Over 6,000 MSMEs to go digital as CII, Dell announces new centre to support small businesses

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Published: September 18, 2019 1:21:19 PM

The centre will act as a neutral platform to allow technology providers to support MSMEs. The centre was set-up in partnership with Tata Communications, Dell Technologies and NIIT Technologies.

Dell had last week launched a dedicated portal for its small business customers for further augmenting its direct selling sales model. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Industry body CII, which announced the official launch of its Centre for Digital Transformation (CDT) last week to enable the digital transformation of MSMEs, would begin with helping more than 6,000 MSMEs, which are CII members, this year. The centre will act as a neutral platform to allow the technology providers and consultants to offer support to MSMEs looking to adopt digital technologies to stay relevant in the future. The centre was set-up in partnership with Tata Communications, Dell Technologies and NIIT Technologies.

“Since this is the first year of the centre, there is a lot of piloting that is being done. However, CII has a network of over 9,000 members, out of which probably more than two-thirds are MSMEs. Therefore, we will begin to educate this network first and then move ahead,” Rudramuni B, sub-committee member, CII CDT and Vice President & India R&D Head, Dell Technologies told Financial Express Online in an interview.

Through technology providers including Dell, CDT will offer online assessment and advisory services called the Digital Transformation Maturity Model to help businesses identify their digital preparedness based on three categories — digital starter, digital explorer, and digital performer. “It will also help them map whether they are at an average level within their sector or are lagging behind. The centre will then advise them and help them build a personalized roadmap and strategies to move ahead of the curve,” Rudramuni said.

Also read: MSMEs’ overall export credit cost to be reduced with new loan scheme for exporters, says FIEO

The centre will also organize training and re-skilling seminars from the subject matter experts of the technology providers. CII will also host various awards and recognition programmes to recognise companies that have been successful in their digital transformation. “SMEs are very important for us, whether it is in India or anywhere else. The transformation starts with the business model transformation and then move towards IT infrastructure transformation. As the next steps, it will move further towards Security Transformation and Workforce Transformation, all of which is required by the SME segment in India,” he added. Dell had last week launched a dedicated portal for its small business customers for further augmenting its direct selling sales model with respect to its small business vertical. 

The new offering comes amid increased government focus on helping MSMEs go digital even as it had last month launched project Tech-Saksham to enable technology usage as MSMEs look to create 5 crore jobs in five years in the sector, increase its share to 50 per cent of GDP in five years etc.

However, MSMEs traditionally have been hesitant about digital adoption. Among the top reasons according to Rudramuni for that include identifying whether they have enough privacy of their data, what kind of policies are already there and its compliance to various departments, whether they have the skills required to go digital or whether they have skills within the organization, and whether they will be able to hire resources.

“One of the core reasons to form this CII CDT is to spread awareness about cybersecurity, data security and privacy of the data among these small business owners. All of these three barriers are actually creating inertia in the minds of the SME founders or the SME owners,” said Rudramuni.

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