Social is the way forward for small businesses: Microsoft | SupportBiz

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Social is the way forward for small businesses: Microsoft

In a recent survey conducted for tech giant Microsoft by the research firm Ipsos, out of 1,825 employees across the APAC region, 40 per cent of the employees feel there isn’t enough collaboration in their workplaces and the social tools could foster better teamwork.

According to the survey findings, 57 per cent of the employees in the Asia-Pacific region would like to be more involved in the decisions to add new technologies and tools at their workplaces, and 45 per cent of employees would be willing to spend their own money on social tools to drive company efficiencies.

In an interaction with SupportBiz, Ramkumar Pichai, General Manager, Microsoft Office Division at Microsoft India highlighted some interesting trends that are getting visible in the IT adoption by businesses.

Edited excerpts:

What are the trends that you have witnessed from the perspective of IT usage among small businesses?

Social tools are game-changers for small businesses looking to boost their competitiveness and to solve the business challenges. As small businesses start to use social tools like Yammer, and embedded social capabilities within Office 365, Lync, and Dynamics CRM, for collaboration, sharing, and communicating outside and inside their business, they stand benefit from an increase in team collaboration, employee engagement and connectedness with customers, partners and vendors. Social tools also help the SMBs react nimbly and quickly to business changes and demands

How is Microsoft tapping this opportunity?

With Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, Dynamics CRM and Yammer, Microsoft alone has the expertise, portfolio, capabilities, vision and insight to make the future for workplace collaboration a reality. Our vision is to support individuals and businesses around the world realize their full potential. Enterprise social is a key pillar of the company’s commitment to help people fully realize the benefits of cloud computing, through its all-inclusive approach to productivity. Enterprise social also has the potential to transform businesses by improving the way knowledge and information flows and how people are able to connect and collaborate across organizations. With clear objectives and executive support, it can improve employee engagement, make teams more productive, increase agility for competitive advantage and enhance responsiveness.

Regarding the employee engagement and collaborative approach, how is the awareness level catching up among smaller organizations?

Enterprise social networking improves how people share, learn and discover information and collaborate within their organizations; the benefits are broad. Microsoft sees customers driving significant benefits in four key areas namely, attract and retain employees through engagement, make teams more productive to solve business challenges quickly, organizational connectedness and build loyalty with customers. Enterprise social should be woven into the apps you use every day and Microsoft is the only vendor with the assets to deliver on that vision.

In the recent global survey conducted by Ipsos, what are the significant trends you have witnessed in India?

Nine out of 10 Indian workers use email, followed closely by eight in 10 who use IM/video conferencing, and three quarters use team sites/intranets.  In India, the usage levels of these tools tend to be higher than most other markets across the board.

The most prevalent social tools in the Indian community are those, recognized by the workers as the most useful and encouraged at the workplace. External social networks, micro blogging and internal social networks are restricted by one quarter of the Indian organizations.

Seven in 10 workers feel that security concerns are to be blamed for the restrictions, while six in 10 feel the restrictions are due to productivity loss. However, 71 per cent of the respondents feel social tools have actually helped to increase their productivity.