, the core system usually consists of a file server (for centralized document storage and active directory), an application server for accounts (typically Tally), some manufacturing applications, and desktop office productivity software.

Users generally store data in ‘My Documents’ on their PCs. A legacy email server or an Outlook-configured mailbox is the usual choice. Inbox is configured with the mobile phone. Collaboration involves sharing files using email. Analytics means working on Excel sheets.

 Existing scenario

The current operation system has many limitations:

  • When out of office premises, the user cannot access required documents
  • Backup for ‘My Documents’ is not generally created
  • Legacy email system has low reliability and is prone to failure
  • Limited access to old mails when out of office
  • No sync with contacts, calendar, and sent items, hence limiting users to Inbox
  • Reduced storage space due to multiple email attachments and responses

The Way Forward

The proposed solution should take care of the limitations of the existing system and also lay the foundation of a scalable, modern architecture.

Email

For any organization, large or small, email is at the heart of communication. A cloud-based enterprise email system is the way forward for various reasons:

  • Gives users access to mailboxes of 50 GB or more, eliminating the need for creating local archive files
  • Is equipped with anti-virus and anti-spam protection, ensuring clean emails
  • Comes with 99.99% uptime with financially backed SLA
  • Has 24×7 phone support, which is a huge advantage to an SME customer
  • Offers mailbox with inbox, sent items, calendar, contacts, and tasks that are synced across Outlook, browser, mobile, and tablet. This makes all data available without the internet
  • Provides tools like Meeting Scheduler and Team Task Management
  • Comes with legal hold, data loss prevention, and information rights management for better email security
  • Provides multi-factor authentication for additional security
  • Has a policy for mobile device management software that permits only limited devices to access corporate data. This allows user to remotely wipe all corporate data if device is lost

Document Management

Instead of sharing documents as email attachments, a more functional method is to create a cloud-enabled team site for reports where users can upload their documents. This provides many advantages.

  • Facilitates sharing of files both internally and externally
  • Gives only permitted users access to reports
  • Provides large storage space for each user which is synced with PC and mobile, ensuring backup of ‘My Documents’ and access across all devices
  • Allows financial team to work simultaneously on budgets even if users are in different locations

Collaboration

Collaboration is a must in any organization including SMEs. As most users are exposed to social media, setting up a similar platform can be beneficial in many ways.

  • Eliminates numerous email threads and improves collaboration
  • Provides flexibility by restricting the platform to internal users or allowing access to vendors and consultants
  • Enables different departments to form groups and brainstorm on specific projects
  • Provides a reliable forum to upload files from the cloud drive, allowing access across all devices

Communication

Conferencing solutions in many companies are often restricted to conference rooms. There is a pressing need for cloud-enabled mobile conferencing to facilitate effective communication.

  • Provides every user with personal conferencing system, allowing direct participation through their devices
  • Ensures smooth audio and video conferencing with any number of participants

Analytics

Without investing in large business analytics systems, users can utilize Cloud and Excel sheets provide accurate reports and other benefits.

  • Allows users to employ familiar tools such as Excel spreadsheets in internet-connected team sites
  • Enables easy creation of reports that anyone can access

Security & Compliance

All cloud-enabled systems enumerated here have built-in security and compliance features. These provide critical benefits for all SMEs.

  • Enables routing of incoming and outgoing email copies to central email
  • Prevents configuration of Outlook on unauthorized PCs or laptops even with password
  • Prevents copying and pasting of file data
  • Restricts access of document team sites to specific IP addresses
  • Prevents leak of confidential data and emails

Pay as you go

Indian SMEs can surely implement state-of-the-art technology. The good news is that they can avail this through a cloud-based subscription model. This means, companies can add or reduce users as per their needs. With the cost per user being less than that of two coffees, they can hardly ask for more to be on the path of optimum growth and advancement.

This article has been contributed by Suresh Ramani, CEO & Cloud Computing Evangelist at TechGyan.

Related Posts:

Previous post:

Next post: