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Sudhir Goel, Chief Business Officer, Acer India

Sudhir Goel is the Chief Business Officer at Acer India. With over 35 years of experience, Sudhir Goel brings in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role in Acer India. He was instrumental in establishing Acer India’s manufacturing facility at Pondicherry. Before the current role, he handled the portfolio of Chief Supply Chain Officer, responsible for the supply chain - operations, procurement, material planning, and manufacturing functions.

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Redefine Startup Businesses With Disruptive Technologies

Notwithstanding these changes, as it becomes clear that some roles perform just as well off-location, enterprises can adopt 'hybrid work culture', along with increased use of data and public cloud.

Startup ecosystems across the world are unique in as much as they are required by their very nature to be more agile, evolve faster, and expand rapidly. So much so, that many startups when advertising for jobs openly ask for candidates who can ‘hustle’! Notwithstanding this pragmatism, startups also work on wafer-thin margins, relatively smaller teams, and have fewer resources at their disposal. And all of this pertains to business in regular times.

The global Covid-19 pandemic which has impacted businesses the world over have had a stronger impact on startups than on other legacy and traditional business outfits. A two-month-long survey conducted by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) found that nine in every 10 have registered a decline in revenues. What’s more, more than a third of startups surveyed have had to halt operations either permanently or at least for the time being. Some of the worst-hit segments were found to be early and mid-stage startups, especially in the business to consumer space. Besides this, the survey also concluded that 60% of all B2C startups would end up shutting shop.

This is, of course, not to say that legacy and well-established businesses haven’t been impacted. Given the nature of the times then, it would become imperative that companies start re-inventing, and innovating using technology, which besides its long-term benefits would help in immediate cost reduction as well, given that businesses do not now need to invest in infrastructure and real estate, immediately reducing operational expenditures significantly. It obviously helps that India has performed significantly better in the last three years in terms of broadband availability. The reduction in data costs and is widespread proliferation mean that companies can encourage employees to continue to work from home, while not making compromises on output.

On the startup's side, technology can quickly become an enabler for B2C companies, especially given that these are the ones facing the most uncertain futures. During the lockdown, it became increasingly clear that e-commerce is here to stay, on account of the ease and convenience it provides consumers.

Startups can start looking at saving costs at employees work from home. Shifting from work from the office to work from home, enterprises are trying to adopt different digital tools for communication, team collaboration, data security to act as a catalyst for some firms to develop work from home solutions. The work from home trend will continue further and adoption for tools helping in it will experience exponential growth.

Hardware is at the core of the technology requirements for these startups, especially since for efficient work from the home mechanisms for employees, reliable computers/laptops, with decent configurations are required. Computers need to be able to handle automated technologies being deployed and should be able to shoulder some heavy lifting usually reserved for desktops. This could, for example, include, tasks of customer satisfaction, user experience optimization, bandwidth management, and other collaboration tools. Fair management of these above-listed tools and tasks could result in an immediate cost reduction, leading to a mid-to-long-term curtailing of operating costs.

It is also key that personnel, semi-trained or untrained in making the most of these systems are brought into the fold of technology, so that simple tasks such as virtual meetings, etc could be conducted without a glitch. Newer technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality also then become key to the success of these new technology programs. Training regular employees so that they are able to make maximum use of applications based on these technologies is mandatory. Notwithstanding these changes, as it becomes clear that some roles perform just as well off-location, enterprises can adopt 'hybrid work culture', along with increased use of data and public cloud.

Another key aspect here is data storage. Given that most startups have intellectual property that they cannot afford to compromise, safe, secure, fast, and efficient data storage becomes a core requirement for success, especially when multiple companies end up vying for the same set of customer eyeballs. Again, secure computers and laptops which allow for this and do not compromise security are critical tools.

However we look at it, technology will play a crucial role in business sustenance, continuity, and increasing productivity. Start-ups that uses technology at its core of operations will stand a better chance of succeeding than without.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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