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SMEs-The Smart Enterprises
Litty Tharakan
Litty Tharakan
COO, Quadra Software Solutions
MBA graduate from Govindaram  Seksaria, business school, Litty Tharakan has been with the IT... more>>
Successful SMEs are to be called “Smart Enterprises “by virtue of the business model they are in. They fight successfully with large enterprise and FDIs like a seven member team playing against a eleven member team of football. This is possible with dynamically sharing in the roles, curtailing unproductive operations, tapping best of the opportunities and of course the practical innovations. Even the size of the organization is mad as an advantage for them in the business operations.

SMEs use IT as an enabler, tool for control & growth and now smartly use to make differentiators in their offering to capture the market share.
Key indicators of smart operations and how IT facilitates
Timing:  Smart decisions spurt on the right time on the fly. It makes the organization least vulnerable against the ever changing market conditions. Decisions to be equipped with the real time data from the organization and the market.
 This is possible only with a robust enterprise application, which manages the internal governance and the B2C environment efficiently. ( Eg :ERP and CRM)

Dynamic changes: Organization calls rapid internal re-arrangement and business model change catering to the changes in the market and new opportunities. These changes can’t be luxurious like a BPR (Business Process Re-engineering) in SME
Enterprise IT solution with built-in templates which can accommodate changes or flexible business rules management (BRM) systems facilitates the same.

Owner Driven: Most of these organizations are running on decisions taken by the owners of the organization. But these decisions are executed and to be monitored in each of the hierarchy nodes.IT systems provide simplest authority matrices and owners dashboard, where the cross section of the organization is easily visible.

Lack of IT Trained staff: Most of the SMEs started new will be looking at IT as an enabler for business. Since smart operation is the key, a dedicated IT team may not be a feasible option.  Functional heads will be given the makeshift responsibilities to own the IT departments.

This is where, Managed Services and Cloud hosting becomes a handy options for the organization. Moreover the systems are user friendly and training methods are interactive and a rapid start of the usage is always facilitated.

Lack of standard procedures: This is the basic character of the SMEs. Creation of an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) will be not be an option on account of time and money.
Enterprise solutions provide standard work flows and authorization matrices, considering control aspects and flexibility required for the business process as . ( eg: ERP)
Fast paced growth: Management of growth is the key concern for the SMEs now days, when the business grows, the magnitude of the business problem also grows but exponentially.

It solutions provide the ideal platform for the growth. Environment will be like an oiled machinery of work flows running on systems and procedures not depending on individuals. Past data and knowledge sharing are available and are smartly used for the growth. (eg:ERPs and Analytics )

Success points for the IT Product vendors who are targeting SMEs

1.    Dedicated focus and product strategies
Venturing into SME market should not be viewed as a general expansion of the market. Dynamics of the SMEs are to be studied well before entering into the same. Many renowned vendors have tried to fit the SMEs with scale down packaging of bigger products which has failed in the end result of usage.  The usability factor, Roles sharing in authority, volume of transactions, Management of the Systems, even the basic IT requirement and Vision are unique for the SMEs.

Ideal should be a product not compromising on the breadth of functionalities, but with lesser depth in each of the functionality.
Implementation methodologies, Support mode all are to be different for the SMEs. Earlier attempts and efforts of the vendors were confined to bring down initial cost on product and licensing.

2.    Support is the key to success
 A good product may not give the success factor here. End result is the usage of the organization; this is achieved though quality support methodologies and strategies tailor made for each of the organization.  Services like data entry, out sourced IT management; manpower deployment for IT operations, Networks managements may all be bundled with the regular offering for a better and fast result.

3.    Ready for the Volume business
SME strategies have to be made around a big volume business. Subscription models, monthly payments are can be thought of for revenues.  Viability studies should provision support infrastructure ready to serve number of customers. Many organizations without initial planning of this, have seen compromising on quality offering when entered into volume of handling customers.

4.    Value for Money
Value for money is the jargon for this organization. This is where pay per use models of solutions can targets the SMEs. Initial cost of ownership pays a big role in their decision of buying i. Large and luxurious implementation plans will not hold good for SMEs. Licensing fee based on business growth is a good proposition for both.

5.    Upgrades to Follow
 When SMEs grows themselves to large enterprises their IT requirements changes, Vendors should utilize this opportunity well and should come up with periodical version upgrades    and product upgrades from time to time to utilize the opportunities. Key account management strategy hold good in this cases.

6.    Strategising the entire show and niche approach
Entire approach to this market has to be strategized properly on a long term and short term preview.  Niche approach of verticals and micro vertical gives its own advantages in the market.

7.    Be Smarter than the Smart
  IT vendors who are targeting the SME market have to be operated with better smartness than their clients and prospects. Ultimately Smart selects the smarter as their IT partner for the growth.
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