The majority of Indian companies surveyed by the IBM team cited supply chain management (SCM), information and security management as business priorities for improving their overall performance. Most of the midsize companies recognised that a go-it-alone strategy may hinder their chances of success and finding strategic IT partners who would collaborate with them to realise their vision was the key for success.
According to the study, even in today’s unsettled global economy the midsize enterprises continued to innovate and grow through technology investments in India. This was especially true in growth markets where IT budgets have been left largely intact. The IBM survey is based on a study of nearly 1,879 business and IT executives at companies hiring between 100 and 1,000 employees across sectors in 17 countries including India, Australia, Benelux, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, UK and US. ‘Midsize companies in India are constantly innovating while deploying resources to create sustainable business value.
They are investing in the future, making changes and taking risks to survive, compete and thrive,’ said Ramesh Narasimhan, director of General Business at IBM India and South Asia. ‘In today’s globally integrated economy, it is necessary to enhance customer relationships, collaboration and create efficiency across supply chains and core business operations,’ he said.
Some of the common barriers to successful IT policy adoption in growing organisations were an inability to implement software and lack of required skills in-house. The IBM study indicate that midsize firms worked with IT providers and consultants to overcome these barriers. In terms of selection criteria, 70 per cent of those surveyed pointed out they would choose to partner with an IT company who has expertise in their business to help them work smarter, while 67 per cent look for partners that could provide the highest quality in infrastructure solutions.
The key areas of improving efficiency and productivity, enhancing the customer focus and sharpening the business agility emerged as the leading business challenges in the study. While 83 per cent of midsize companies said improving efficiency was a key priority, 80 per cent cited increasing employee productivity as a critical challenge.
With the ability of midsize companies to differentiate against larger rivals by creating a highly personalised and responsive environment for today’s consumers, participants in the study rated improving customer service and prospecting for new clients high on their priority list. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents identified the improved decision making and collaboration across employees, partners and suppliers as critical areas to improving their overall business performance.
Globally, the IBM study pointed out despite the current slowdown, a large percentage of firms were rethinking instead of reducing when it comes to IT budget. A total of 64 per cent reported their IT budgets remained the same or were actually increasing for the coming fiscal with nearly 40 per cent stating their priorities have shifted. Fewer than four in ten were actually reducing their IT budget.
Companies were bound to grow and thrive in this climate by using information, relationships and technology in new ways to create greater value and efficiency. As a result, companies which strive to achieve measurable and sustainable improvement through cost reductions, service-level increases and productivity gains would ultimately get a stronger profit margins. The Indian marketplace has more than 35 million small and medium businesses (SMEs) and many of them were trying to expand their business beyond India.
IBM offered a range of services, hardware, software and technical expertise tailored for the SME market in India that offered companies agile and flexible applications for real-time response with decision-making for growth.