Advent of the Business Technologist

The tech revolution has caused several traditional roles to evolve and assume new dimensions and responsibilities in recent years. One such role is that of the Business Analyst (BA). Larger multinational companies were the original movers behind the creation of this unique role. All these organisations inevitably had one thing in common – meticulously planned and detailed organisation structures. In such an environment, BAs were tasked with continuously improving systems and processes while driving IT adoption across the board to govern the same.

The recent waves of start-ups resulted in the organic transformation of this traditionally vertical-based specialist into that of cross-functional professional with the expectation of being able to deliver on all fronts, cutting across business verticals. The prominence and necessity of such a role to drive strategic, tactical and operational excellence in the start-up environment, is now seen as more of a necessity than a luxury. These individuals, with evolved professional capabilities, are akin to the ‘Smart Creative’ that Google has postulated. They are hands on, driven by data analytics and are known to bring a fresh perspective to the table, consequently making them one of the most sought after employees in the market.

The advent of the Business Technologist has been triggered by the rise of sophisticated challenges that require a nimble response mechanism from a technological perspective. Businesses are constantly attempting to overcome new challenges as they arise. Technology, which is advancing at an exponential rate, becomes the perfect vehicle to address these challenges. Establishing a robust response mechanism to resolve them prepares the organisation to swiftly move on to the next challenge. Business technologists often become the architects and propagators of this change within organisations.

The stark contrast between the BA and the BT is highlighted in the overall responsibilities assumed by them. For instance, BAs are responsible for overseeing a process and ensuring that they optimise it to a state of best practice. BTs on the other hand are in a position to innovate and redesign the underlying process itself. This redesign can be caused by a variety of reasons, ranging from lack of IT adoption, the existence of better delivery models, to uneconomic business practices. It can even be a consequence of the process not being in line with the overall strategy of the organisation. Such is the liberty that is given to the BT.

The emergence of this professional leads us to the conclusion that success of technology does not depend merely on its adoption – it is more dependent on understanding the implications of its deployment in the most complex business environments. All this while ensuring that maximum value is being derived from these potentially capital intensive technology ‘solutions’. One may argue that this is the responsibility of the CIO or her team – someone whose role in the organisation is to work primarily on strategy or the execution of technology. However, given the dynamic nature of roles and responsibilities in the modern-day work environment, organisations must have BTs spread across business functions, as well as lines of business. The failure to do so is likely to result in sub-optimal efficiencies.

Much like the ‘rise’ of the ‘Business Analyst’, which was a direct consequence of the tech revolution, the age of the start-up has led to the advent of the Business Technologist. Sure, it’s not how you can expect anyone to introduce themselves in a corporate context. As a matter of fact, until a few years ago, the BT didn’t even exist. Today we can go ahead and safely say that such individuals must be well versed in a variety of disciplines – ranging from operations, business strategy, unit economics and talent development – to core technical areas such as IT, engineering architecture and others.

This distinctive role can also be compared to that of an in-house management consultant. The key difference between the two professionals is that the business technologists are not afraid to roll-up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They will not stop at a prescriptive solution, but will get knee deep in the problem while attempting to solve it. The quicker the organisations embrace this evolved being, the faster these organisations can become flagbearers of the new phase of the technological revolution.

Arjun Nair

Arjun has a deep understanding of the Indian SME universe as a consequence of having dealt with this juggernaut for the last 5 years. Starting off his career at Tally, where he gained insight into this industry in a variety of areas including IT adoption, overall size of universe, etc. He now spends his days at Capital Float leveraging this information to increase customer acquisition. True to the article, he also spends his time ensuring cross functional synergy across functions in the organisation. From enabling the SME universe with IT at Tally he now wishes to empower them through financial inclusion.

Arjun is a Business Technologist at Capital Float

More Related Posts

Card image cap
Loan Products in the Market for SMEs: 5 Steps to find the best Business loan type for your Business Requirements

An enterprise that has a strategic business plan for its growth but not enough cash to execute the same can approach institutional lenders for funds. There are multiple sources of procuring a working capital loan in the organised credit market. These include private and public sector banks, development banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs).

The digitally enabled NBFCs known as FinTech lending companies have become some of the major lenders supporting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs, SMEs) around the world. In India too, the FinTech lending model is becoming popular, and start-ups find it more convenient to borrow from them as these companies offer unsecured business loans.

What kind of businesses can borrow from a FinTech company? How to apply for a FinTech SME or MSME loan? Could this be a month-long process like most other institutional lending systems? These are some of the questions that organisations not acquainted with the digital lending framework ask. And the answers bring relief to most of them.  

In their mission to support the Make in India initiative, established FinTech companies are coming forward to assist as many enterprises as possible. They have a diversified array of products that include working capital loan, term loan, supply chain finance, machinery loan and other funds customised for different commercial needs.

You need to take merely 5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirement when you decide to approach a FinTech company for finance.

Before we further look into these five steps, here is some more information on the different types of funds provided by these digital lenders:

Working Capital Loan—This form of finance helps sustain the regular operations of any business. It is usually taken for a short term – up to 12 months – to procure additional raw materials, buy inventory, pay for utilities and to give advance payments to suppliers. Your business can use this loan as a cash cushion and manage seasonal sale fluctuations.

Term Loan—FinTech companies also offer loans for longer tenures when businesses need to make bigger investments. When the loan amount taken by an SME is approximately Rs 20 lakhs to 50 lakhs, it can be paid it back in 2- 3 years in small instalments. Term loans can be taken by any manufacturer, trader, distributor or professional service provider.

MCA Loan—A Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) loan is a funding option open to businesses that frequently accept card-based payments from their customers. The FinTech lender looks at the monthly credit or debit card receipts to determine the creditworthiness of a borrower. Eligible businesses in Indian can borrow between Rs 1 lakh and 1 crore as per their average card settlements. The loan can be paid back in 9 to 12 months.

Machinery Loan—As the name conveys this loan is procured to purchase machines and equipment used in the manufacturing processes. Businesses in construction, packaging, fabrication, and assembling of products can use these loans to overcome temporary financial roadblocks. FinTechs have flexible repayment terms for such loans.

Invoice Finance—Another customised business loan for SMEs and MSMEs, invoice financing enables businesses to borrow against their Account Receivables. If your company needs immediate cash to fund operations, but your clients will process your bills at later dates, you may be eligible to get quick invoice finance from a FinTech company.

Pay Later Loan—An SME loan in the form of a pay later finance comes with a pre-defined amount that is exclusive to each business as per its requirements and earning capacity. On this loan borrowers can make multiple draw-downs within the approved limit. They just need to pay back the sums used to reinstate the balance for further usage. It is a rolling credit product to help small businesses pay their suppliers at short notices. The top benefit of this loan is that the interest is charged only on the amount used and not the full limit approved for the borrower.

Supply Chain Finance—A tailored loan to help dealers and suppliers having business relationships with large, blue-chip companies, supply chain finance can be availed to buy inventory, improve cash flow, reduce the cost of goods sold (COGS), improve sales, and ensure the timely availability of goods for consumers. With supply chain finance, the borrowing business can reduce its dependence on the buyer while benefiting from the fluidity in its financial position.

FinTechs also offer bespoke funding for specific professions and businesses. These may be in the form of a school loan, doctor loan, online seller finance, franchise finance, petrol pump loan, restaurant loan or a loan for any other legally permissible business.

5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirements

When a FinTech company offers a custom loan product for your line of business/profession, it is important to identify the right kind of finance product.  It is thus good to be aware of the general ways to choose the right SME or MSME loan.

  1. Make a note of your requirements—When your business has a good credit rating, it can be tempting to borrow a sum larger than what you need. You may want to keep a bigger cash reserve for working capital. This, however, is a wrong strategy. Remember that as the loan amount increases your instalments to repay it will also be bigger. It is advisable to use a business loan EMI calculator to know the sum that you can repay and apply for the correct amount of funds that will fulfil your need.
  2. Check your eligibility—Borrowers are often asked to pledge some financial asset as security,  to be eligible for most of the conventional loans. However, FinTechs offer unsecured loans and check the creditworthiness of borrowers on the basis of years in operation, revenue earnings, past loan history if any and compliance of the business with tax laws. You can check your eligibility criteria relating to specific loans by referring to the lender’s website or speaking to their customer service team.
  3. Compare loan costs on all parameters—Do not be instantly allured to loans that advertise low interest rates. Such an SME loan may also have a loan processing fee of 3% or more, and multiple hidden charges such as a legal fee, documentation fee, insurance premium and other statutory payments. On the other hand FinTech loans that have a slightly high interest rate come with just a processing fee of up to 2% and no hidden fees.
  4. Collate the required documents—To verify the information filled in a loan application you will need to have your KYC documents, copies of the latest tax returns, bank statements and few other papers as per the nature of the loan sought. The benefit of going for a FinTech loan here is that you only need to upload soft copies of such documents as the loan application is made digitally.
  5. Apply for the loan—Once you have understood your requirements, eligibility, cost of the loan and have collected the required papers, the last step is to apply for the funds. When you make a digital application, ensure that the lender has a secure website that will encrypt all your personal and business details.

Apply for Unsecured school loan

At Capital Float every business loan application is reviewed within minutes of its submission, and if approved, the fund is disbursed in the next 2-3 business days. At the end of these 5 steps to find the best business loan type for your business requirement, you can be rest assured that you have the right amount that you wish to add to your working capital and the right loan type from the collection of credit products at Capital Float that is customised for your needs.

Oct 24, 2018

Card image cap
Working Capital Financing: Why It Is Essential For The Success Of a Business

India is on the path of robust economic growth. According to official figures, the economy was valued at $2.2 trillion in 2016, making it the world’s seventh largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. The Indian economy is expected to reach the $5 trillion mark by 2025, according to a report published by Morgan Stanley in February 2017. India seems to have all the right ingredients in place to achieve this phenomenal growth; the country’s millennial population is massive, there’s availability of cheap labor, the government’s policies are favorable, Indians have exhibited high adoption of the latest technological advancements and the SME segment is growing at a fairly healthy rate.

The SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) sector is critical to the development of the Indian economy. It contributed 40% of the nation’s exports and 45% of total manufacturing output in 2015. The segment’s contribution to India’s GDP is expected to grow from 17% recorded in 2010-2011 to 22% by 2020.

Despite these facts, the SME sector has witnessed some challenges with regards to financing. The need for cash to manage daily operations and the inability to access commercial finance have hindered the development of SMEs.

Why is Working Capital So Critical for Any Business?

All businesses need some funds to run their daily, weekly and monthly operations. Working capital is, therefore, essential for the smooth working of a business. The main reasons for working capital being so important are:

Enhances Solvency: Working capital aids a business to operate smoothly and meet all its short-term expenses, including purchasing raw materials, payment of salaries and meeting overhead expenses. Some of these payments cannot be delayed. Having sufficient liquidity helps the uninterrupted flow of production; thus, maintaining the solvency of a business.

Increased Goodwill: When a business is able to promptly meet its regular expenses and pay salaries on time, it generates goodwill, not just internally with employees but also with suppliers and distributors.

Uninterrupted Supply of Raw Materials: Quick payments ensure regular supply of raw materials. Suppliers of raw materials are usually apprehensive about small businesses being able to make the payments and do not offer a suitable credit period. The inability to pay suppliers can result in production coming to a standstill.

Improved Ability to Face Any Crisis: Apart from the smooth functioning of business operations, working capital ensures that any financial emergency can be handled with ease. Sometimes businesses face an unforeseen event, like an order being rejected, unfavorable weather conditions or the unavailability of a particular resource. A business that has sufficient liquidity can cushion itself against such situations. Thus, the financing of working capital defines the financial health of a business and how smoothly it can operate under different circumstances.

Why is Working Capital Finance So Difficult to Get for SMEs?

The most critical challenge that even profitable SMEs face is the lack of working capital, given their inability to access commercial finance. Public sector banks are burdened by bad debt loans to offer any support to these companies. Traditional banking institutions are apprehensive about offering commercial finance to SMEs and place stringent eligibility criteria for approval. Most of their loans require collateral to be furnished even for financing of working capital.

The greatest problem is that the loan application and approval process of traditional banking institutions is so tedious and prolonged, that SMEs find it excruciatingly painful to access these options. They may have to wait months only to have their loan application rejected. SMEs, therefore, look for alternate sources for financing of working capital and turn towards unorganized moneylenders who charge exorbitant interest rates.

Working Capital Financing Needs Met By Technology

SMEs need financing of working capital. They need swift and easy availability of commercial finance, without the need for extensive paperwork and collateral. The solution finally arrived in the form of FinTech lenders like Capital Float.

The FinTech segment has revolutionized the financing of working capital for SMEs by using cutting-edge technology in the loan application, underwriting and approval processes. This enables the disbursement of funds to SMEs within a matter of days.

Types of Working Capital Financing

There are a number of flexible, short-term and collateral-free loans offered that can be used to service new orders, purchase inventory and maintain cash cycles. These include:

Term Finance: This is ideal for SMEs particularly in the manufacturing and distribution space that need funds to meet operational needs or to expand and diversify the business.

Online Seller Finance: This is best suited for businesses that sell their products on leading online marketplaces. Capital Float has partnered with India’s largest marketplaces, like Amazon, PayTM, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shopclues and eBay to offer eCommerce sellers customized working capital finance.

Pay Later Finance: This product offers a credit facility and suits SMEs that have to regularly replenish their inventory. This revolving credit facility enables a borrower to make timely supplier payments from a predetermined credit amount. This amount can be reset upon repayment and is made available for further use.

Merchant Cash Advance: This credit solution is for businesses that receive payments via credit / debit cards via PoS (point of sale) machines. Capital Float has partnerships with multiple PoS machine vendors such as Pine Labs, Mswipe, ICICI Merchant Services, MRL Posnet and Bijlipay, expanding its reach to merchants across the country.

Supply Chain Finance: This commercial finance product allows businesses to use their invoices or accounts receivables as the basis to gain access to liquid funds.

SMEs are of strategic importance to the Indian economy and deserve a business climate in which they can thrive and grow. The financing of working capital made available by FinTech lenders will help the SME segment to move forward and contribute significantly to the growth of the Indian economy.

Oct 24, 2018

Card image cap
Impact of GST on Working Capital for Businesses

The Goods and Services Tax or GST is ready for a rollout on July 1, 2017. Various rules, procedures and action items have already been outlined for the transition to the new, unified system of indirect taxation. Businesses and taxpayers alike are expected to embrace these changes and get ready for the new normal—the era of standardized taxation. GST is expected to impact businesses significantly, especially those with cross-location presence, with operations across states. Both large and established goods and service providers, as well as SMEs, will be significantly impacted, both in terms of financial and operational sustainability.

What is GST?

GST will enable standardization of the indirect taxation under four slabs—5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. The change in tax rules will have a direct impact on cash flows and working capital loans for businesses. From the line of credit to taxation levels and timelines, businesses will have to reassess and realign themselves. On the one hand, local and Central taxes such as VAT, Service Tax, Excise Tax and others will be subsumed; on the other hand, tax slabs may increase; for example, from 15% under Service Charge to 18% under the third GST slab. As a result, immediate available working capital finance levels will change.

GST and working capital

Working capital is a key factor in the health of a business. Businesses should focus on periodically assessing their working capital needs. The impending GST rollout makes this even more imperative. This is because the tax bucket your business falls under will change depending on various factors such as the nature of business, locational spread and more. Not just this, the rules and timelines for availing a line of credit will also be revamped under the new GST regime. This means that cash flow will be impacted, and you may need to look for new sources of working capital finance. After all, sustaining day-to-day business operations is essential to growing your business, especially if you are an SME with low financial reserves. Working capital is, in a way, a reflection of the financial health of your company.

Here are some of the key changes GST is expected to usher in:

  1. Input tax credits will open up: According to the current tax system, input tax credit is available only on inputs that are related to taxable output. For expenses that are not related to taxable sales, input credit cannot be availed. However, under GST, a feature called the “Furtherance of Business” has been introduced. Under this, credit is allowed for any kind of business input, irrespective of whether it is directly used for “taxable sales”. This is a positive development and increases the scope for business to avail an additional line of credit. As a result, the immediate cash requirements will reduce, and working capital flow will get better. Businesses must closely study the GST clauses to understand how to benefit from input credit across newly added areas.
  2. Timeline of tax payment: Under the new GST rules, the tax is levied when the stock is transferred. As a result, businesses will not be able to claim tax credits till the time of sale, which may result in a huge time lag. Working capital levels might experience a drop during this time. Evaluating working capital finance specialists such as Capital Float is recommended, to ensure that business operations remain unaffected.
  3. Moving goods will be easier: Under the current tax regime, a lot of time and effort is spent by companies who have multiple presence across states (warehouses, offices, factories etc.)—they need to adhere to multiple laws such as octroi, CST and so on while moving goods across state borders. This complexity adds to the cost of doing business across states. With GST, this movement of goods across the country will be simplified and more cost-friendly.
  4. Imports will be costlier: If your company is in the business of procuring raw materials from outside, you may experience escalated costs soon. The current import duty rate of 14% will be replaced by a standard GST rate of 18%, making imports expensive.
  5. Reprimands for suppliers’ non-compliance: The input tax credit levels will depend on whether your suppliers comply with taxation and financial norms. This will make it imperative for your suppliers to declare their outward supplies along with their tax payment.  You will also be held accountable if your supplier fails to furnish valid returns. This is an unfavourable practice for your business since in the event of their non-compliance, your input credit tax claims can be reversed and you may have to pay interest. It is, therefore, important that you assess your vendor base from a compliance perspective to avoid impacting your working capital

These are some of the direct ways GST will impact the working capital of your business. Should you need to augment your working capital to ensure a healthy cash flow under GST, you can turn to new age fintech lenders like Capital Float who are creating innovative and customised financial products. Our term finance offering, for example, is tailored to ease your working capital crunch with features such as zero collateral requirements, 3-day loan disbursal and customized credit criteria. Click here for more GST Blogs.

Oct 24, 2018