Gone are the days, when small and medium businesses (SMB) used to spend huge money for buying out applications. The quality enterprise application software (EAS) for customer relationship management (CRM), human resource management, content management are available on SaaS (Software as a service) mode enabling small businesses pay affordable monthly fee (pay per use) rather than one time heavy investment on licenses. Even many EAS vendors are eyeing on SMBs as great opportunity in offering these applications.
According to the study by Zinnov Management Consulting, titled ‘Indian SMB ICT adoption insights’, SMBs in the country will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent by 2015, contributing $15 billion or over one-third of India’s overall IT spend. The study noted that India has around 50 million SMBs, of which 10 million are technology-ready. This addressable market opportunity for SMB’s will increase to 11 million by 2015. Andhra Pradesh spends $90 million on IT alone, which is home to over 5 lakh SMBs.
A Gartner Report reveals that the global SaaS market is set to reach $14.5 Billion in 2012 and with 11.89 million broadband users today in India, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is transforming the way businesses function.
The businesses can boost their productivity with these applications. They can collaborate easily as everything’s on the cloud and centrally available. Much of your business gets automated and can be run smoothly. For instance, a small business can use different Zoho applications- CRM for maintaining all its business contacts, Sites for building/hosting their website, Mail for their business mail, Invoice for raising their invoices, Docs for storing all their business files and many others, said Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist, Zoho.
Typically, on-premises software has high capex costs in the form of upfront licensing fees. With the applications being provided in the SaaS mode, there is no such heavy investment required. It’s all done in affordable, monthly subscriptions. For instance, the businesses have to pay `110 ($2) for a 10 GB Zoho Mail box. However, it’s a challenge indeed to make businesses use software to manage their business in India. But this is slowly changing. An advantage is that many businesses haven’t used any software at all. This created a scenario where the small businesses start with SaaS rather than on premise software, he explained.
Talking about security issues of storing data on cloud, Raju said, “SaaS started as early as 1998. Sales force, an enterprise software vendor is now a $3 billion company. If so many businesses can have their data on the cloud, what stops an Indian small business to do so? Benefits far outweigh the assumed fears. We also take lot of security precautions in safeguarding our customers’ data.”
Checklist before choosing a vendor
- Experience of a vendor
- Number of paying customers of a vendor
- Numbers of paying customers are using the product
- Whether similar businesses (in the industry) are using the product
- Features for the product
- Product has to be under active development
- Product has to support integrations with other products wherever necessary