Over a period of time, digital interface have become part of the core identity of any organization be it large or small. Similarly, digital processes have become extremely integrated in the core of the business. and needless to say, email communication have became a major source of information flow in the organization. SMEs are witnessing all these changes. In an exclusive interaction with Tarun Malaviya, CEO, Mithi Software Technologies, Faiz Askari of SMEStreet found some key insightful trends with regards to the trend of email communications among SMEs.
Tarun is founder and CEO at Mithi Software, he leads product design, strategy and new business initiatives. Tarun started his career as a Research Associate at the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) before leaving it to found Mithi. He has led the team through many business initiatives and in raising two rounds of venture finance for the company.
The edited excerpts:
Faiz Askari: According to you, what are the key trends that you foresee in the area of digital communications?
Tarun Malaviya: Text based communication is growing far more rapidly with a host of collaboration applications now available on the mobile devices over the cloud (which makes it more easily and readily available). As a result, use of smart phones and mobile devices as the primary collaboration tool is growing rapidly. There clearly is a shift from the more interruptive voice calls to the more asynchronous forms of communication like email, chat etc.
Can you share some insights on how email communication is effecting the businesses? Please share some impact analysis of emails on day to day business.
We had this manufacturing SME as our customer that had multiple plants and even implemented an ERP system to helped track orders and material better with considerably reduction in waste. But across its 10 plants spread over Pune, Jamshedpur and Lucknow, internal and external communication amongst the employees and the outsiders was happening either on the phone, in person or through personal email ids. With no centralized record of the communication, there was a lot of blame being thrown around when anything went wrong and escalation calls to senior management were frequent. Things became more complex when employees left or were moved from one location to another, as it became almost impossible to get access to the history of the business communication involved.
There was a need to bring about greater efficiency and accountability in the operations. To remedy the situation, they decided to implement Mithi’s corporate email and collaboration solution and mandated the use of official email for all internal and external business communications. The pay off was immediate with –
1. Faster & Improved responsiveness to customers on exceptions like defects, breakdowns, schedule overrun etc.,
2. Reduction in time spent in travels and meetings to coordinate work, resulting in improved productivity,
3. Improved collaboration on projects, and
4. Improved data security
The company estimated that the return on investment in the corporate email solution was quick (within the first few months of use).
How is the user behavior is evolving with regards to email usage?
A lot of social communication is now moving to the Social networking sites. Email is more for official work. But also the smarter groups and enterprises are beginning to use text chat to supplement email for quicker feedback. Video chat is the next big thing happening. It drastically reduces need for travel…it’s an ideal substitute for Face to Face meetings.
What are the key parameters of a professional communication practices?
Responsiveness is the most common expectation, but clarity, brevity, appropriateness are becoming increasingly important at a time when there is a dramatic increase in the number of messages we’re receiving from the various channels. Clear subjects & concise content is badly needed. Or else the advantage we gain by way of technology will be lost in the confusion of messages.
What are the key focus areas for Mithi Software?
Real-time collaboration is something that we’ve been putting emphasis on for the past two years or so. As much for its productivity benefits as for the related benefit of decluttering the email inbox of long chains of short messages. We’re also now working on integrating our basic collaboration applications of email, chat & calendar with other specialised collaboration apps that map the business processes such as CRM, ERP, Workflow etc.
Taken together, these should provide a more complete collaboration environment for any business.
What are the key USPs of your solutions?
Having served large and mission critical needs for some of India’s leading enterprises, Security, Dependability and Adaptability are the key benefits we offer to businesses. Coupled to these are also the benefits of lower cost, data security and privacy which are very important to an SME business.
Cloud based solutions are gaining momentum among SMEs, how do you foresee this trend for your business?
It’s a clear focus area for us now. Cloud based solutions take away the pain of managing an enterprise application set-up for us that means shorter deployment times and therefore faster growth.
What are the key drivers for your business?
Businesses want greater efficiency, accountability, dependability, data security, lower operational costs, lower communication costs, privacy; all good reasons for them to consider using collaboration technology solutions.
How do you foresee next two years for Mithi Software?
Largely the growth would come from the SMEs as majority of these are today using ‘no mailing’ solutions or ‘free mail’ services. Such SMEs are likely to benefit from using a private business class solution by way of productivity gains, dependability and security…Our email & collaboration service offers this at much lower costs, besides offering a hassle free cloud service so that make it much easier for SMEs to adopt them into their enterprise.
SMEs produce nearly half the manufactured output and also are the largest employers of workforce in India. So far, they have traditionally been slow in spending on IT as the benefits are not directly measurable. But that is changing now. We see this as a growing opportunity for the future.