Archives for November 2015

SMEs, raise your voice against Harassment, Manipulation and Bullying

Well, the title of this post would upset few, shake many, and empathize most of my SME friends,

My recent observations about interactions between so-called representatives of Microsoft (sellers) and Indian SMEs (buyers) are eye opening. They demonstrate disappointing state of business practices. They also reveal complete loss of Mircosoft’s control on its so-called representatives and process adherence.

I have chosen the three words “Harassment”, “Manipulation” and “Bullying” to describe the sales cycle adopted by Microsoft’s so-called representatives. I strongly believe that it is creating potential liabilities for Microsoft too. I am writing the subsequent section with full awareness about state of piracy amongst Indian SMEs.

Harassment

It is OK if an authorized representative of Microsoft, contacts SME owner to propose SAM audit to assist on software compliance. But it is an utter harassment if 3-4-5 different agencies contact SME owner with different proposals of SAM audits. Many of my SME friends have gone through this disturbing experience. KPMG, Delloite, HCL, lawyer firms, PWC, and Microsoft dealers keep calling SMEs with different tones and languages. This is not enough. They demonstrate disastrous state of internal coordination. Without any internal coordination amongst them, they one by one ask for (read demand or order) the same computer / software usage details from SME. They don’t care if SME owner has diligently submitted all details to one of them.

How to yell “shut up”, My SME friends will have to learn.

How is this a potential liability for Microsoft?

Surprisingly, all these so-called authorized agencies have access to past details of SAM audit, computer, software usage of SME, which is to be kept confidential, by binding as well as by common sense. How can Microsoft share past details (highly confidential and sensitive) to non-Microsoft employed persons without consent of SME.

Manipulation

These so-called Microsoft authorized representatives tend to disqualify their own claims. I have observed 3 types of serious manipulations.

A. Based on computer / software details submitted by SME, they send BoM (Bill of Material) to indicate the gap and fulfill the gap. I have seen that after SME procures all items suggested in BoM, in few days, another so-called representative will call and deny the validity of that BoM. He will claim that the earlier BoM was erroneous and useless, and force SME to buy higher versions of the product. They don’t care about previous BoM which was submitted by the MS authorized representative.

B. When these so-called representatives explain difference between OEM and paper licenses, they explain that paper licenses are hardware-independent unlike OEM licenses which are bound with hardware. They will push SMEs to buy paper licenses. After few months, another agency will contact SME and force another SAM audit. If they find new hardware loaded with paper license key, they will manipulate the fact and explain nod-lock policy of MS. They will say that paper licenses cannot be installed on new hardware. This sounds disgusting to SMEs, when they cold-bloodedly say that they don’t care what the other consultant (authorized by MS) said.

C. Most of the branded hardware manufacturers like Lenovo, HP, Dell, Wipro sell PCs and laptops preloaded with windows 8.1 single language. They sell this hardware to enterprises also. When these so-called representatives find such OS preloaded hardware, they tell that it is not allowed to be used for business purpose, you must buy professional OS. This is gross manipulation and kind of cheating. Even they deny to sell single language windows 8.1 for peer to peer network. You know, professional OS is more than 3 times the cost of single language.

How to yell “WTF”, My SME friends will have to learn.

How is this a potential liability for Microsoft?

Manipulation and concealing of the facts are serious offenses committed by these so-called representatives of Microsoft. Denial of sales of a product  with a motive to force buyer to buy 3 times expensive product is example of monopolistic and restrictive trade practice. Even, they communicate with the email ids under Microsoft domain, which will not let Microsoft decline its involvement or liability.

Bullying

Many a times, these representatives walk into SME’s premise without appointment and intimation. They become aggressive and try to encroach inside without any authority letters, search warrants or even identity cards. Microsoft may not know, but they say that they are from Microsoft. They even carry their pen drives with some exe files and pressurize SMEs to run those exe files on their computers without any non-disclosure agreement, privacy assurance, IP protection guarantee. They even do not care about explaining after effects of injecting such software. I know few SMEs who had to do it under pressure and the pen drive was carrying ransom-ware which encrypted all files in network. It was a huge loss.

These persons even threaten SMEs of criminal proceedings, confiscation of assets and huge penalty. I am sure they are neither empowered, nor authorized to do so. They even reveal that since they have visited, they are expecting some revenue. They even promise to relieve pressure if some business if given to them. They start negotiating, and even say, OK can you buy some software for a couple of lakhs? And not to specify, it’s another agency’s turn after few months…

How to yell “Get Lost”, My SME friends will have to learn.

How is this potential liability for Microsoft?

Many of these so-called representative talk tall. They claim that their all computer activities are monitored by Microsoft and they precisely know their software usage. This happens only in India. I urge Microsoft to curb such tall talks in its own interest.

I am against piracy. But harassing, manipulating and bullying gullible people is not at all the way out.

Our innovation BLACKbox brings self-esteem to SMEs. It legitimately saves 70 percent of MS licensing cost for SMEs having 5 to 100 computers without compromising enterprise level use of IT.

Many of our customers have gone through successful SAM audits by Microsoft and validated 70 percent savings in licensing cost.

Best regards,

Vishal Shah
Founder and CEO
Synersoft Technologies Pvt Ltd

SMEs, Tap the Untapped, high time now

Patience has a bottom, which my SME friends are observing.

Well, since November 2013, my SME friends have seen paradigm shift in how business is done in India. Sadly and unwillingly, extended payment cycles and lower business volumes are accepted as normal phenomenon.

On the contrary, In Last 24 months, at regular intervals, sparks of hope surfaced in terms of majority government (May 2014), interest rate cuts, priority SME lending (union budget provisions), crude oil prices, and FDI reforms.

However, when I speak to SMEs, they genuinely express that situation is going worse. Responding to extended payment cycles, One SME owner made a stetement, saying, 

 “We SMEs are now in the same business, and that is of providing financial services to our customers, no matter how we do, chemical / pharma / engineering / trading / manufacturing”.

Higher working capital requirement (extended payment cycles) becomes bottleneck and lowers business volumes. So what is the solution? Most of my SME friends are very conservative on their finances. Changed conditions mandate the change in the way SMEs source finances.

I suggest two point strategy to swim through these circumstances.

1. Technology Upgradation to increase efficiencies for better profitability and,

2. Maintain business volumes by unsecured business loans.

MSME organizations, Government and Banks are keen on giving unsecured business loans to SMEs. Somehow, SMEs have least tapped these resources. I strongly believe that you can set right your business by fueling with unsecured business loans and technology upgradation, of course, it comes at 16 to 18 percent cost, but is worth to make sure that you maintain and grow your business volumes. This additional cost of capital can be nullified by upgrading technology to lower costs to increase profitability.

At Synersoft, we champion for SME benefits. Our knowledge center is now equipped with resources to guide SMEs on how to materialize an unsecured loan for technology upgradation and working capital.

BLACKbox is now available on finance which is a good news. Better news is, finance on BLACKbox can be accompanied by a unsecured business loan of Rs 10 Lacs to 2 Crores for technology upgradation and working capital.

In fact, we can do in flat 7 days with minimum papers.

Just do it, happy business to you,

Best regards,

Vishal Shah
Founder and CEO,
Synersoft Technologies Pvt Ltd