The Route to The Cloud in India Lies Via... Cybercafes!
I recently read this most interesting article in the Washington Post, which tells us that soon the entire United States can look forward to being “enveloped in wireless”. Lucky you, Americans!
In a previous post, I had talked about the adoption challenges of CRM, more specifically in India. I had talked about lack of reliable and fast enough broadband connection, lack of smartphone usage with a data plan etc as issues that need to be addressed.
I had also talked about how lack of reliable and inexpensive data connections are distorting technology adoption. Salesmen do not carry laptops, using smartphones at work for business is prevalent only in very few companies. So, salesmen fill in their daily or weekly call reports when they are back in office in the evening or over the weekend. A user case, here: How a large distribution operation uses Saleswah CRM.
But still, the cloud as an idea is gaining ground among potential CRM customers. They see the benefits but, the enabling technologies are not as pervasive as they would like. Nor is the hardware cheap. When a laptop costs more than the monthly salary of the salesman, you can forget expecting the company to fund laptops for its salespeople. Or indeed, if mobile data usage per salesperson costs as much as 10 percent or above their monthly salaries, the companies will pull back.
Like always, there is a uniquely Indian solution. Cybercafes!
Cybercafes dot the landscape in India. For about 50 cents an hour, sometimes even cheaper, they let you surf the net on desktops at just about okay speed–enough to make a Skype call, check email, browse sports scores or entertainment sites.
Or, fill in your daily call reports! This really works amazingly well for sales folks away from their home base for days on end. Imagine being able to transmit orders back to your office, or even email a quote or proposal to the client you just met.
In the USA, folks use their laptops or smartphones to accomplish the same thing. In India, that work is done from cybercafes.