LinkedIn, makes one of its first big post-Microsoft acquisition announcement for India. The company has announced three strategic initiatives that aim at students, professionals and companies. To put things into perspective, LinkedIn has 37 million members in India, that is now being considered as the growth field by many companies. The three initiatives are LinkedIn Lite, LinkedIn Placements and LinkedIn Starter Pack.
The three ‘strategic steps’ bring easy access with lite version, ensuring students across the country get on the platform, and finally going the enterprise way to offer a structured format to otherwise unorganised startups and SMBs. Let’s take a look at them one by one, and see how they fit into Microsoft’s plans for LinkedIn.
India is a mobile-first country, but mobile experience is marred with network-related hurdles. And, that’s why we’ve been seeing an increase in companies opting for a simultaneous lite version. For instance, Facebook and Flipkart both have lite versions of their respective apps.
And, now Microsoft has ensured that network related issues won’t cause a hindrance for its users, who largely access LinkedIn via mobile. The solution: LinkedIn Lite. A lite version is usually a stripped down version of the mobile app that utilises lesser system resources and has smaller installation size. In lite version, app memory and cellular data usage are usually a fraction of what the original app uses. This means quicker load times, and quicker access even over 2G, considering a lot of people are still on slower networks in India. Microsoft claims that the Lite version of LinkedIn will offer 4X load times irrespective of the mobile network or the device. This move is only going to increase the reach and accessibility by people, who would otherwise avoid such heavy apps. Fast seamless experience, faster load times and data efficiency will ensure that the app is accessible by all.
While that’s about accessibility, it also ensures there are enough reasons for people to get onto the platform. LinkedIn is associated with networking for professionals, but Microsoft now wants to reach out to students and turn it into a placement platform in India. LinkedIn’s Placements feature was launched as a pilot back in November 2015. The product is now opened to students at colleges and universities in India. So, basically students can log into the site and take an online assessment test that will directly give them access to the thousands of openings in 35 corporates in India. For the assessment tests, the company has partnered with Aspiring Minds, CoCubes, HackerRank and Wheebox. The Placements feature can be accessed here.
This move is to provide a level playing field, bringing opportunities to students, whether they live in a village or a city. Microsoft believes that LinkedIn Placements is a game-changer for them, providing them with a unique platform to get country’s best jobs. However, this also means Microsoft will be able to reach out to people at the rudimentary level. Get students, teachers across in cities, towns and villages get accustomed to LinkedIn, which can very well become the placement platform for these students in future. Remember years ago, campus placements weren’t very big. But with this move, Microsoft LinkedIn could become a source of placements for students, and directly connect with students, and nor juts a place for professionals.
Finally, the third initiative is aimed at startups and small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). India has a booming startup space, and there are several SMBs. These, usually unorganized small companies, will be offered a single package of premium hiring, marketing and learning solutions with the Starter Pack. The company calls it ‘LinkedIn a box’. This package is now available here. There’s a pilot phase right now, wherein the package will be provided to 100 promising SMBs and startups, on a first-come, first-serve basis.
LinkedIn doesn’t really have any competition is this space, and such initiates will only help bolster the growth. Microsoft had acquired LinkedIn for a jaw dropping $26.2 billion, and after the Nokia debacle, it was calculated risk Microsoft had to take. Though the company many not have much competition in this space, in tech industry it is only wise to keep evolving. We’ve seen Facebook evolve with time, while then there’s the Yahoo story on the other side of the fence. And, with this move, Microsoft has begun addressing some problems at the grassroot level.