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Taking technology to the Bottom of Pyramid- Dream Business with Office365

Monday, April 22, 2013 44 Comments

Microsoft, a name synonymous to computing and operating system has come up with a new feather on their cap- Microsoft Office 365.

Office on the Go, cloud follows
We all are familiar with Microsoft Office and it's invaluable products like MS word, MS Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook mail etc. Now all that with an added advantage of cloud computing attached. It has become more easier to communicate and even collaborate with others and is present virtually anywhere and every where making business on the go, wherever cloud follows. 

Without going into much technical details- Microsoft Office 365 is a new offering from the legendary Microsoft which enable you the liberty to work anywhere using your office tools without investing in large servers and all that technical back up, real estate etc. Just subscribe like you subscribe for any magazine, Video or telephone services on a very nominal charges and you are good to go. The services are world class, reliable and easy to administer. 

Completely Connected, Completely Synchronized. Completely Boss

Taking Technology to the bottom of Pyramid- I Dream of Rural Empowerment through cloud based Business Model

So when you have so much power bestowed by technology, why restrict it to fewer people only? Technology is all about bridging gap and enabling transformation. It must reach to every strata of society and change lives, change the way business is done. When "enabling transformation" is so much a DNA of a company like Microsoft, why modern businesses and entrepreneurs should stay aloof of this notion?

So when Microsoft asked bloggers to come forth and discuss their dream business using Office 365, the first idea that came to me, is a rural tele-center or creating a "Kissan Sahkaar Services". (Farmer Cooperative Services)

Kissan Sahkaar Services

Vision: To leverage the power of technology towards benefiting one of the prime occupation of country and contribute significantly socially, economically and commercially in bringing the economic parity between technology haves and haves-not. 

Target Group- People who sweat their life to feed a nation, a nation of billion people - the farmers. The Great Indian Farmers.

Business Idea
To open a virtual Farmer Information Center (FIC), bringing all the farmers across country on a common platform, creating an Internet based Mandi (market place) where farmers can interact with each other, large buyers/ large format retailers/ export houses and can sell their commodities and earn good livelihood. The primary objectives/activities of the business would be-

1. Creating a common platform to bring farming manufacturers, sellers and buyers together.
2. Platform where farmers can discuss their produce and seek the right selling price for same, eliminating the additional channels in between and hence the costs.
3. Enabling farmers to connect with specialists and share, learn different tips on farming, types of crops to be cultivated, crop rotation, usage of right pesticides, finding solutions for any existing agriculture and market related problems.
4. Helping farmers to sell their produce for right price in appropriate markets, India & Abroad.
5. Bringing people from agriculture and allied industries like seed suppliers, farming equipment manufacturers, fertilizer companies etc on a common platform to support agriculture and fair trade.
6. Creating a medium that may advise farmers on governance related matters.
7. Combining the disparate agencies and support services like call center service, Knowledge processing operations and back office operation to a single shop solution addressing all the commercial needs of Indian farmers, traders and buyers. 

Every year a large part of our agricultural produces like Hapus Mangoes, Nagpur Oranges, Apples from Himachal gets exported and such initiative will help farmers to direct trade with the buyers abroad.

This is very much doable given the high penetration of telecom and computers in rural India. There is a big market for it esp in pockets like Punjab, Haryana, Kerela, Tamil Nadu, MP, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh etc where agriculture is primary vocation and the production is exported and Intra-ported within country and abroad. 

Why via electronic media and Microsoft
People are slowly waking up to the power of Internet and what could be a better platform/ OS than Microsoft given it's wide accessibility, reach, reliability, ease of usage and levels of customization. With Office 365, the project seems to be a cherry on top. I propose Microsoft to be my partner in this noble crime.

Also, Internet has become the fastest way to reach people, spread across length and breadth of country. It cut through the clutter of time, distance and undue costs. It has shrink the entire globe in to a @ empire and has become a new way to do business. 

How Office 365 comes handy
The world of business and personal computing is anyways riding on MS office. Office 365 just takes it to other heights, eliminating geographical disparity, technical complexity, large volume of capital etc. Like I said just choose the services that you want to use from the umbrella of all pervasive products and pay a subscription fee and start using it. 

Any business that wants to open its shop, has to first battle to arrange substantial amount of fund for Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex (operating expenses). A large part of which goes in building/ renting office spaces, furniture/fixture, creating huge IT infrastructure, manpower and so on. In the world of automation and cloud computing, businesses feels liberated and a large part of this cost can be cut via virtual offices. 

If I am talking of eliminating unnecessary middlemen in agriculture trading, why shouldn't I do same while creating my own business? My soldiers in mission would be-

1. Multiple device access- This is incredibly a boon as one need not be a single device dependent. The farmers in my community can use/ reach out using any device they feel comfortable in and need not carry heavy PC to places. With Window based mobile smartphones, it is just a beginning of great things to come.

2. Web conferencing- All I need is a device that supports voice and video calls including laptop, PC and camera phones to host online meetings anywhere, anytime using one click screen sharing and if my business grows- HD video conferencing.

And not just web conferencing between the team but there could be session on expert speak etc where specialist from agricultural universities can address and educate farmers and others on various health, crop and trade related issues and discussion.

3. Instant messaging using LYNC- People can check my online availability and connect and send messages instantly without additional cost. We can share pictures, files and sometime songs too. Heard of "Baar baar haan" from movie lagaan? :)

4. File storage and sharing using Sky drive- with 7GB of personal storage that instantly sync even offline, we can share commodity rates, pricing etc including pictures of the crops.

5. Sharepoint- I loved this feature. Now whatever we have stored in sky drive, we can share using Sharepoint and same time editing is a bliss.

6. Data security and privacy- All the data would be secured over the cloud and no unnecessary paper filing etc would be needed. 

7. Email and calender feature- To help people interact within themselves without waiting for the post master to deliver their snail mails. Calender would be a handy product to broadcast the upcoming relevant fairs like Kissan mela etc. With 25GB storage, am sure farmers are going to love this product and so do I as I can have full time access without worrying to delete mails to save storage or prevent mail bounce.

8. Website Builder- This would help me to click website in simple steps without me breaking my head to chose over multiple vendor in markets for hosting, building etc. A website needless to say, is the most important branding tool of any business in the current market.


There are multiple features that will complement my business and work flow and given the subscription price, ease of access and hassle free maintenance they offer, I am sure Office 365 would be my asset in my business.

In simple and short words- its is everything that a modern business need. Personalization/Customization is the need of hour and given the kind of business I propose here, connectivity and ease of connectivity is prime most important. 

If Telecom brought a revolution, cloud computing is going to change the game. For small entrepreneurs like me who are not that well verse or comfortable with high tech integration, huge capex to create office spaces and connectivity, the idea comes as highly doable and adding value to society, economy. 

I also have plans to collaborate and bring all artisans and small scale crafts men on this platform. I see huge potential in this business idea as it moves forward, it indeed can create more value, volume and scales to it. Who knows if this change the way agriculture is done in India. It would also benefits economy,boost commerce while engaging efforts towards more profitable gains in the agriculture sector. Did anyone say GDP increase? I say Nokia Lumia 920 powered by windows J

______________________________
This post is written for Indiblogger and Microsoft Office 365 contest- Your dream business using MS Office 365. To know more about the product visit-  http://www.office365.in.

It all started when one April Sunday afternoon, a group of bloggers Kissed a "Blue Frog" and it transformed into cloud. Cloud no 365!

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write

44 comments:

  1. That is some line up of information :) Did you win any prizes for the contest it was written for?

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  2. Very informative Ekta ! Thank you !

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  3. wow - loved the kisan rural tele centre idea; hope u win gal :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Priya! I didn't win the first prize as coveted but definitely won the third prize.

      Delete
  4. Aaaaall the very best to you. Hope you win the challenge :)

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  5. That is some fantastic information sharing.

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  6. Sounds like an Utopian dream but one that'll take this country really ahead. I think the way to go is also to work on the distribution model of the hardware, the software and most importantly the training. I've worked in social outreach and one of the big challenges that I think our country faces is to work on educating the end user and the other is scaling up.

    Good luck. Am sure you'll do well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I too have worked in a similiar ICT- Information and communication technology set up and do relate to what you commented.

      yes education is very important and sustainability too. Scaling up can be a challenge but these days a lot of cos gives easy seed capital etc to help.

      Thank so much. Really appreciate to connect with you :)

      Delete
  7. Very interesting ! Thanks for sharing this information, and all the very best to you !

    ReplyDelete
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  9. thanks to the contest I could discover and I m trying hands on office 365 !! its amazing !! and i look fwd to pay the monthly !! best of luck for the contest Ekta nice post Indeed and I could relate all the more as I am using it !! :0

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Mysay! Do share your own experience as well :)

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  10. Great, very nice informative article..got many question answered by this post....stay blessed..!!

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  11. The information is invaluable and the concept is amazing... it inexplicably reminds me of ITC e-Choupal. Great article overall... you seem to have put in a lot of hard work and research!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well researched and informative! All the best for the contest...

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  13. Good luck Ekta, This sure sounds like a winner.

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  15. AnonymousMay 23, 2013

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  16. ultimate blog..i like!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Ekta,

    Hope you are doing well...!!!

    Very informative blog you have.

    I would like you to write about my website and posted on your blog.

    Please do let me know your view on the same.

    Thank you,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hmmmm...pl mail me...lets see :)

      Delete
  18. Hello .. It was good plan. I think ITC e-choupal is also doing almost same thing..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard but not sure of the scope. This was an idea for cloud based office.

      Delete
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