As millions of small and medium businesses (SMBs/SMEs) globally and in India strive for digital transformation in the generative AI era, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is the Cloud arm of e-commerce giant Amazon, wants them to become AI organisations and find ways to leverage the GenAI technology to make a difference in their community or for their customers.
In a free-wheeling interaction with SMEStreet, Ben Schreiner, Head of Business Innovation for SMB US at AWS said that they want all SMBs to be able to leverage AI and advanced technologies.
“We want SMBs to become AI organisations and find ways to leverage the technology that we are making available. We are not making it available just to large enterprises; we really want to democratise it so that all companies have access to the same transformational technology, and then figure out how best to apply it to make a difference in their community or for their customers,” Schreiner told SMEStreet as AWS concluded its flagship ‘re: Invent’ conference in Las Vegas, the US.
In India, SMBs still are unclear how to go to Cloud or leverage AI as they just don't know how to achieve that in a cost-efficient and seamless way.
Schreiner said they see the same issue with SMBs around the world, and certainly the customers “I talked to have exactly that”.
“They hear about it, they see it, they are interested, but they don't know how to do it. So, our recommendation is to engage us, AWS, or our system integrator partners, and tell us what you are trying to do. All the small and medium businesses I have ever met in my life are trying to grow their business. They are also trying to grow it in a cost-conscious way. If they can save money, they would like to do that as well,” the top AWS executive stressed.
“Then last, and certainly not least, all of them have customers who aren't always happy. If you could find ways to make more customers happy, or if they are giving you some feedback, find ways to improve that or save money or make more money. Once we know what those are, we can figure out which technologies would best be suited or which applications in our Marketplace might be best suited to help,” Schreiner elaborated.
SMBs are the backbone of the Indian economy and are eager to adopt technology to achieve greater efficiency and flexibility. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2026, at least 20 percent of SMBs in India will introduce metrics to track and effectively measure business value from their core business activities, their ecosystems, and their impact on the environment.
A country’s economic robustness is directly proportional to the performance of its SMBs. SMBs in India account for 31 per cent of India’s GDP and employ nearly 110 million people. SMBs in the Indian tech industry alone are likely to generate revenues of $35-40 billion by FY30, a sharp rise from $15-20 billion in FY23, according to IT industry’s apex body Nasscom. Thus, it is imperative for them to become globally competitive and technology, especially cloud and AI, will play a significant role in enabling this, particularly in the pandemic scenario.
According to Schreiner, if an SMB has the idea but not the technical skills, then that is where AWS system integrator partners come in who have the certifications, and the experience, and can do the work on that SMB’s behalf and bring its vision to life.
When asked what are their actual concerns, Ben said we start with, what problems are you trying to solve?
“This is important. If you don't have a clear definition of what problem you are trying to solve, then it is really difficult to choose the right tool, the right model, because you won't know if it's solving the problem if you haven't defined it very well. We have a process inside of Amazon and AWS called working backwards. We teach that to our customers and our partners, and it focuses very much on the customer and the challenge. Then you look at solutions, versus several people who have solutions, and they are looking for challenges. It is just the reverse,” Schreiner noted.
“Their security concerns are real and most small and medium businesses don't have a security officer and they can't afford them. But they are the most susceptible to the bad actors that are in the world. We have research we can provide that supports when customers migrate to AWS, they have a 43.4 per cent reduction in monthly security incidents, because of our investments in security and best practices that meet the needs of large global banks and many governments around the world which have very high standards,” the top AWS executive told SMEStreet.
“The SMBs get that when they land on AWS. There are many benefits including cost efficiency and the ability to innovate very swiftly. But it starts with engaging us or a partner and telling us what you are trying to accomplish. Then let us work together in a long-term partnership to achieve the goals,” he added.
On sustainability, Schreiner said that we have a responsibility to the world and all of our customers.
“The more customers that migrate onto AWS, they are actually lowering their carbon footprint from doing things in the traditional IT sense that use more consumption of water and electricity in a legacy data center. Our data centers operate at 3x to 5x more efficiently than a traditional data center. The chips we design are more energy-efficient and cooling-efficient. We encourage and educate all small and medium businesses, even if it is not important to them. We all have a responsibility to our fellow men and women, around the world, to do our part,” he emphasised.
Schreiner said that when it comes to AI, GenAI is one of the most transformational technologies but we are just at the start.
“I would encourage all of your readership to start to learn and engage the companies that adopt this transformational technology, similar to the Internet 20 years ago. They will find themselves in a competitive, superior position. They will be more effective, more productive, and more efficient. But they should start learning, partner wisely and take advantage of the transformation. I don't think this is one that you wait and see”, he said.