TECH TALK: When Things Go Wrong: Looking Ahead
The framework of software-as-a-service to SMEs in emerging markets will help us consolidate all our internal projects that we have been working on for the past few years. For long, I have believed that SMEs are the next frontier for technology solutions. What I want Netcore to become is an SME Tech Utility and Information Marketplace provider to help SMEs automate for growth.
Daniel asked: What is a 35-word statement for a customer pain? Understanding the pain point of the market one is seeking to address is critical. Here, I have a rich set of experiences as an SME to fall back upon. I have managed a small business for more than a decade. As a business grows, the old way of managing information (in peoples heads) is not good enough. There is a need for processes to be phased in without overdoing it. The SME pain point is in dealing with business growth. Few are able to make the transition well. We are also going through similar pangs right now.
Structure needs to blend with the informality of the SMEs way of business life. One cannot take ERP applications written for the big companies and simply make them cheaper and lighter for SMEs. This is the sweet spot. Broadband will enable ASPs to make a comeback and allow SMEs to use the applications. [I will discuss ASPs in greater detail in a forthcoming Tech Talk series.]
So, the die is cast. For now, I will be making my own investments into Netcore. At the same time, I have invested in creating an ecosystem of related companies in thin clients, mobile and broadband content, next-generation search and information management, and education. Netcore remains the keystone at the centre of this ecosystem.
I could not have looked at this a year or two earlier because bandwidth was not able to deliver applications to SMEs. Even now, there are plenty of challenges in terms of reliability. But that is changing fast. Look ahead a year and the situation will be very different in terms of both bandwidth reliability and affordability. Considering the lack of legacy and the information silos that exist in most SMEs, net-native software is the only option to break these artificial information barriers and automate their businesses. In this context, Sudarshan asked a pertinent question: Is developing software in India for the Indian market feasible? My answer: Yes, provided the marketing and distribution costs are eliminated. This is where the ASP model comes in.
This is the vision. Within me, I know this is the right idea. But to actually execute on this and make it successful will require us to do hundreds of small things right, with few mistakes. Any seemingly small error can be fatal to a fledgling business. The vision has been in the making for a few years now, but I do now believe that we have the building blocks for what can be a big and transformational business in the years to come. It is still a long journey, and we have just taken our first steps. There will be many twists in the tale, and this entrepreneur will be there to share them with you!