The disruptive forces of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) have now acquired a gargantuan form capable of driving information technology (IT) to an astonishing level. Worldwide SMAC adoption is growing among businesses thanks to its ability to help businesses grow cheaper, better and faster.
SMAC is driving IT sector so much so that Global 2000 firms are expected to spend 15-16 percent of their IT services and outsourcing budgets on SMAC, says a global survey from Offshore Insights. India’s share in SMAC will be huge, as the country is estimated to export $15 billion worth of SMAC software and services in fiscal 2017, according to Offshore Insights.
The share of spending on each component varies in organizations. In the coming two years, the firms surveyed by Offshore Insights expect to spend around 10 percent of the total IT budgets on big data and analytics, about 9.5 percent on cloud services (including SaaS and PaaS), around 5.3 percent on mobile apps and devices, and 3.4 percent on social media.
A report released by ASSOCHAM, an industry organization in India, at the recently held IT World Forum that discussed “SMAC: For Business Transformation; SMEs SMACing for Higher Growth,” says the market growth driven by SMAC in India is expected to be 30 percent (US$ 1 trillion) by 2020.
The latest trend is to treat SMAC as one integrated stack, where one function facilitates another for amplified impact.
Says D.S. Rawat, secretary general, ASSOCHAM, “The ability of consumers to experience and buy multiple products that a bank offers, all served onto the Point of Service devices using analytics drawn from social media and Know Your Customer (KYC) information stored in the cloud. This is an example of how SMAC as an integrated business paradigm is necessitating chief executives to look at these strategies.”
SMAC to boost IT in India
SMAC may provide the much-needed boost for India’s $108-billion IT sector, which has had a jagged growth in the last couple of years due to global economic slowdown, failing consumer spending and a Euro zone crisis, said Rawat.
There are many factors that drive SMAC adoption in India. The first force is the emergence of young middle class in India. The average age in India estimated to be 29 years by 2020, while the country’s middle class population is expected to be more than 267 million by this time.
The second force driving SMAC in India is the use of modern communications technology by rural and urban India. India is the second largest country in the world with regard to its number of mobile phone users. The high-end smartphone market in India grew by 229 percent Y-o-Y in 2013, with more than one million rural users accessing internet through data connection on their mobile phones.
The growth of social networks also contributed for the sudden uptake of SMAC among businesses. An average Indian user spends more than 20 minutes on social media per day and 77 percent access them on mobiles. The projected user base of social networks is 550 million people by 2020.
Also, the adoption of 3G and 4G networks is expected to grow in the coming years, which will give an infrastructural boost to these elements.
SMAC in SMEs
SMEs in India will thrive if key enablers powered by SMAC technologies are created in integrated ecosystems to supports their needs, says ASSOCHAM.
India’s SME sector has been one of the primary drivers of its economy. The sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP is expected to increase to 22 percent in 2020 from 17 percent in 2011. Each of the SMAC components can help boost their business processes.
Cloud: Cloud gives SMEs immense options to save on upfront investments in infrastructure. The pay-as-you-go model has been boon to startups that do not have the resources to set up a high-end communications or IT infrastructure. Thanks to Software-as-a-Service, SMBs are able to build their businesses using premium software like their big enterprise counterparts. They are free from the cost of purchasing the hardware and software that are required to support their IT.
Social media: Social media platforms have revolutionized the way companies deal with customers. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, etc., have eliminated geographical boundaries between the business and customers. Traditional broadcasting media ads are paving way to new generation YouTube ads and Facebook campaigns. Promoted Tweets open up innovative ways of marketing with their ability to deliver highly targeted ads at a minimal cost.
Mobility: Mobility is the buzzword in this era. With smartphone penetration skyrocketing in India, companies are given no time to think how to utilize the platform for their benefits. Be it retail, banking, e-commerce, education, or healthcare – mobile has made our jobs easier. Right from location based services (LBS) and mobile coupons in retails to m-Banking services in banking sector and e-health initiatives from various healthcare providers, mobile platforms are empowering users to give what they need. SMEs in India find the platform essential not only to promote their brand but also to improve their business processes.
Analytics: Analytics is not a different entity as such; it co-exists with the other components in the SMAC package—especially the mobile and social. Analysis of data from mobile and social platforms helps deliver better business insights and improve the business value chain. Better understanding of customers through user generated content (UGC) on mobile and social media helps businesses drive innovation to respond to fast-changing customer needs and prepare them to be proactive in a competitive landscape. With right analytics capabilities, SMEs in India can surpass large enterprises in terms of improving business and reducing customer churns.
Innovations in Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) is making the journey of technology adoption easier, simpler and cheaper for SMEs, says Shashi B Mal, co-chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on IT &ITES.
SMAC delivers SMBs multiple benefits by providing (1) accessibility of knowledge (2) financial independence and mitigation of risk (3) targeted marketing reach and sales (4) operational excellence (5) efficient provisioning of services (6) real time insights and decision making, ASSOCHAM said.
These four disruptive technologies have opened up an opportunity for SMEs to level the playing field and compete with larger players. The need of the hour for SMEs is to take the lead in adopting SMAC and make it an integral part of their business strategies. Those that are successful in understanding the power of SMAC and harnessing it across their businesses will lead this new wave of growth, ASSOCHAM said.