Microsoft aims to fuel innovation and accelerate India’s digital transformation with Azure Stack, which brings the agility of cloud computing to on-premises environments.
Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, one of Microsoft's founding visions was, “A personal computer (PC) on every desk and in every home".
The world has gone through many technological revolutions since then. Addressing a gathering of media and analysts at Microsoft Campus in Hyderabad, Telengana, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, elaborated how in 1995 just owning a personal computer meant digital progress. Then it graduated to client/server architecture followed by a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Now, we seem to be in the age of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.
Given the constant paradigm shifts, Microsoft's vision statement now reads, “Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more."
Anant joked that while it may be strange for a technology company to not have the word “technology" in their vision statement, it is the right way forward.
The India story and Azure Stack
Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Now, in 2017, Microsoft's entities in India now have over 8,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities .
Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centres to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organisations. The company has three of its 42 global data centres located in India at Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. In 2016, Microsoft opened one of its eight Cybersecurity Engagement centers in the country, to address the security needs of the public and private sectors.
Microsoft today said that 70 of the top 100 Bombay Stock Exchange listed companies are now using Microsoft cloud services. In 2016, AWS had noted that 89 percent of the top 100 Indian startups use AWS.
Microsoft works with over 200,000 large, medium and small enterprises, 29 State Governments and over 5,000 startups in India. In the last 18 months, the company noted that it had seen many of these customers start their digital transformation using the hybrid cloud. Microsoft claims to be the only provider of all three clouds – private, public and hybrid. It also announced on Wednesday that it had launched Azure Stack for India.
Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments and enables entirely new hybrid cloud scenarios. Microsoft noted that all major Azure Stack partners - HP, Dell, EMC, Lenovo and Cisco - have started shipping Azure Stack to customers in India. A large Azure Stack-ready partner ecosystem has been created with partners such as Netmagic, Embee and G7CR.
Microsoft cloud adoption across sectors
Financial Services and Information Technology (IT/ITeS) have emerged as the top Microsoft cloud adopters followed by the Manufacturing industry and startups in the last year. Microsoft also noted that it had witnessed significant uptake of its cloud in the education sector in the country.
In the financial services sector, 10 of the 12 largest banks in India use Microsoft Cloud solutions (State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank and others). BankChain, a blockchain consortium of 30 banks, runs exclusively on the Microsoft Azure blockchain platform.
Microsoft noted that the consortium is creating applications on top of Azure for near real-time cross-border remittance at near zero cost, real-time peer-to-peer transfer systems with automated reconciliation, end-to-end loan syndication process management, vendor onboarding, NDA processing, vendor rating and much more.
In the IT/ITeS sector, the top five Indian companies are using a diverse portfolio of Microsoft Cloud solutions and advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, IoT, Cognitive Solutions, Big Data & Analytics, Power BI and other services on Azure to not only transform their own organisations but to also create cutting-edge solutions for their customers.
In the auto manufacturing sector, the market leaders (Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp and others) in all four sub-segments (passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, three-wheelers and two-wheelers) are on Microsoft Cloud. With India is poised to become the third largest car market across the world by 2020, Microsoft continues to partner with auto companies to support the projected four-fold growth in the automotive industry.
Microsoft also noted that it continues to add more than 100 startups every month to its BizSpark program. The company currently supports 5,000 startups yearly through multiple programmes including Microsoft Accelerator. In 2017, Flipkart, Ola Cabs and Prime Focus started to use Microsoft Cloud.
In the education sector, Microsoft’s Cloud offerings are built on the foundation of the National Knowledge Network Grid(NKN) and sed by several technical institutes, including Narsee Monjee Institute (Mumbai), FIITJEE (Chennai) and Deccan Education(Pune), among others.
Microsoft’s 9,000-strong cloud partner ecosystem
The partner ecosystem is critical in driving digital transformation through the cloud in India. For more than 40 years, Microsoft has been a partner-led company, which reflects the fact that it generates more than 95 percent of its business through the robust and constantly evolving partner ecosystem. Microsoft India estimates that it currently has more than 9,000 cloud partners. Globally, Microsoft has 64,000 partners, which it claims is more than any other cloud service provider.
To help partners innovate more, go to market faster and connect with the right customers at the right time, Microsoft transformed its partner team in July 2017. The new partner organisation is driving partner profitability (for every dollar of Microsoft revenue, partners make nine dollars), and innovation using Microsoft’s AI, machine learning, cognitive and IoT services.
Anant noted that Microsoft is fueling innovation and accelerating India’s digital transformation with their global and local cloud services. As many mobile-only and cloud-only collaboration and productivity scenarios emerge in the workplace, Microsoft is looking to work with their customers and partners to accelerate movement to the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge in the next year. He said,
“As the pace of digital transformation picks up in 2018, we recognise that many customers prefer to evolve gradually by first moving to a hybrid cloud environment before fully embracing the public cloud. With Azure Stack, we will help our customers move forward in their preferred digital transformation path at a pace they prefer.”
(Disclaimer- The author travelled to Microsoft's Hyderabad campus on a trip hosted by Microsoft)