India is not just a country which works on technology but also one where businesses are comfortable using the products of technology.
The International Business Owners Survey 2005 (IBOS) places India and its businesses among the global top five in familiarity and usage of email. The study was conducted by Grant Thornton, a UK-based financial advisory firm for mid-corporate businesses.
"Around 70 per cent of the businesses surveyed in India believed that e-mail and the internet have helped increase their revenue. This is just one notch beneath Philippines which tops the list at 76 per cent. India is also among the top three with the average amount of time businessmen spend on e-mails, which is around 2 hours every day," says Vishesh Chandiok, international practice partner, Grant Thornton.
The survey in India was conducted among medium-sized companies or those which employ 100-1,000 people. It included private and public companies across several segments including manufacturing, business services, agriculture and construction.
"One of the startling revelations we had of India in the survey was in the area of online advertising and marketing. The global average for this stood at -24, that is a significant portion disagreed that online marketing was essential for their businesses. This is because the consumer is still uncomfortable doing business online and therefore online marketing is not yet a very popular medium for medium-sized businesses. But Indian businesses, on the other hand, showed a neutral result. An equal number of people agreed and disagreed that online marketing was essential to their business," says Chandiok.
The survey was conducted across 24 countries where business owners were asked questions on e-mail and e-commerce. The survey finds that while countries like India, Hong Kong, Philippines and the US show great comfort levels with the internet and e-mail, countries like Russia, Japan and Taiwan hit the bottom of the list.
"One has to also understand that the survey spoke to medium-sized businesses whereas a country's overall technology feel is created by large companies. Also, countries where our target medium-sized businesses are being run by an older group of entrepreneurs their tech-savvy will decrease," he says.
Grant Thornton has been conducting IBOS for around 10 years in Europe and it is only over the last three years that the study has become global.
According to Chandiok, countries are included as per their wish to participate. For example, China does not allow such studies to be conducted by outsiders.
He added that next year they hoped to cover China as well. This will give a better idea of how India stands in relation to the other Asian tiger.