Powering SMEs, Driving Growth

HYDERABAD (Telangana) [India], Feb 8: Powering growth and creating millions of jobs; small and medium businesses form the backbone of the Indian economy. But despite being a pivotal component of the economy, SMBs often fail to keep pace with the technological innovation that is driving large businesses. To fill this vacuum, Lenovo, in partnership with The Economic Times, has launched the IT4SMB platform that will help SMBs find customised and budget-friendly tech solutions. The initiative began with a Times Techies Tech Drive that saw power packed panel discussions and key note address that provided a 360-degree perspective on the complexities related to adoption of technology in the SMB segment. The awards program recognises excellence among SMBs that are trend setters in early tech adoption. The initiative, which is pan-India and will be across multiple cities, kick started with its first event in Hyderabad. The tech drive saw a full house by SMBs eager to embrace technology to further their business goals and achieve greater efficiencies.
The Hyderabad leg of the tech drive witnessed the who’s who of industry come together to discuss the role and importance of technology in shaping future businesses, especially those in the SMB space. As technology and digital transformation become the need of the hour, top corporates highlighted how SMBs can chart their future growth by relying of tech tools that are designed to solve their unique set of challenges. While many SMBs value the importance of technology, the biggest challenge most face is the lack of adequate tools and resources. This hampers the ability of SMBs to undertake digital upgrades and transformational technological investments. Addressing this gap is a key priority of the IT4SMB platform.
With young entrepreneurs sharing their insights and success stories, the first discussion focused on accelerating business growth by leveraging technology.
Akshay Chowdhry, Group Vice President , Gemini Edibles & Fats, Sri Harsha Bavirisetty , Co-founder & COO, BILITI Electric India and Ravinder Reddy, Director, Bharathi Cements participated in the panel discussion where the thrust was on using technology to identify new growth opportunities across sectors. From manufacturing sectors like cement and edible oil to services sector, technology is needed for getting new customers, servicing existing customers and keeping a close watch on market evolution.

The keynote address by Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce and IT, Government of Telangana. Ranjan gave a bird’s eye view of the Government in fostering a culture of tech adoption amongst SMBs. The Government has a fine balance to maintain, on one end it needs to ensure that small businesses remain competitive and should therefore continue to climb the tech ladder. On the other hand, the Government also needs to ensure that private businesses do not become a drain on state finances by seeking additional concessions by their technology-related costs. “Singapore is an important example that needs to be kept in mind to understand hoe governments can help SMBs. The Singapore Government does not provide any subsidies to small companies but provides full assistance in ensuring they have access to latest technologies,” Ranjan said.
To remain competitive, the top operational issues that SMBs need to address are related to cost efficiency, attracting new customers and retaining existing customers by keeping pace with their evolving demands. Improving employee productivity is another key priority area for SMBs. These are all segments where technology can become a game changer for SMBs and provide non-linear results. But what SMBs need the most is customized technological solutions to solve such top-level issues while enabling integration and providing greater security for their digital resources. This was put forth in the session that focused on identifying tools to put companies on a fast-growth trajectory.

It included Raj N, Founder & Chairman , Zaggle, Capri Jalota , Vice President – Operations , AIG Hospitals and Abhay Egoor , CTO & Co-founder , Dhruva Space. The discussion also highlighted concerns of SMBs related to cyber security since they have large volumes of data that is not fully secure. Digital journey of SMBs also factor in their need to be secured against any cyber threat.
The IT4SMB awards recognise those SMBs in Telangana that have demonstrated exceptional technology excellence. The awardees are companies that are leading the way for greater tech adoption amongst SMBs. The jury comprised of Satyavrat Mishra, Head Corporate IT, Godrej Industries, Amit Saluja, Senior Director and Head NASSCOM, Gandhinagar, Abhay Bapna AVP IT, Adani Wilmar and Manoj Chugh, an IT veteran.

IT4SMB awards were given to eight awardees across three different categories.
Rohit Chennamaneni, Chaitanya Peddi and Jayant Paleti of Darwinbox Digital Solutions were judged as the winner in the ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’. The first runner-up in the same category were Sanjay Nekkanti, Krishna Teja Penamakuru, Abhay Egoor and Chaitanya Dora Surapureddy of Dhurva Space Ltd. Pawan Chandana and Bharath Daka of Skyroot Aerospace Ltd were adjudged the second runner-up in the ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’ category. Abhay Egoor, CTO and Co-founder, Dhruva Space Ltd was awarded the ‘CIO of the year’. Rahul Gayam of BILITI Electric India was adjudged the runner-up in the CIO of the year category. In the ‘SMB leader of the year’ category, Rahul Gayam, Raja Gayam and Sri Harsha Bavirisetty of BILITI Electric India Pvt. Ltd. were second runner-up; Ramkrishna Mukkavilli, Richard Rekhy and Pawan Wasant Borle of Maithri Aquatech Pvt. Ltd. were the first runner-up. Vikram Vuppala and Kamal D Shah of Nephroplus were judged as the ‘SMB Leader of the Year’.
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