Video is the Game Changer for SMBs

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Video is the Game Changer for SMBs

Dahnesh Dilkhush, Director, Collaboration Business - ITES & BFSI at Cisco India and SAARC

Competing in today's competitive market that tends to be dominated by larger companies, small and mediums businesses (SMBs) often struggle to make it big. Expected to perform at par with large companies SMBs need to provide high levels of quality in products and services with fewer resources, lesser staff, and limited budgets to very astute customers. So it is critical for them to use technology and make the right investments to create a sustainable business model that would help achieve scale.

The SMB sector in India contributes to about 45% of the industrial output and employs 42 million people. Adopting an enhanced collaborative framework can help this sector improve business efficiency by ensuring that customers, employees, and suppliers get secure access to real-time data. This in turn improves decision making and customer loyalty.

Video: the game changer

Many small companies worldwide are transforming themselves into global players by effectively using technology to grow, expand and among other things, manage costs. Unified Communications technologies are ideal for such organizations because they help weave together phone, email, IM, and video conferencing which in turn increase productivity and organizational agility.

Business video presents a significant opportunity for businesses enhancement because it enables faster and smarter communication. Besides a good return on investment, video collaboration helps SMBs scale expertise, get closer to employees, strengthen their customer/partner relationships and grow business.

Challenged to get the most productivity out of their often limited staff and time, SMBs can utilize business video to reduce their travel expenses considerably. Consider for example an organization having about 150 employees spread across multiple branches across varied locations. Employees of this organization can collaborate with each other across branches via video conferencing for knowledge transfer and reduce the cost of travel significantly while also enhancing productivity and ensuring business continuity.

Similarly, an on-ground technician who is equipped with a wireless video conferencing device can identify customer's problem and resolve it in real-time using the knowledge of a virtual expert irrespective of the geographic location of the customer or the expert.

SMBs that wish to benefit from immersive video experiences can explore pay-per-use options that are available for technologies such as TelePresence, which have the capacity to transmit high-definition video help bring the right kind of expertise to the customer irrespective of physical location. A number of service providers offer Telepresence rooms on rent on a pay-per meeting basis and SMBs can benefit from these offerings immensely.

Moving to the Cloud

Cloud computing is another option that SMBs can consider. Deployment models which can be on-premise and cloud-based/hosted video enable SMBs to purchase or lease, multipurpose and personal video endpoints, connect them to a hosted service and provide high-quality "in-person" experience to their customers.

Take the example of this SMB setup specialising in emergency communications. Looking to conduct a full product demonstration for its potential clients across varied geographies, the company decided to use TelePresence, coupled with the power of a hosted setting to reach out to multiple clients in a short span of time. This resulted in increased sales; in fact it was the best sales month ever for the company.

Video conferencing as a service - is gaining traction and the market is expected to grow significantly in future. When provided as a cloud/hosted service, business video allows SMBs to gain regular return on investment.

By partnering with managed service providers SMBs can activate key solutions that infuse the intimacy of video with the scalability of technology to gain competitive advantage. They can generate pull-through revenue by combining capabilities such as audio and video with, for example, web-based collaboration. Customers meanwhile stand to benefit from a rich collaboration environment.

Way forward

Clearly video collaboration helps SMBs scale expertise, get closer to partners/customers and close more sales. The advent of cloud is opening up new avenues for SMBs and helping these smaller companies optimise performance and increase productivity. In the long run all of this will allow SMBs catapult into the big league.

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