'Organisations in India are transitioning to a SaaS milieu'
"Apps run businesses," says Gaurav Agarwal, Senior Director for Enterprise and Government Sales for VMware India, referring to the importance of applications for business success.
Today, companies are using modern infrastructure, such as cloud, to support processes, and for applications to be agile, secure, scalable and responsive.
Legacy organisations are rushing to shift their applications—both, customer-facing and employee-facing —to the modern architecture. VMware seeks to help customers in this journey to deploy, and manage the applications on any cloud platform, as they move the workload from their private infrastructure.
It offers solutions such as virtual machines that provide the computing resources required, and reduces the load for businesses to run their applications in a fast and reliable way.
"We are trying to convert our company into a SaaS (software-as-a-service) and subscription company, because that's how organisations want to consume software going forward," Agarwal says.
SaaS solutions reduce businesses' need for a large capital expenditure. Otherwise, companies needed to make a big investment upfront, and pay maintenance every year.
Added to that is the time and resources a SaaS model saves.
“In the older days, first, you pick your hardware, provision hardware, get software, get people, get skills, do testing, then go to production,” Agarwal says. Today, “people are a lot more impatient for getting results.”
However, the pandemic required businesses in India to quickly shift to work from home (WFH) last year. They needed to have applications that did not need on-premise infrastructure.
When the government announced the nation-wide lockdown in March 2020, with less than four hours of notice before the order took effect, VMware worked with the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) to roll out its virtual workspace solution for essential employees. It extended the access to all staff in the next two weeks.
The solutions from VMware proved crucial. Otherwise, it would have meant a disruption to business operations. It helped the NSE shift to a hybrid cloud environment, moving the exchange's on-premise data centre workloads to an Amazon Web Services cloud and other cloud providers.
The NSE was ready to handle the extra volume of transactions during the pandemic.
Same was the case with Airtel. The telecom giant’s online workload on the prepaid provisioning system went up six times during the first wave of COVID-19 lockdown.
If an application needs six times the workload, the company would have to buy six times more compute resources among other things. That might have taken eight weeks time, before testing and production. "By then, there would have been so much business loss," Agarwal says.
Airtel used VMware’s cloud and automation solutions to modernise its legacy IT environment to create a software-defined data centre and network with automation capabilities.
“Technology needs to be reliable, scalable, secure, and be available to you and your employees and customers from anywhere and everywhere,” Agarwal says.
Agarwal says VMware is seeing “huge demand” for work-from-anywhere technology capability. “They add that in bits and pieces, but increase that capacity and size, because more and more people are going to work remotely,” he adds.
Even as lockdowns open up, a lot of businesses and enterprises are looking at remote work as a time- and cost-effective option.
“People are more and more comfortable with cloud and security embedded in SaaS. They wanted security to be addressed,” Agarwal says. “It is the reason SaaS has gotten popular. "
That is why it took time for regulated industries such as financial services to adopt cloud models, allowing both customers and employees to work from anywhere. Banking and securities industry’s average technology budget is the highest part—about 10 percent—of their revenue, according to a report from Deloitte.
Businesses can afford to not have a physical store today, but cannot afford to not have a digital store today, Agarwal notes. "Earlier, IT was an ancillary unit supporting the business, and now it is running the business,” he adds.
As technologies and applications get more enhanced, they get more complex. It is important that applications become intuitive and simple to use for the users even with the complexities. “Organisations will have to work on how they make business apps simple for consumers, while ensuring security,” he asserts.