Indian SMBs bet on digital transformation to rebound from COVID impact: HP study

Over 73% of SMBs interviewed in India expressed confidence that they will survive and bounce back post-COVID-19, a number significantly higher than the regional average of 60%, the report said.

A larger number of SMBs in India expressed confidence in bouncing back after facing challenges due to the pandemic, compared to the average seen in the Asia Pacific region, helped by digital transformation, a study by HP said on Wednesday.

The HP Asia SMB Report 2020 surveyed 1,600 SMBs (with less than 200 employees) in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in May-June this year.

These small and medium businesses (SMBs) represented various industries, including retail/wholesale, manufacturing, professional services, healthcare, education and financial services.

Over 73 per cent of SMBs interviewed in India expressed confidence that they will survive and bounce back post-COVID-19, a number significantly higher than the regional average of 60 per cent, the report said.

“This confidence is reflected in the fact that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents from India believe that this period presents a good opportunity to reformulate the business strategy. And half of the sample believe that the pandemic will ultimately bring opportunity, but in the longer term,” it added.

SMBs in India recognise the importance of going digital to revive their businesses with three-quarters (75 per cent) of the surveyed businesses saying they believe that digital adoption is essential or very important to their success.

Indian SMBs also recognised 4 key aspects that will help them best to bounce back – using online tools (34 per cent), flexible work options (33 per cent), advice on strategy (32 per cent) and innovation at work (28 per cent), the report said.

SMBs are critical to our economy as they contribute nearly a third of our GDP and generate employment for millions. The ongoing pandemic has impacted SMBs as much as any other segment. But the agility and flexibility in their operations, coupled with the adaptability to changing business environment and customer needs means they can bounce back far more quickly,” Ketan Patel, Managing Director at HP India Market said.

However, it is critical to discover their challenges and address their pain points, which was the primary motivation for HP to commission this study, he added.

A key finding from the research is that the more a company values digital transformation, the more positive they are about future growth, and nowhere in Asia it reflected as strongly as in India, he said.

The results of this study will enable HP in helping them adapt to new agile work environments, providing them the right devices, technology, and tools for them to unlock innovation for customers and drive growth for themselves, Patel added.

Adequate cash flow and global instability topped the list of concerns for SMBs (38 per cent), along with challenges like accessing finance (20 per cent) and leveraging digital (19 per cent).