Cloud tech enables access to new markets, enhances customer loyalty

CLOUD computing is enhancing customer advocacy and loyalty for SMBs and is enabling them to connect with potential customers in other parts of the country, and the world.

These findings were brought out in the study on ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Cloud Adoption by SMBs in India’ conducted by the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) in association with Microsoft. Using statistical tools, the study has found that there would be 2.3 times improvement in customer advocacy and loyalty and 3 times improvement in accessing new customers for SMBs on adopting cloud computing.

Cloud adoption is enabling SMBs to create new, innovative ways of reaching and engaging with customers, which is translating to positive business impact. Some of the specific indicators of the impact, as computed in the study, are as follows:

*Interactive and customised services improve 17 per cent on low cloud adoption, 36 per cent on medium and 55 per cent on high. In fact, it improves 234 per cent when SMBs move directly from low to high.

*Business response time improves only 13 per cent on low cloud adoption, 50 per cent on medium and 72 per cent on high. It improves 454 per cent when SMBs move directly from low to high.

*Footprint in national and global markets improves 22 per cent on low cloud adoption, 28 per cent on medium and 65 per cent on high. It improves 195 per cent when SMBs move directly from low to high.

*Customer base improves only 13 per cent on low cloud adoption, 40 per cent on medium and 59 per cent on high. It improves 254 per cent when SMBs move directly from low to high.

Cloud computing is democratising access to technology, it has enabled an SMB to access the same technology and compute power as a large enterprise without investing heavily in capital expenditure. Moreover, cloud computing services are the same whether a business has a local or international presence, which enables SMBs to service their customers in a cost-effective manner, irrespective of whether they are in the neighborhood or in another country/geography.

Cloud computing offers tremendous growth opportunities for local businesses and is the growth driver that a small business can adopt to become a large business in the shortest possible time. The quick ramp-up and ramp-down that the Cloud offers is a big advantage to SMBs in all sectors.

The study involved a survey among 275 MDs/CEOs of SMBs, across manufacturing, retail, IT/ITeS, e-commerce, education, health, and hospitality sectors, across 11 cities, namely, Bengaluru, Chennai, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Mysore, NCR, Pune.

For the purpose of the study, the extent of cloud usage has been defined as low cloud usage when there is use of basic email services, file storage/sharing, and basic antivirus software; medium cloud usage when there is use of productivity/collaboration tools like Microsoft Office 365, web conferencing tools like Skype, financial accounting software, document management tools like Microsoft SharePoint, etc.; high cloud usage when there is use of CRM and ERP software like Microsoft Dynamics 365, payroll, apps development, HRMS, project management tools, e-commerce, etc.

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