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Cloud computing in India: adoption, benefits, and challenges

The CEOs of 275 SMBs across 11 Indian cities participating in a survey by Microsoft and the Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) admit that adoption of cloud technologies has given them a better access to market and increased their profitability by three times.

18th Jul 2018
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Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said, “The CEOs of these companies have seen the positive value and high impact of cloud technologies in transforming their businesses. The findings of this study reiterate the power of digital transformation.”

With its gross domestic product (GDP) amounting to $2.597 trillion at the end of 2017, India has become the sixth largest economy in the world, according to the World Bank Report 2017. India surpassed France ($2.582 trillion) and ranks as the fourth fastest-growing economy. Citing increasing exports and government spending, the World Economic Forum estimates the economy to maintain a growth rate of 7.2% in the coming years.

Every business wants to take the advantage of the booming economy. However, it’s easier said than done. Entrepreneurs need to re-design their modus-operandi and processes to enhance their efficiency, reduce business overheads, drive customer acquisition, deliver impeccable customer experience (CX) and return on investment. Luckily, the cloud engineering and solutions have got the fuel and remedy they need to stay and thrive in the market.

Adoption of cloud in India

The cloud computing market in India is growing tremendously. It increased from 1.3 billion dollars in 2016 to reach 1.8 billion dollars in 2017 – a 38% year-on-year growth. If Gartner has its way, the worth of the cloud services market will hit 4.1 billion dollars by 2020. 

India Public Cloud Services Forecast (Millions of US Dollars)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is leading the market growth and is closely followed by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Management

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is leading the market growth and is closely followed by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud Management

Benefits: why should I move my business to cloud?

Well, you are not alone to have the question. Certainly, there should be the rationale behind the investment and ROI must be assessed in advance.

Microsoft and TARI, as discussed on the top, based on the opinions of CEOs summarize below as the key benefits of adopting cloud:

1. Productivity and profitability improvement

2. Enhanced customer engagement

3. Increased competitiveness through better market access

4. More secure business

5. Increasingly efficient operations

6. Personal and societal development

Clearly, these advantages impact the bottom-line of any business. With IT becoming the backbone, and market becoming competitive than ever, it’s high time that you should embrace the paradigm shift in the Information Technology and have an edge on the rising competition.

Salient attributes of cloud technologies

Here is a simple analogy. Consider your daily commuting needs to your workplace. There are two choices: public transport system like Metro Rail; and a personal car.

Compare the difference: in the first option, there is no massive upfront investment, while in the second there is (depending upon the car model you choose). The adoption of the latter ensues a series of other requirements or investments – driving license, insurance policy, road tax, and adhering to the compliances (transport rules) and then not to forget the routine maintenance. On the contrary, there are no such requirements or additional expenses with the former one.

In addition, in the second case, you have to make an investment, irrespective of how much you travel, while in the first case, you buy the token (or pay the fare from your smart card) based on the distance traveled. Driving on the road is full of challenges (like traffic jams) and risks. On the other hand, metro commuting helps you avoid all these and, on the top of it, it comes with a world-class facility.

Similar differences exist between owning your own IT infrastructure or data center and renting it from some reliable vendor. Here are some key driving factors behind the cloud (renting the infrastructure).

1. Minimal or no upfront IT investment

Use your capital judiciously on key business processes to maximize return on investment (ROI) rather than investing on setting up your IT infrastructure that demands to purchase servers, software licenses (recurring), network devices, and security solutions and so on. Above all, you need a skilled IT team to get started and later manage it.

2. Performance and agility

Thanks to the improved AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning, the innate capabilities of a cloud system like processing, storage, bandwidth, and security can adjust automatically with your fluctuating business demands quickly. A successful cloud adoption frees you from the clutches of frequent monitoring of resources, thereby, enabling you to focus better on your core business – manufacturing, sales, customer service, or whatever you do.

3. Pay for what you need and what you use

When you rent, you pay for what you need and what you use. In this way, the cloud helps you reduce your business overheads. The elasticity to customize the IT services and resources helps you meet your current and emerging business needs easily and without incurring any big investment.

4. Device and location independence

Cloud makes it easier for your dispersed workforce to connect, collaborate and deliver. Moreover, they are free to use the device (desktop, smartphone, tablet, etc.) they are comfortable with and switching of devices doesn’t impact their performance. The same holds true for your customers. They can have the same digital experience with your digital properties including web or app across all devices.

5. Transparency

Cloud comes with flexibility - you can upgrade or downgrade your plan as and when required. You can monitor, control and report the usage of cloud services, which helps you maintain a sound relationship with your cloud services provider.

Challenges: cloud adoption or migration

The adoption and migration come with a string of challenges as highlighted below.

1. Choosing the right vendor, service, and model

India has become the hottest destination for cloud service providers. From the global IT czars like Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft to the relatively newer and emerging indigenous ones like E2E Networks, there are many to choose from.

There are choices based on functionalities from BPaaS and SaaS to IaaS, cloud management and security services and cloud advertising. And, the service models differ too, namely, public, private and hybrid. So what does your business need? What would be the ideal cloud solutions for your people?

2. Connecting legacy systems with cloud applications

It’s important you connect your legacy systems with the newer cloud-based applications successfully. You have to retain their capabilities as well as the massive data contained in them to move forward in a hassle-free manner.

3. Maintaining the security architecture

The level and type of security required vary from one business to another. For staying compliant to the regulatory norms, responding to security threats effectively and instantly, and minimizing risks associated with your business, you need to maintain the right cloud security architecture. To understand and compare the security designs, capabilities and data integrity and confidentiality practices of cloud services provider in India, refer to third-party reports, such as SOC 2. 

Here comes the role of your cloud consultant and architects. 

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