Speaking notes from a panel discussion on Enterprise opportunities in India and SE Asia, organized by GSMA and COAI.
We are witnessing a digital leap across both consumer and enterprise market segments. At Vodafone Idea and Vi Business, we sit beautifully in both the segments and at the intersection too. I am seeing a cross-over of experiences between the two segments, and one could call the phenomenon Consumerisation of B2B.
The spend on Digital in 2021 over 2020 is expected to increase by 18.6%, a higher increase compared to traditional IT spend increase of 12.5%. (Source: Sales Edge, Mosaic Digital)
Out of 30+ startups that turned unicorns in 2021, 12 of them are B2B focused.
There are three clear focus areas for enterprises.
Digital Customers –
The business models are fast changing to be outcome-based.
The usual high tough customer engagement has shifted to a Digital touch.
The focus on going to market with differentiated products such as connected products enabled by IoT, making business available on a 24x7 virtual basis to customers in the hybrid working world are a few of the demand areas.
Digital Business –
In the operational part of business, with the reorientation of the supply chain, there is a growing need for better visibility and manageability of the supply chain across industries.
Increased investment in technology and adoption of digital e.g. Healthcare vaccination ecosystem has adopted tracking of its value chain, especially on cold chain management for temperature-sensitive shipments.
Digital Workspaces and Digital workforce: While transforming digitally is a boardroom topic and a shareholder conversation these days, the upskilling of the agile workforce is right at the top of the agenda. The change in working models to hybrid has led to rapid digital adoption to build flexible workspaces.
In the Government
In the Government 2 Citizen sphere, there is a transformative approach. A few worthy to mention initiatives are connected frontline and health care workers viz., enabling ASHA & Anganwadi workforce with mobility solutions and safety solutions for municipal workforce. The smart metering initiatives continue to gain scale and many other initiatives uphold the spirit of Atma Nirbharta.
The Technology play and the changing role of Telco
A spectrum of technologies at play — cloudification, IoT, AI, ML, Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation et al . As a telco we are one of the very big adopters of technologies ourselves. AI-driven approach to network, cloudification of our core, edge cloud, and utilizing Blockchain for A2P messaging are a few examples.
While basic connectivity is the bedrock for digital, the requirements are growing in a “Massive” way. The shift in workloads, the massive proliferation of IoT, the need for analytics at the edge, bandwidth-intensive applications such as Mixed Reality are driving the shift to Massive. As the workloads shift from office premises to the cloud, the IT & telecom architectures are getting rebalanced and all this while balancing the focus on security.
The networks of tomorrow will be more advanced — Private LTE, SDWAN, and 5G will only deepen the role of telco when it comes to diverse connectivity needs.
What is interesting is that the customers today are not just seeking mere connectivity but a more complete solution from Telcos. As an example, not just cellular IoT Connectivity but orchestrated solution encompassing device hardware and application. Managed Mobility is another area where the need is to go beyond mobile connectivity and offer a turn-key solution. That’s the shift we have embraced at Vi Business — a journey from being a Telco to Techco. At the heart of the journey are partnerships and collaboration with the ecosystem.
The road ahead for Small businesses, as they rebound in the new normal, is challenging yet possible. We are seeing an industrialised adoption of solutions such as Cloud telephony — lead management and auto-receptionist across healthcare, retail and education sectors. Similarly, from a Kachoriwala in UP to mCommerce in Pune, the awareness of digital and thirst to leverage digital is palpable. Capitalising on as-a-service models, tech-enabled startups are smartly leveraging IoT. In remote working times, SMBs are adopting collaboration and security solutions and are seeking value in their engagement with telcos. The success in scaling in the SMB market lies in building a digital super way to reach and serve the millions of SMEs, across the length and breadth of the country.
As they say, there is never a dull moment in the telecom sector. And enterprise is an exciting opportunity orbit.
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