TECH TALK: The Best of Tech Talk 2005: SMEEMs, India and Entrepreneurs

A common theme this year has been the rise of service-based computing. I wrote about The Coming Age of ASPs in May:

Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises in Emerging Markets (SMEEMs) have a twin focus for their business: how do they grow, and how do they ensure that they manage this growth efficiently. Business growth comes from getting new customers and retaining existing customers (and upselling to them). One of the key ways to bring in efficiency in operations comes from automation. Smaller companies are more focused on generating newer business opportunities since they have a greater control on costs. Mid-sized companies need to more focused on ensuring business efficiency they already have business coming in, and that needs to be managed better. So, the basic mantra for SMEEMs can probably be summed up as: automation for growth.

Technology can play a role in helping SMEEMs achieve both the objectives. Business growth can be enhanced via the use of the Web through a website, email newsletters, use of CRM (customer-relationship management) software, and search-engine marketing. Automation can be achieved by streamlining the flow of information across the value chain to complement the flow of products and services, and money. What the right use of information technology can do is to ensure that the right information is available to the right set of people at the right time so that decisions can be made appropriately. In essence, what IT can do is to enable SMEEMs to become event-drive, real-time enterprises.

India is never far away from my thoughts. How can we build a better India? I wrote in a September Tech Talk on the same theme:

In India, we now have 60 million mobile phone users. By end of 2006, this number will have reached close to 100 million. This will mean that one in 10 Indians will have the power of two-way communication using a device they always carry with them. This is one of the fundamental building blocks for bringing about the citizen participation in ensuring a better India.

The second building block is the aggregate of software tools like blogs and wikis which enable people to write and share with others. While these are for the most part Web-based, it will be increasingly possible to read their content on mobiles and even write from the phone itself. Mobile phones equipped with cameras can be used to take pictures. Posting to photo-blogs like Flickr and using syndication technologies like RSS helps keep people abreast of whats happening. An SMS can be sent to people whenever there is an update on specific sites or an opinion is needed.

Taken together, these technologies will help citizens collaborate much more easily. That is a step towards co-ordinating action. What is now needed is for government documents and decisions to be made publicly available. Some of this is already happening. But if citizens can be made active participants in the debate, they can help shape their own future.

I built on the India Empowered theme in an October Tech Talk: India Empowered is thus Indians Enlightened so that they can combine Insight and Experience with Inspiration and Emergence resulting in Incomes Enhanced. India Empowered is a land where Irrational Exuberance Is Encouraged!

To build the New India, we need more entrepreneurs. India, because of its backwardness and limited legacy, offers a great first market for bringing this new infrastructure to life. India has to be the first market, but then we have to also extend these solutions to other emerging marketsI believe that the next Google-like company can emerge out of India or China. I hope we can make it happen from India. And with the wealth generation out of that we can get down to the business of nurturing more entrepreneurs in India and also playing an important role in helping India develop. Indias politicians have, for the most part, failed us. Indias entrepreneurs cannot afford to.

Tomorrow: Abhishek

TECH TALK The Best of Tech Talk 2005+T

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.