One view of the IT Entrepreneurship in India today:
With the steady increase of IT Entrepreneurial ventures in the country today one sees hundreds of companies in various stages of growth & development. However, it is plain to see that the largest size is that at the starting point i.e. the Start-ups and Emergent companies that are creating a place for them in the growing market with survival being the stepping stone to “a” growth path. It is key to have a unique solution to a specific problem when someone is starting up, and it is even more important to have clarity on technical design implementation to keep moving. As they say, “If you have great idea, but cannot implement or convince investors, it is as good as not having an idea”. It is important to balance time spent on technology and identifying “ Key” customer problem to solve. More often it is identifying the key problem statement that matters a lot, and technology to solve evolve in the ecosystem. Specially for Services sector, it is important to identify how one start up can be cost effective and / or collaborative.
The next larger number would be that of the SMBs that have succeeded in creating a spot for themselves, as well as in growing their market share steadily over time. Amongst them again are the ones that have entered the SMB phase of their company’s onward journey – while most are seen to be SMBs for a greater part of the company’s lifecycle itself. A small but significant number actually make it past the SMB-tipping point and reach the scale of an emerging Enterprise. To get there, it needs sustainable products and services and more importantly the change management to adopt to larger scale. It is very critical to identify the “ Change “ that needs to be adopted as challenges of exponential growth can be daunting.
We have substantial shining examples of such entrepreneurial entities that have made it to this select but rapidly growing group of companies. And I am specifically referring to those who have grown organically over a period of time, ranging from anywhere from 7-15 years.
While some amongst this select group has made the strides to reach Enterprise scale within 7-10 years, most SMBs/ Companies do take 10-15 years to reach this phase. And a large no. of them would attribute this growth due to innovative engagement models, while most of them would operate and often even compete in similar areas in IT Products & Services.
Our learning & insights – The emerging trends that enable an IT SMB to chart growth plans that are aligned to Customer roadmap
For small start-ups, understanding the current ecosystem (technology, support structure to run the show, leveraging different media to continuously test the idea) and leveraging them could prove beneficial. It is important to focus on disruptive ideas (in addition to incremental ones) as it would generate eventual leap. It is important to be Agile and constantly test to decide next step in product/solution). There would be a huge opportunity for early collaboration among startups, so look forward to such opportunities. It is worthwhile to seek advice from mentors in respective space, it helps start-ups to visualize a near future and actions to be followed.
While SMBs, like any other business entity looking at growth in the IT sector, look at scaling up their business development for growth – what we see is a key impact factor is about business development with the right investments in core competencies that are relevant to the business enterprise of the existing Customers as well as that of future projected Customers.
For instance, all of our investments at Prakat in the first 3-4 years have been entirely in QA, Testing & Digital Accessibility. Over the last 2 years we observed a couple emergent needs from constant interactions and exchanges with our existing Customers which are in the realm of DevOps, Performance Engineering and Test Data Management.
We have invested more in these areas over the last year or so and are reaping the benefits of the strategic investment by means of growth in business volumes in these areas. And this of course in addition to existing competencies. Our advantage has been that the Core Team has these capabilities collectively and we are able to leverage what we already do have in-house. This has largely helped us keep our costs lower as well in what we invested in as new growth areas.
This is a trend that has been effective for several other SMBs looking to scale as well, whereby a certain area of competency is chosen, aligned with that of the existing/future Customers, honed & perfected to cater to future needs and business development being aligned to it in parallel. All of it comes together to support the growth plans for an SMB.
Please do note that this approach may not work for an emergent company that is still looking at gaining momentum in its services engagements.