SMEs: PCs have never been more essential for SMBs: HP India’s Sanjeev Pathak – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/sme-sector/pcs-have-never-been-more-essential-for-smbs-hp-indias-sanjeev-pathak/articleshow/82138072.cmsSynopsis

Small businesses in India have understood the nuances of remote working and technology, with many believing tech ill help them bounce back.

The growing need to learn the digital know-how of business last year has led to small and medium businesses in India transforming their strategy. According to a study- HP Asia SMB Report 2020, 73% of SMBs in India believe they will bounce back post Covid. This number is significantly higher than the regional average- 60%.

The study pointed out that 64% of the surveyed respondents look at this period as the time to renovate their business strategy and to invest in digital adoption. 56% of the respondents see digital adoption as an important key to success. Sanjeev Pathak, Head, Personal Systems (Commercial), HP India, talks to ET Digital on how the technology giant is working with SMEs to drive their digital transformation.

ET: What are some challenges that SMBs face in their journey of digital transformation? What is needed to overcome these?
SP: 
The post-pandemic uncertainty is perhaps one of the biggest barriers for SMBs since the last year has brought forward many interconnected skill gaps that can hamper their growth. These include the use of technology and the capability to identify and monetize innovation. Indian SMBs consider cash flow, inadequate knowhow to leverage digital and driving digital-powered innovation as key challenges to a fast bounce-back.

Indian SMB were setting the pace for growth before the pandemic, and they are also extremely optimistic that their businesses will survive and thrive. We believe there is a close correlation between digital adoption and driving growth for SMBs and we will continue to work closely with our customers to deliver solutions designed to meet their unique business needs.

ET: Do you think the pandemic accelerated the growing need for SMBs to must-havePCs?
SP:
 The PC has never been more essential as it is today. Despite the ease in restriction, a substantial amount of the workforce is still working remotely. Over the last few months, new use cases for the PC have emerged as more users sign in from home. For SMB’s where digitization levels were traditionally on the lower side, the need for adoption was even greater.

A SMB Outlook study conducted by HP in 2020 showed that around two-thirds (64%) of respondents from India believe that pandemic presented an opportunity to reformulate their business strategy. More importantly, SMBs in India recognized the importance of going digital to revive their businesses. Three-quarters (75%) of the surveyed businesses believe that digital adoption is essential or very important to their success.

Sanjeev Pathak, Head, Personal Systems (Commercial), HP India.ET: What factors are required for a successful digital transformation of SMBs in India?
SP: 
SMBs need support not just in developing products and services but in creating an environment in which such innovation can take place. One of the key insights from our research is that the more a company values digital transformation, the more positive they are about future growth, and nowhere in Asia is this reflected as strongly as in India. Indian SMBs have recognized four key aspects that will help them best to bounce back. These include using more online tools, flexible work options, advice to reformulate business strategy and the ability to recognize and monetize innovation.

ET: In what ways is HP India helping SMBs in their journey of digital transformation?
SP:
 HP is bringing new products that help keep people connected, engaged, and productive. We are looking to improve their experience–from software that provides lighting control for video calls, peripherals that enable a more customized experience, to how services can make it easier to monitor and manage devices for a multitude of devices.

Moreover, given the crunch in accessible capital and the rising need for IT infrastructure, we have also rolled out convenient models of leasing models (Device as a Service–DaaS) from our business-ready laptop range. Rather than burdening them with a heavy capital expenditure, small business owners and entrepreneurs can benefit through a very nominal per seat expense spread over a three-to-four-year horizon. This gives them the ability to scale their operations in a healthy manner without a strain on crucial business capital.

In addition, there are several other easy finance models available from HP’s finance partners, who have introduced financing offers through which SMBs can acquire business laptops starting at just Rs 899 per month. This will enable them to upgrade and expand their IT infrastructure and save their funds for other business priorities.

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