Technology for MSMEs: Networking giant Cisco is aspiring to reach 15 lakh small businesses in the span of three years in the country, Cisco’s Managing Director for small businesses Panish PK told Financial Express Online.
While the focus for Cisco has always been large enterprises, it started catering to SMBs a year and a half back. The rationale was simple. “At Cisco, we believe that the small and medium businesses are the bedrock of any country’s economy. They’re the real movers and shakers because they employ over 100 million people in India and have a 30% contribution to India’s GDP,” said Panish.
However, reaching out to SMBs is very different from working with large enterprises and conglomerates. According to estimates, over 90% SMBs in India are small and micro organizations, and such organisations might not require complicated technology tools due to their nature of work. Secondly, it might also not be affordable for them as many work under liquidity and budget constraints. Another big challenge in the SMB segment is that they are spread across the length and breadth of the country. “It’s not an easy piece of the market to go after, because it is so fragmented and dispersed,” said Panish.
“Hence, the entire business model for this segment around outreach, go to market, execution has to be different,” he added. He explained that simplicity has to be the core design principle on which tools for the SMBs are built upon. They usually don’t have a huge IT backend making it difficult for them to adopt complex technologies. It is important that any SMB entrepreneur or proprietor understands what technology they are buying, why they are buying, how to deploy, how to use and finally how to leverage it for efficiency. “For SMBs, ‘telemetry’ or ‘dashboarding’ become very important and that is what we focus on,” he said.
So, is there any specific category of SMBs Cisco caters to? “We cater to everybody. We are the internet backbone, and provide the backbone infrastructure for one and all to go online,” he said.