Microsoft is keen on investing in India to provide cloud-based solutions to Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). The company sees an addressable market of over 45 million SMBs in India today, majority of them being micro businesses with less than five PCs and employees.

The company is planning to increase the number of its business partners here, expand its geographical presence in Tier2/Tier 3 cities, and also host a range of seminars and road shows to showcase its products to prospective customers.

“There is a different kind of approach that is needed in India,” Mr Vahé Torossian, corporate vice-president, Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group, Microsoft told Business Line. Considering that SMBs typically don't have expertise in IT, Mr Torossian said that they ask for products that are easy to use. “There is also a need to have proximity and it is a key investment we are doing,” he said.

For about a year now, Microsoft has been providing solutions like the Office 365 which helps SMBs integrate work done by different employees or from different locations, thus reducing cost.

PRODUCT LOCALISATION

All the solutions are global products that are being localised by the company's partners in India.

Microsoft has 18,000 partners in India today which includes companies like Microland and Futuresoft, of which about 20 per cent are into redesigning the solutions for the local market. Microsoft plans to add another 5,000 partners and take the chunk of solution partners to about 40 per cent. Mr Torossian also said that the company will be fast-tracking the localisation of their products.

To suit Indian customers, the company has changed the method of certification of partners and are moving from US dollar billing to India rupee, Mr Torossian said. “We also now help customers see if they are using the right software for their kind of business,” he added.

According to him, the SMB market is amongst the biggest contributors to the Indian economy, contributing about 60 per cent of the GDP and creating a million jobs a year.

sushma.un@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 3, 2012)
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