Cloud-based software provider Salesforce on Tuesday said it is witnessing broad-based growth in the SME (small and medium enterprises) segment in the country as businesses across verticals embraced digital services amid the pandemic.
The company also released its ‘Small and Medium Business Trends’ report that highlighted that Indian SMBs are looking at investing in technology to help their business survive even the most tumultuous times. “We’ve seen very broad-based growth in the SME segment, it is not a specific micro-vertical inside SMEs – whether it is hospitals or small manufacturing units, startup ecosystem,” Salesforce India SVP and Managing Director (Sales and Distribution) Arun Kumar Parameswaran told reporters.
He added that the “impetus” of the growth has come as companies tried to get “their digital right” and that helped the company in terms of its growth aspirations over the last 12 to 18 months. Parameswaran noted that the grit and innovation of SMBs during a time of great change have been a triumph. “This has also been a testament to the perseverance and creativity of SMBs and the communities in which they operate. It is truly inspiring to see how Indian SMBS are leveraging technology to transform their operations and push forward after a year of change, he added.
Referring to the findings of the report, Parameswaran said SMBs are seeking investments in technology to help their business survive even in the most tumultuous times. As per the report, 99 per cent of the SMBs surveyed, plan to offer contactless services permanently leading with secure digital payments (78 per cent), mobile order (68 per cent) and digital customer service (62 per cent).
The research – which was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce – analysed responses of more than 2,500 SMB owners and leaders globally, including from India, to understand how support from local communities has affected these companies, the steps being taken to deepen trust with customers and employees, and the role that technology has played in the growth of SMBs. The fifth edition of the report pointed out that 62 per cent of the respondents in India said financial support from their community has been vital to their business’ survival over the past year amid the pandemic.
After a period of turmoil, SMBs are focusing on meeting customer expectations and deepening trust by providing employees with transparent communications and flexibility. According to the report, 59 per cent of respondents in India said they have expanded ways customers can reach them and 48 per cent have prioritised deepening relationships over one-time transactions since the pandemic began.
SMBs also foresee long-term changes from the pandemic as many SMB leaders were forced to relook at their strategies in order to keep their businesses afloat. This, in turn, made their operations more efficient, as per the report. Salesforce also announced that Eduvanz, a digital finance company that provides education loans, will be deploying its solutions to provide students easy access to financing options throughout their learning journey. Eduvanz was founded in 2016 and leverages proprietary algorithms and predictive analytics to provide loans based on the future employability of learners.
With the deployment of Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Heroku, and Anypoint Platform, Eduvanz is looking to expand its services by introducing a Loan Origination Solution that offers the flexibility to support a range of new products with varying levels of complexity in a seamless manner. Despite the abundance of opportunities, what often restricts students, learners, and parents from higher education is the lack of easy, fast, and affordable financial assistance. Technology is extremely crucial to our business and we want to create a platform that meets all the financing needs of a learner,” Eduvanz Chief Executive Officer Varun Chopra said.
He added that by partnering with Salesforce, the company aims to further simplify the process of financial assistance throughout a learner’s journey while also increasing its footprint in the education sector.