Technology for MSMEs: The post-Covid tailwinds have accelerated the pace of technology adoption among India’s vast micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). To leverage the digital-first or digital-only behavioural shift among MSMEs and their customers particularly post-pandemic, global technology enterprises such as Xerox have been making a beeline for small businesses in India with multiple unique offerings. “There is a lot of increased awareness and acknowledgment of the need of being digitally enabled and it definitely reflects in the way these MSMEs are adopting technology,” said Leo Joseph, Managing Director at printing solutions provider Xerox India. In an interaction with Financial Express Online, Joseph spotlighted the post-Covid technology adoption among MSMEs, solutions offered by Xerox to small businesses, and their cost benefits, challenges, and more. Edited excerpts below:
How has been the technology adoption among the MSME customer base post-pandemic?
MSMEs will have to focus on accelerating their recovery and push for further growth in the post-Covid era. This can only happen by strengthening their operations by incorporating robust digital solutions which would assist in reducing operational expenditure, facilitate remote working and enhance security. Automation and digital automation would be the key areas for MSMEs going forward. We are already seeing, as part of a recent survey, that around 50 per cent MSMEs have already adopted the digital sales platforms as compared to the enterprises that existed in the pre-Covid era. There is a lot of increased awareness and acknowledgment of the need of being digitally enabled and it definitely reflects in the way these MSMEs are adopting technology.
How significant are MSMEs for Xerox in India? Also, what tools Xerox offers to particularly enhance workflow, workplace digitization, and employee productivity among small businesses?
From a Xerox perspective, we have a strong offering for MSMEs. If you consider the traditional MSMEs, you will observe that they are not fixed or predictable. MSMEs should be robust and be flexible enough to adapt to new disruptions, take new forms and find new edges. To help enable this, Xerox has three key offerings for MSMEs. First, Xerox Cloud Content Management platform that helps transform workspace and enhance workflows with document capture, management, and sharing becoming easy and secure.
Second, Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services offer comprehensive security, analytics, digitization, and cloud technologies to deliver a more seamless work experience across the paper and digital platforms. This enables MSMEs to have an efficient workplace and make their employees more productive and secure. Xerox also offers laser printers for office requirements to high-end production printers. MSME segment is very critical and has a significant impact on us. Xerox is leading in addressing this segment through digital services offerings. Over the years, we have predominantly touched around 1,00,000 customers in the segment.
Xerox recently acquired the augmented reality platform CareAR. Do you see that benefitting your MSME base?
Xerox is looking forward to enhancing the Xerox Software Portfolio. CareAR is an augmented reality support platform, which we recently acquired, that can help MSMEs in providing real-time access to expertise for customers, their employees, and field workers. This is indeed an innovative approach. With this software, remote agents and experts can virtually see the situation and visually guide a solution using a suite of augmented reality tools via desktop, mobile, and smart glass devices.
How steep you see the technology adoption curve among MSMEs today than in previous years? Also, what about the cost efficiency of products?
Xerox engages with MSMEs through their channel partners who are present across India and who service MSME customers. MSMEs are today more receptive in terms of technology as compared to previous years and want the best productivity out of technology in addition to Xerox’s offerings. This enables cost-efficiency to a greater extent as well. The channel partners offer them a plethora of services to choose from, which not only helps them to focus on their core business and lead the IT part for Xerox but also provides an upfront promise of saving more and being persistently supportive. Hence, the segment is very receptive to adopting new technologies, services, and our product offerings. From a cost-saving perspective, Xerox offers savings of up to 25 per cent over the life cycle of that particular service or solution.
Lastly, do you see any difference in the technology approach by MSMEs in India vis-à-vis other geographies and challenges around it?
Xerox has observed that Indian MSMEs are inclined towards a service-led approach which is quite noteworthy as compared to our global customer base. The challenge would be the awareness of the latest technology and technology as a whole in addition to the knowledge of the services provided which can facilitate their business processes easily. Most of the MSMEs do not have a robust IT structure. We are making sure that MSMEs get the most out of digital services in the post-Covid era.