Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, today released a new report revealing that small businesses that embrace cloud-enabled technologies in India are expected to unlock up to ₹1.6 trillion in annual productivity gains and support 45.9 million jobs across the healthcare, education, and agriculture sectors by 2030, representing 9% of total jobs in India.
AWS commissioned the “Realizing a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Small Businesses” report to examine the potential benefits of moving to the cloud for small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 250 employees) addressing societal issues. Conducted by global professional services firm, Accenture, the report uses Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) definition of cloud adoption levels to forecast a cloud-enabled economy in 2030, where 90% of all businesses adopt at least a basic level of cloud technology.
The report reveals that India’s current rate of at least basic cloud adoption for all businesses, such as the use of web-based email services or cloud-based storage solutions, is at 28%. However, the report highlights greater opportunities to unlock with the adoption of intermediate applications like the use of customer relationship management or enterprise resource planning tools, and advanced applications such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI), including generative AI, and machine learning (ML) tailored for sophisticated tasks including fraud detection or supply chain forecasting.
Economic and Societal Impact of Cloud-Enabled Small Businesses
The report reveals that by moving to the cloud, small businesses can deliver tangible benefits to the economy and society. Moving to the cloud can facilitate remote medical consultations, improve access to education, enhance precision agriculture, and more, which contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
In the agriculture sector, cloud-enabled small businesses help with addressing food shortage problems, by implementing data-driven practices through cloud technologies such as AI. The report estimates small businesses in India can help unlock ₹1.1 trillion in annual productivity benefits in agriculture, and one in nine farms will use precision agriculture solutions that enhance productivity by 2030, representing a 300% increase compared to the current usage rate.
In the healthcare sector, cloud-enabled small businesses help with addressing the challenge of limited access to healthcare faced by underserved communities. The report estimates cloud-enabled small businesses can help unlock ₹199.5 billion in annual productivity benefits in healthcare and support 47 million telehealth consultations in India by 2030.
In the education sector, cloud-enabled small businesses help with addressing the challenge of accessibility and inclusivity of education through digital platforms. The report estimates these small businesses can help unlock ₹291.6 billion in annual productivity benefits in education and provide 99 million students in India with e-learning solutions by 2030, which is 165% more than the current usage rate. The report also highlights 248 million adults are expected to access education resources via cloud-enabled small businesses.
Closer Collaboration to Realize the Cloud’s Potential
Cybersecurity challenges, organizational culture, lack of access to information technology (IT) infrastructure (software and hardware) and digital skills are the primary barriers to cloud adoption among small businesses. To help small businesses accelerate cloud adoption, the report outlines five key recommendations: 1) Identify how the cloud can streamline strategic business needs, 2) evaluate industry and government support, 3) upskill and educate employees in cloud, 4) review data and security policies, and 5) create a whole-of-business cloud migration strategy.
“While there are significant benefits that are unlocked by small businesses adopting at least a basic level of cloud technology, there is still a huge opportunity for them to further advance their cloud adoption as this will accelerate their ability to address some of the biggest challenges in society,” said Aaron Hill, Managing Director of Economic Insights, Accenture Strategy and Consulting. “With more support from governments and the industry, these businesses will have greater ability to harness the power of transformative technologies such as generative AI to unleash even more innovation, drive economic productivity, and deliver meaningful change to society.”
“Small businesses in India are a major driver of innovation, economic growth, and societal impact in the country. They play a vital role in solving grassroot level challenges, such as improving access to digital healthcare, agriculture, and education services,” said Deepti Dutt, Leader – Verticals, Public Sector, AWS India Private Limited. “Cloud enables small businesses to access the same set of scalable and secure technologies as large global enterprises, and also helps them to focus on solving business problems at a fast pace and in a cost-efficient way. By adopting advanced cloud-enabled technologies like generative AI, small businesses can accelerate their growth and digital transformation. AWS is working alongside governments, educators, and the industry to help small businesses in India realize economic and social benefits while creating a better future for all.”
AWS helps small businesses to seize opportunities in the digital economy and transform their business models using cloud technologies like generative AI. AWS offers programs tailored to the diverse needs of small businesses that are at different stages of their digitization journey. Over the past 10 years, early-stage startups globally have used AWS Activate program to grow and scale their business. Since 2019, the program has provided more than $2 billion in AWS credits to help startups manage costs, get technical expertise, and access training and business mentorship. For small businesses looking to kickstart their cloud journey, the AWS Lift program, provides small businesses with a starter pack of cloud credits of up to USD 83,500 over 12 months, resources, and support from AWS Partners, and to help them start digitising in the cloud. AWS has accelerator programs to bolster small businesses’ growth in key sectors, including the AWS Healthcare Accelerators for Health Equity and Workforce Development, which build on the AWS Health Equity Initiative, and the AWS ML Elevate program to nurture generative artificial intelligence (AI) startups,. Small businesses also have access to over 100,000 AWS Partners in the AWS Partner Network (APN), that can help them to find the tools, resources, and help to create the right solution for their business and customers. Additionally, small businesses can use AWS Marketplace to find and deploy pre-configured software solutions through a curated digital catalogue, paying only for what they use.
Areete is focused on developing technology to help dairy farmers solve their problems such as low milk yield, missed reproduction cycles, and high medical expenses on cattle management. Using AWS IoT and database technologies, Areete has developed a serverless cloud-native solution called ‘Ayushman Cowfit’, which provides farmers with regular multilingual alerts and notifications about their cattle health, leading to higher quality diary yields.
“Areete is committed to transforming the lives of Indian farmers through our cattle health management and heat detection IoT solution,” said Srinivas Subramanian, Managing Director, Areete Business Solutions. “By leveraging the latest AWS technologies and with the support of programs like AWS Activate, we have harnessed the scalability, flexibility, security, and robust features of AWS, to develop a serverless cloud-native solution called ‘Ayushman Cowfit’. It provides regular updates to farmers on cattle health, which helps them make better decisions about their herd and improves dairy yields by more than 10%. We have implemented our solutions at various milk cooperatives, large dairies, and other institutions like BAIF Development Research Foundation, Pune, and Agriculture Development Institute Baramati. At Areete, we are also exploring generative AI solutions to build precision dairy management practices, which can provide guided insights to dairy farmers, and enable them to further improve yield, better manage cattle health, increase profitability.”
Rocket Learning, an edtech non-profit, is dedicated to providing quality early childhood education to underserved children throughout India. They achieve this by leveraging AWS AI and ML technologies and currently serve over 1.75 million children across nine Indian states.
“With AWS, we’ve been able to scale our solution to rural communities across India, helping low-income children develop crucial pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills. We are also collaborating with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to transform 1.39 million Anganwadi Centres into vibrant learning hubs,” said Vishal Sunil, Co-Founder and CTO of Rocket Learning. “By harnessing the wide range of AWS AI and ML services, we’ve been able to deepen our engagement within communities. We provide real-time behavioural nudges and personalised reports to caregivers, all while using automation to efficiently expand our impact. This approach allows us to manage costs effectively and maintain the stability and security of our programs. Our ultimate aim is to enable 30 million children to access high-quality early childhood education and be well-prepared for school within the next five years.”
The “Realizing a Cloud-enabled Economy: How Cloud Drives Economic and Societal Impact Through Small Businesses” report covers 12 countries, including India, and uses market sizing, responses from quantitative surveys, and a combination of publicly available datasets from the OECD, the World Bank, the Conference Board Total Economy Database.