There are 40 million small businesses in India, so clearly, there is no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit. These business owners know, as we do, that having at least a website and email is critical to success. But in India, having and maintaining a significant online presence is so expensive and complicated that most small businesses – all but 500,000 of that 40 million – struggle by without.
At Bitscape, we realized that empowering SMBs in India with enterprise-class Microsoft cloud solutions could reduce their costs and help build their businesses. Like SMBs everywhere, small businesses in India are often looking for ways to save money. Travel expenses, data storage and security, and communications are all places where an online presence can provide substantial savings – savings that Indian SMBs were missing out on. Thanks to cloud solutions, we can make those savings available to these businesses and dismantle many barriers to further adoption of technology.
So we put together a bundle specific to that audience: we offered websites on SharePoint Online, Email Exchange, and Lync, plus single end-user training – free. We even included a free, first-year domain name registration for SMBs not yet online. We were able to give them everything they needed to start using the cloud effectively, immediately, and for the benefit of their businesses.
To attract business owners, we went to the heart of the small business community: Gujarat hosts the largest share of small businesses in India, so we launched a mega campaign there, in part to counter efforts by Google to capture this market. We reached out to thousands of SMBs, and already 650 of them have decided to adopt Microsoft cloud services. In just six months of using our services, these SMBs reported significant growth in their businesses, along with approximately 16 percent reduction in operating expenses and a 40 percent increase in productivity.
One SMB that saw huge benefits was Ascent Yarns, a small business based in Gujarat that also has offices in Australia and Sri Lanka. With a management team of only three, very often there was no decision-maker onsite where needed, and managers’ access to information was very limited. The company desperately needed to find an integrated communication platform that would allow its three managers to be many places at once. We presented them with a solution based on Office 365 and SharePoint Online that was easy and quick to implement, with a pay-as-you-go licensing model that made the solution very cost effective for the small business. With the ability to scan and store documents and access them anytime, anywhere, decisions now can be made immediately, not in 2-3 days. Documents are secure in the cloud, and because uploading can be done anytime, there’s a greater chance they are the most current and accurate versions.
While our initial offering was free, Bitscape’s gain was enormous: prior to the launch, we had made a deliberate focus shift from sales to sales excellence, making sure we leveraged the best, most appropriate tools and offered our customers technical deliveries and solutions that were highly personalized. This change, paired with the unparalleled products and services we could provide, ensured higher customer satisfaction and repeat business. As we’ve continued to target our products to our customers’ needs, we’ve seen our margin of profitability increase. This focus on sales excellence propelled Bitscape to 191 percent growth year over year, compared to last year. Even better, we’ve developed real customer loyalty in a market that is poised for exponential growth.