Can you give us a brief overview of IBM’s cloud strategy in India?
IBM sees India as a key growth market. Today, a workplace can go anywhere as a smartphone. It is almost a virtual desktop operating in unification with a virtual server. If the user can be anywhere, so can the source of data and applications. Cloud adds in the flexibility to scale the infrastructure capacity up or down at will, while making this all affordable with pay-as-you-go service. It cuts down the energy consumption and real estate footprint by the hardware.
Since cloud touches all scopes of the enterprise, from business strategy and operating models, to technology integration and organizational transformation, it requires a solid business design and implementation roadmap. Our cloud strategy from ‘Think IT’ (i.e. strategizing how to use cloud to drive revenue) and our managed service offerings are aligned to meet the needs across customer segments based on their requirements. More importantly, we are also dedicated to the success of the small and medium enterprises (SME) and have a clear strategy to help them drive both growth and innovation in today’s economy. IBM recognizes the needs of the SME market and understands the need to provide them with cost-effective, yet advanced technologies to help them compete.
Cloud is seen not just as an IT phenomenon, but a transformative growth engine for businesses. IBM’s consistent focus is on delivering high value capabilities to businesses and in the process, continuously transforming itself to help drive innovation. The new cloud investments IBM is making will provide business clients the ability to place and control their data globally.
From your overall cloud portfolio, which solutions/products or services (such as cloud-based DR) have done well in the Indian market?
IBM’s managed infrastructure services have proved to be industry-leading with transformational stories among several Indian clients. The IaaS offerings provide clients the capability to monitor and manage assets using an optimized, cloud delivered service in the most cost-efficient way. Managed infrastructure service enables clients with the power of “integrated approach to services management” — within the data center, across IT, and beyond. Globalization of rapidly growing Indian enterprises calls for advanced levels of standardization. Managed Infrastructure Services provide this through undertaking transformation initiatives across client organizations. MIS abstracts details of infrastructure leading to simplified and predictable service deliverables.
Cloud-based disaster recovery services have changed the way enterprises invest in DR Solutions. Aware of the complexities, costs and shortfalls of traditional recovery methods, many organizations are looking to replace or enhance their existing recovery operations with cloud-based recovery services.
Our virtualized server recovery service helps speed server recovery time and increases reliability of the recovery by leveraging world-class automation and cloud tools. It minimizes the risk of failure due to the installation of disparate hardware and provides remote server access tools to help reduce cost and time, as well as the inconvenience of travelling to the recovery site. The enterprise-grade cloud can help clients even in the most mission-critical situations such as disaster recovery gain more efficiency in their business. Our overall managed infrastructure services make it a key differentiator.
From a global point of view, how is India positioned as a market for cloud-based services? What in your view are some of your firm’s major achievements with respect to cloud in India?
We are betting on cloud computing in a big way and India is a key growth market. Research firm, Zinnov, says that with over 50 million units, India has the largest number of SMBs across the world. In such a high growth potential and competitive market, we are putting together a deep portfolio of products and expertize to become transformative growth engine for businesses.
While we are finding pull in our traditional offerings, we are also innovating by partnering with local partners to create customized solutions. For example, understanding how new regulations and corporatization are impacting co-operative banks. Unlike private or public sector banks, co-operative banks do not have the requisite capital to invest in IT, which makes them appropriate for cloud-based solutions. In this model, banks do not need a branch server and branch processes can be accessed at a central remote location, which significantly reduces the investment cost of setting up branch infrastructure and its maintenance. India has more than 1,500 co-operative banks, and a majority of them do not have the required IT infrastructure to offer basic features such as net banking offered by the large banks. By combining complementary strengths, we are making inroads into a new territory and have succeeded in creating a new market.
IBM also sees huge opportunities for its virtual desktops solution in sectors such as education and IT/ITeS. From an ROI perspective, IaaS is one of the most popular services for us in India, as it allows SMBs to quickly scale up their infrastructure in line with their business needs.
We are also firming up our SaaS play for collaboration and e-mail. Our biggest ace is Lotus Live, as there is a growing demand from SMBs for cloud-based collaboration solutions. In a fast evolving market such as India, our ability to provide tailored solutions accompanied by a wide-ranging portfolio will help us gain the grip, as perhaps no other player has a similar depth and breadth of offerings.
For the Nawanagar Co-op Bank, we are providing shared infrastructure services to host a core banking application from Infrasoft with remote managed services at our data centers. The Jeppiaar Institute of Technology is using our virtual desktop solution, which lets students access computers from any lab or workstation across the campus — be it the hostel or their home. EmployWise, the HR Software-as-a-Service provider, is leveraging the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering to deliver its services on a cloud computing infrastructure. WinHire Technologies is using IBM’s IaaS cloud solution to put together a scalable infrastructure with a cost benefit of 1:80, avoiding upfront capital expenditure. Similarly, Shriram Transport is using IBM Lotus Notes for its corporate employees and LotusLive iNotes for transport finance branch and the field sales force.