Bridging the technology gap for Indian SMBs and Start-ups with advanced solutions

Joyjeet Bose, Senior Vice- President, Tata Teleservices

Joyjeet Bose, Senior Vice President, Tata Teleservices 

What do you think sets  Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS), apart from other telecom providers, specifically in terms of SMBs?

We are dedicated to empowering businesses with smart solutions amidst the ever-changing digital landscape. Our focus is on understanding the pain points and key requirements of small and medium- businesses (SMBs) and then supporting them by enabling a ‘Digital First’ ecosystem ensuring they stay competitive in today’s dynamic market. We provide bespoke solutions that cater to the unique needs of each business, collaborating closely to achieve specific objectives. Our comprehensive portfolio includes Connectivity, Collaboration, Cloud & SaaS, Security, and Marketing solutions. These cutting-edge technologies help optimize operations, streamline processes, and enhance financial performance for businesses. Successful digital transformation is key to sustained growth, and as subject matter experts, we guide enterprises on this transformative journey.

TTBS meets diverse demands of businesses with an innovative product lineup, including Smart VPN, Smartflo, SmartOffice, Ultra-Lola, Smart Internet Leased Line, and SD-WAN iFLX. Partnering with industry leaders like Zoom Video, Google Workspace, Microsoft Azure, and WhatsApp Business Platform, we offer world-class digital workplace capabilities to enterprises for seamless connectivity, effective collaboration, and secure resource access.

As a progressive technology enabler, we firmly believe in democratising access to advance solutions for SMBs and start-ups in India, bridging the technology gap across diverse industrial segments. 

What are some key opportunities and challenges you see for SMBs in India, and how is TTBS positioned to address these?

SMBs in India face several technological challenges that affects their growth and competitiveness. Most of SMBs do not have adequate IT infrastructure including access to modern hardware, software, internet connectivity and inhouse expertise, which hampers their ability to adopt advanced digital solutions. Moreover, digital transformation poses a significant challenge for SMBs, as they struggle to integrate digital technologies into their operations effectively. The high cost of technology solutions and limited access to affordable IT services also hinder their technological progress. Additionally, cybersecurity concerns are prevalent as many SMBs lack robust measures to protect themselves against cyber threats and data breaches, leading to potential financial losses and damage to their reputation.

On the other hand, SMBs have been an important part of the economy contributing significantly to country’s growth and success. The contemporary business environment and the increasing adoption of digital technologies presents an opportunity for SMBs to leverage e-commerce, digital marketing, and online platforms to expand their customer base and reach.

TTBS recognizes significant expansion opportunities in the SMB market, driven by the growing demand for technology solutions in remote work, customer communication, and service delivery. We are well-positioned to cater to this requirement by offering comprehensive services and expert guidance tailored to different industries and requirements. We understand that SMBs require advance technology solutions to compete effectively in the market and grow their business . With our customer-centric approach and cutting-edge solutions, we empower them to simplify and accelerate their digital transformation journey, build efficiencies across the processes, harness the true potential of their workforce, and unlock opportunities for their growth. 

Could you discuss a significant innovation recently introduced by TTBS for its SME customers, and how it’s impacted their businesses?

TTBS has grown into a one-stop digital enabler providing most comprehensive portfolio of enterprise grade solutions to businesses that can be easily integrated with their existing infrastructure, provide greater value and higher cost-effectiveness. We are continually expanding and innovating our product portfolio to provide smart tech collaboration and cloud solutions like Smartflo UCaaS– an advanced cloud communication suite that has been designed to provide enhanced unified communication experience. This has recently been integrated with WhatsApp business platform and Microsoft PSTN making it more robust. 

Just to cite an example of Smartflo use-case , we implemented this solution for one of India’s largest cooperative dairies, Dudhsagar based at Mehsana as they faced a novel communication challenge. The dairy wanted its veterinary services to be accessible to members via a seamless and strong communication network on cloud. For this, they sought a solution that merged veterinary services with a call centre system, whereby farmers could call and book the services and provide a centralized monitoring system plus call recordings with a pilot number. With more than 100 veterinary doctors to support farmer-members at their doorstep, they chose Smartflo solution to register the veterinary visit requests of farmers ensuring prompt redressal of complaints. Smartflo offered a dedicated number for each centre so farmers could connect easily to their respective centres to book appointments or for any assistance. Routing of calls to individuals or respective centres meant it was possible to avoid any misses by tracking every incoming call. This is a classic example how technology is permeating at grass root level and how conventional businesses can use digital solutions in streamlining their processes. As an increasing number of businesses are looking for cloud-based platforms to engage with customers, we are well positioned to seize this large and emerging opportunity.

How do you see technology impacting the future of business, specifically for SMBs in India, and how is TTBS preparing for this future?

We envision technology as a driving force that will shape the future of business, particularly for SMBs in India. Businesses have realised that adopting digital solutions is not just advantageous but absolutely crucial for their growth and success .

The ongoing digital transformation has permeated across industries as businesses are actively embracing digital tools, processes, and strategies to innovate and enhance their efficiency, productivity, and customer experiences. This transformation is evident through rapid adoption of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and automation of supply chains. These technologies are helping enterprises to collaborate effectively and execute data-driven decision-making, providing valuable insights for strategic planning, market trends and cost optimisation. More so, the customer experience has also been revolutionized, as technology enables personalized interactions and targeted engagements with customers.

TTBS has been continually pushing boundaries by introducing newer and smarter technologies to build a robust digital infrastructure framework and strengthen its customer service proposition. These measures have enabled us to effectively meet our customers’ evolving needs, enhancing their reach, elevating customer experiences, streamlining business processes, and enhancing overall productivity. We have also upgraded our flagship products with enhanced client servicing tools and provided our customers with extensive Cloud, SaaS and IaaS solutions to help them build operational efficiencies.

Recognizing that SMBs often lack in-house digital expertise, we aim to bridge this gap by becoming their trusted partners. Our dedicated team of subject matter experts collaborates closely with SMBs to define product roadmaps and identify the most suitable solutions for their specific industries and requirements. Our robust asset infrastructure, including an extensive fibre network spanning India, plays a pivotal role in connecting numerous business clusters. Our field team and channel partners actively engage with customers, creating awareness about our services and generating demand.

With our comprehensive digital solutions, rich industry expertise, and robust infrastructure, we are fully committed to equipping SMBs with the necessary tools and support to leverage technology achieve their business goals and thrive in the ever-evolving business landscape.

Is there any channel expansion plan in the near future? Tell us about your overall strategy. How TTBS is re-skilling and up-skilling your channel partners?

TTBS takes pride in its extensive network, which spans over 1,30,000 km of fibre infrastructure across the entire country. This robust network connects more than One lakh business offices, and this number continues to expand. Our well-established presence in 60 key cities is supported by a strong channel partner network from various fields including telecom specialists, system integrators, data security experts, software & IT hardware vendors, OEMs and non-ICT partners with extensive outreach capabilities. We will continuously focus in appointing partners across industries and develop them to meet the diverse ICT solutions needs of SMBs. We are focussed on building partners who are operational at single city level or having regional and national level multicity presence.

We prioritize continuously strengthening our partner network to ensure comprehensive coverage across all market segments. To support our partners as a self-sufficient ICT solution provider, we have instituted various kinds of training and capability enhancement programs like Product master class, Industry affiliated certification programs from OEMs, Account management, Entrepreneurship and Commercial Acumen, Certified Solution Partner program. This initiative equips them with industry-standard certifications and empowers them through upskilling and development initiatives. Through our learning and development platforms, our partners gain valuable certifications, allowing them to acquire new skills more frequently and meet customer demands in an increasingly competitive market.

Can you share your perspectives on the Future of partnership/alliances in IT distribution in a new normal? How connected, smart devices and SaaS-based models are going to disrupt the way we buy technologies?
The future of partnerships and alliances in IT distribution in the contemporary business environment is being defined by increased collaboration and synergy among industry players. As the technology landscape rapidly evolves, no single entity can provide all the solutions and expertise required to meet the diverse needs of customers. Therefore, partnerships and alliances will become even more crucial for delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions due to the growing influence of connected, smart devices, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. These disruptive technologies will reshape the way businesses procure and collaborate with IT distributors and vendors.

The SMBs at large can be divided in broad categories of medium, semi medium, small, and micro segments based on their turnover and employee size. The focus will be on building robust partner ecosystems where distributors collaborate closely with technology vendors, solution providers, system integrators and box selling resellers to deliver comprehensive and integrated solutions to SMBs across segments and geographies.

Leveraging data-driven insights from connected devices, IT distributors must play two distinct roles.

  1. a) Ensure availability of the products and solutions closer to customer place through their chain of resellers and IT dealers across geographies and cities.
  2. b) To provide personalized and tailored solutions, enhancing the overall buying experience for customers. The demand for customized solutions will rise, and distributors will play a pivotal role in aggregating diverse components and services from multiple vendors to meet the unique requirements of businesses.

Smart devices & SaaS-based models will gain further popularity due to their flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. The remote work trend will drive the need for customers to have seamless understanding of products and services, use and experience it such products before purchasing or implementation of the solutions. Agility and flexibility will become critical to adapting to the rapidly evolving technology landscape and customer demands. We feel the future will be comprehensive ICT distribution market both virtual and by traditional distribution method.

In line with our customer-centric approach, we have introduced ‘Customer Experience Platform (CEP)’—an industry-first initiative. CEP revolutionizes the customer experience by providing an immersive and integrated online platform accessible anytime and anywhere, bringing the product experience closer to our customers. Through secure log-in credentials, CEP facilitates interaction between channel partners, TTBS teams, and customers, offering a personalized experience. Customers can virtually experience our products in their own comfort zone, within their own working environment with the ease of self-configuration and use. They are guided through demo videos and industry-specific case studies, enabling them to comprehend the product’s benefits for their businesses. This user-friendly and collaborative solution embodies a ‘faster, simpler, and closer’ approach, catering to the needs of both TTBS customers and partners.







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