IT companies have identified a new growth opportunity- non-metro India. According to a report by IT marketing and consulting firm Channel Technologies, marketing spends in tier-II and tier-III cities by infotech companies have risen 100 per cent over the last two years.

There is a vast untapped reservoir of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the non-metro cities on the look out for cost effective IT solutions, which can be implemented quickly. Marketers are exploring the vase untapped potential in these towns and cities for IT hardware, software, security, storage, networking, messaging, centralized applications, and spam control by organizing or taking part in events like exhibitions and presentations, road shows, seminars and interactive meetings.

Early this year, as part of its Vision 2010 plan, SAP India announced plans of tapping the enormous potential in the SME ERP market in India. SAP India’s objective is to increase its Indian customer base to 15,000 by 2010, 80 per cent of which will come from the SME segment.

To extend its SME reach across India, Cisco has recently identified 16 tier-II and tier-III cities, “Cisco’s growing focus is on SMEs, which form the fastest growing market segment in India. Our commercial vertical in India, comprising SMEs and mid-market companies, is growing at over 50 per cent year on year,” says Pramodh Menon, Senior Vice President, Commercial, Cisco India & SAARC.

For IBM India also, the SMB (small and medium business) Division is its fastest growing unit and contributes nearly 20 per cent of the company’s total revenue worldwide. “A majority of the estimated 7.5 million SMEs operate out of tier-II and tier-III markets in India nad this is an opportunity no vendors can ignore,” says Ramesh Narasimhan, Director, GSMB (Global Small & Medium Business), IBM India and South Asia.