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Last updated: 04 Feb, 2020  

Sam.Thmb.jpg Indian SMEs are jumping on digital bandwagon: Flock CRO

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SME Times News Bureau

Indian SMEs are gradually understanding the importance of adopting digital technologies and are jumping on the digital bandwagon, said Sam Mallikarjunan, CRO, Flock, in an exclusive email interview with SME Times.

Excerpts of the interview…

Please tell our readers about Flock and its entrepreneurial journey

Sam Mallikarjunan: Flock was founded in 2014 by serial tech entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia. It is a communication and collaboration platform for modern and agile teams. The platform offers a rich and intuitive messenger, mail, calendar, contacts and video as well as modules to help teams manage their people and processes better and automate workflows. Flock’s powerful platform allows users to integrate frequently used external apps and even build custom apps, bots, and integrations. Flock is supported across all platforms, including Desktop (Windows and Mac), Mobile (iOS and Android), and the Web.

What are the services/products do you offer?

Sam Mallikarjunan: Flock enables organizations to streamline communication and centralized access to a variety of tools and services used in the workplace. The platform provides a secure place for teams to get work done and brings people together, regardless of their location. The company started off in the productivity software space for enterprises with two products - Messenger and Video Calling and added a new product last year which is business email & calendar.

To chat with groups of people within their teams, users can create two types of channels:

• Public channels, which are open to all, where users can easily discover and connect with likeminded people and join discussions that interest them

• Private channels, which can be joined by invite only, for more focused and closed conversations

• Users can also add channel attributes, including name, avatar, and purpose, to make it easy for users to identify what the channel is meant for

Flock offers modules to manage workflows and notifications, leading to significant efficiency gains for users. These modules include:

• Process Automation for automating any process within a company

• Mailing list for creating internal and external mailing lists

• Video conferencing to collaborate with up to 8 people, and share screens on the go

•Audio conferencing to connect with up to 10 participants for 90 minutes over the phone

• Shared To-dos App to manage team and individual tasks

Flock Email and Calendar for businesses support internal conversations with clutter-free app interfaces. While Flock email comes with features like conversation threads, desktop app, integrated video conferencing and anti-virus, Flock Calendar supports meeting reminders, shared calendars, multiple calendars and meeting scheduler. The company also rolled out dark mode for all desktop platforms. Users can now switch Flock to a sleeker, darker look that works across Windows, macOS, Linux, and the web app. Flock’s dark mode helps extend your device’s battery life if it has an OLED screen.

Some of our key features include:

1. Users can access the entire Google Drive from within Flock

2. Manage GitHub repos without switching tabs

3. Users can share all types of files and find them easily

Are they suitable for small and medium enterprises? If so, how?

Sam Mallikarjunan: All our product and service offerings have a keen focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Our messenger platform provides SMEs with a secure platform to connect with colleagues and gig workers and share files, documents and other information with them. The security feature of our platform ensures that confidential organizational data does not fall into the wrong hands and the privacy of this data is maintained.

Do you think Indian SMEs are laggards in terms of adopting technology?

Sam Mallikarjunan: To a certain extent, you could say so. However, gradually SMEs are understanding the importance of adopting digital technologies and are jumping on the digital bandwagon to simplify their processes and boost workplace productivity and efficiency. We are seeing this trend shaping up not only among SMEs but also among startups as well.

What is the importance of these technologies in these competitive world of business, particularly in view of increasing presence of global players?

Sam Mallikarjunan: As messaging becomes imperative in the business world, team messaging apps provide a unique solution for communicating in real-time and collaborating via a single platform. With changing work cultures across organizations, simple tasks such as direct and group messaging, file sharing and having the entire company’s directory at your fingertips to advanced features such as video conferencing, screen sharing, polls, task list with to-do’s and reminders, everything is available on the go. And yet, it’s just the tip of the iceberg as the usability of enterprise messaging apps is only limited by your imagination.

Team collaboration apps are designed for real time and fast team collaboration. These platforms are not only chat applications, but loaded with powerful features making them richer in functionality. From product, design, marketing to IT teams, messaging platforms bring multiple collaborative solutions to the table. These new tools of collaboration are drastically different from our good old official mode of communication - emails

What is your view on the role being played by Indian SMEs in socioeconomic scenario?

Sam Mallikarjunan: Our country is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The various catalysts that have driven this growth are robust socio-economic policies by the government, an influx in the domestic and foreign capital, escalation in disposable income among many others. Also, we cannot deny the fact that SMEs have been a great contributor to this growth. Be it IT, manufacturing or the service industry, SMEs have been cropping up across a plethora of sectors. According to reports, SMEs account for 45% of industrial output and 40% of the total exports in India. They generate employment for 60 million people and create 1.3 million jobs each year.

What are the future plans of Flock in India?

Sam Mallikarjunan: With the team collaboration market expected to clock a net worth of USD 49.51 billion by 2021, Flock is projected to grow by almost 200 per cent YoY. Over the last one year alone, Flock has seen its daily active users rise by 64 per cent, weekly active users grow by 58 per cent and weekly active teams increase by more than 28 per cent. Flock has today become the go-to app for all team collaboration and communication needs. Our current focus is on the SMB sector which has remained relatively under-served all these years. Today, SMBs offer a massive opportunity for workplace collaboration and communication companies such as Flock.

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