“This is an opportunity for SMBs because there is a chance to look at different services from what they are going to do.” - Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India“There is potential for companies like Airtel and Microsoft to join hands to bring in solutions and services to cater to demand in these businesses.” - Sanjay Kapoor, CEO, Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel and Microsoft India have tied up to offer cloud computing services to small and medium business enterprises (SMBs).

The cloud computing market is expected to grow more than ten fold to reach $4.5 billion by revenue by 2015 in India from around $400 million today.

Product - MS 365

While Microsoft will provide its product (MS 365), Bharti Airtel will provide connectivity and its services.

This is the second such partnership for Bharti Airtel. The company had last month partnered with Hewlett Packard India to offer cloud-based solutions for SMBs.

“There is potential for companies like Airtel and Microsoft to join hands to bring in solutions and services to cater to demand in these businesses. Also, make them more globally competitive, make them grow up the value chain and bring in better governance to actually be more competitive in future,” Sanjay Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer, Bharti Airtel, told Business Line.

He said given the multi-dimensional access in data as compared to voice, there is a requirement of companies becoming technology and device agnostics to provide services in a fashion that customer wants to consume them on a device where he wants to consume.

“Therefore, we are departing as companies and service providers from offering customers service to customer experience and that is what we are concentrating on,” he said.

Customer experience

Both the companies said the revenue is not important as of now, but there is a need to create a market which is potential by perfecting the customer experience.

About 22-23 per cent of Bharti Airtel’s revenue comes from non-voice (such as DTH and Internet) and around 15 per cent comes from mobile’s non-voice service, he said.

“In many parts of the world, even mobile side of the business has begun to cross 50 per cent mark of the revenue. There is no doubt in our mind that we will be headed towards that direction…when it would happen is anybody’s guess,” he said.

Targeting entrepreneurs

India has potential and as younger entrepreneurs are coming into the picture, this will get expedited, he said.

“This is an opportunity for SMBs because there is a chance to look at different services from what they are going to do.

“Ability to increase productivity, computerise all transactions, front facing site to interface with customers and email.

“It will be an overall profitability for all,” Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, said.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 27, 2012)
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