This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Sudhir Kunder, Country Director, DE-CIX India
Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the pillars of the Indian economy
contributing to an over 40% share in the country’s GDP and employment. To add further, a number as loud as 56 million MSME entrepreneurs showcases the capabilities of Indian entrepreneurs to innovate and create products that address the specific needs of the country.
The ongoing pandemic has become a phase of evolution for various MSME sectors and
digitization contributing towards strengthening their arms and helping them cope up in these tough times.
As MSMEs navigate themselves and embrace digital adoption, they are also experiencing roadblocks that make the progress delayed or retarded. Right from restricted budgets to a lack of know-how and expertise, security, legacy hindrances, and many more, the challenges are multiple
- Challenges related to tech adoption
The top challenges of the Indian MSMEs that are visible in their journey towards digital shift are –
- Limited growth capital makes technology adoption and digital transformation lethargic.
- MSMEs are resistant to augment digital technologies because cutting-edge technologies evolve faster and it requires an equal talent pool that is adept with the latest technologies and platforms. Nurturing an in-house team is an expensive affair and the biggest roadblock for this sector.
- Storing, analyzing, and managing crucial structured and unstructured data to make business decisions is challenging for MSMEs.
- Data, cloud, and system management along with the training required to handle them, leave MSMEs uncertain.
- Many MSMEs are still unaware of digital impact, and the ignorance is not bliss as they fail to build customer loyalty and retention.
- MSMEs in sectors that are tech-averse and vice versa
Every sector today realizes that there is no respite from digital adoption. The ones who miss the bus are sure shot to either perish or experience a torpid graph. And after the pandemic bringing the best of business verticals to a standstill, everyone right from the next-door grocery store to MSMEs from diverse sectors have started embracing digital transformation.
MSMEs will have to make room for digital transformation in their overall business strategy. This would involve finding the right purpose, consult, plan, and then invest to become digital-ready.
- Learning Curve and adoption
Despite having a great product, it is necessary to persistently innovate, upgrade, and keep making alterations that will improve the product. With the proliferation of new technologies expanding at an ever-increasing rate, MSMEs are faced with the challenge of adopting the digital learning curve among their employees. An outsourcing partner can be a quick rescue and help the MSMEs stay tuned to the latest frameworks.
- High investment and return ratio
Investing in digital adoption requires to be a thorough thought process; because the trend is no more limited only to adoption. To sustain and grow, digital innovation strategies matter more. The focus should be on introducing a digital product that elevates the customer experience and improves loyalty and retention. If the underlying principle of any digital investments is driven by value, then returns become proportional or at times greater too.
- Lack of talent to operate technologies
Digital literacy is imperative for MSMEs to make optimal use of technology-enabled platforms. The progression of disruptive technologies is tremendous and digitalization through Cloud Computing, Big data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Mining & the Internet of Things (IoT) is on a high pedestal. It is a challenge for the MSMEs to source relevant talent in time and connect them with their business objectives.
- Scope of using advanced tech like AI, ML, AR/VR
Technology has immense power to enrich small businesses with digital products that can amplify their customers’ experience. Harnessing technologies such as AI/ML, AR/VR, IoT, Data Intelligence can give a competitive edge and empower them to elevate and compete with large businesses. Data insights are the key drivers and help expedite important business decisions, such as whether to adopt a new tool or enter a new market. Technology can thus help MSMEs become more efficient and stay relevant in the fast-changing times.
We are happy to see MSMEs from diverse sectors approaching us to either redefine the existing digital setup or develop a new one. It is certainly a very good transformation to see the Indian MSMEs on-board the digital wagon and drive strategies that help them scale and sustain in this cut-throat competition. Realizing that it is only the survival of the fittest, digital agendas have started taking deep roots.
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