We all know technology is great – it helps us multitask, be more effective and efficient. However, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed, before technology can be fully embraced by small businesses in India. It is quite unlike me to discuss the challenges or barriers first, but sometimes, without a proper understanding of the issues, the solutions may not be as effective. Most of the times when I face issues at work, the answer almost always involves a technology solution of some sort.
Either a software, a code, a website/microsite or free online tools! I find myself and those around me, relying increasingly on technological solutions. Not surprisingly, the usage of technology acts as a catalyst not just for the growth of individuals and businesses, but also for the growth Indian economy. However, there is a noticeable apprehension towards the adoption of technology especially among small businesses in India.
The recent study conducted by Intuit in collaboration with the Government of India’s Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development and the National Small Industries Corporation, affirms that the small business community feel that there are many barriers to the adoption of technology at work.
According to the report, “many stakeholders, including the Government of India, technology companies and MSME leaders, recognise that roadblocks relating to infrastructure, technology and skilled labour must be eliminated to sustain the growth of MSMEs and ensure their continued contribution to India’s industrial production, economic growth and employment.” In spite of the challenges, what stood out for me and many other, was the fact that when it came to mobile technology in India, small, medium-sized and large businesses were even ahead of their counterparts in Western markets! Though technology adoption substantially increased during the implementation of the Government of India’s 11th Five Year Plan, the use of technology in small businesses remains limited.
In order to up our game when it comes to fully reaping the benefits of technology in business, we first need to identify and address the primary challenges. According to the study, the main barriers or challenges to technology adoption in small businesses are – Cost: A sizable number of small businesses are still not convinced about the return on investment, when it comes to technology.
Low awareness on the benefits of technology: One of the main reasons that many entrepreneurs are not sure about the ROI in technology is the lack of awareness about the kind of benefits. Measures need to be taken to raise awareness about the advantages for technology.
Poor Infrastructure: The IT infrastructure in India at times leaves a lot to be desired. To easier facilitate technology adoption, quality infrastructure needs to be created.
Lack of skilled manpower: Many small business owners shy away from investing in new technology at work, since they feel it would call for further spending on skilled manpower.
Security and privacy: There are also many apprehensions about security and privacy when it comes to technology at work, and rightly so. Users of technology have to be cautious when it comes to data security. However, with it comes to security and privacy, there are several measures that one can put in place to, in order to protect data. True, the challenges when it comes to technology adoption in small businesses are many, but the solutions are many more, and this is the best part. In my next post, we’ll look at technology adoption in small businesses, in light of the solutions.