Embracing the disruptive power of the cloud
One has to only look at statistics from independent analyst firms for cloud computing in India to understand its potential and impact.
Gartner expects the public cloud services market in India to grow 30 percent to total $550 million in 2014. A Forrester India study reveals that 79 percent of organizations currently have a cloud-related initiative in place, or are planning to implement it in the next 12 months.
Clearly, India is in the midst of a cloud revolution. While the first phase of internal cloud adoption was predictably led by large enterprises, mainly IT service providers like Infosys and Wipro that deployed private clouds to provision virtual machines, the current phase is one of innovative business models powered by cloud. Large manufacturing companies like Mahindra & Mahindra and Hero MotoCorp are using cloud-based dealer management systems to scale up their dealer network.
As the cloud slashes huge upfront costs in IT capex, it is spurring many technology startups to invent innovative solutions. Consider a sector like agriculture, whose contribution to India’s GDP is estimated to be close to 14 percent. Even if a small percent of agricultural produce is improved, the cumulative effect on India’s GDP will be huge. This is what an Indian startup CropIn Technology is attempting to do with its vision of digitizing agriculture by using cloud technologies to improve farm yield. The startup aims at making every crop traceable so that harvested crops meet global quality standards and thus become export worthy. By using the cloud, CropIn estimates the farm productivity and acreage to increase by at least 10 percent.
Classle is using cloud to transform the way education is delivered in rural India; Magnasoft Northstar has integrated child and school bus tracking and monitoring solution on the cloud; AaramShop has given an online presence to over 2,800 kirana stores; and Piramal Water is using solar-powered cloud-connected Water ATMs to deliver safe drinking water in villages.
While there is no doubt about the potential of the cloud’s role in fueling innovation, the Indian government also needs to invest in creating the requisite infrastructure. A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group highlights that nearly 90 percent of SMEs have no access to the Internet. The same report says that if SMEs adopt the right technologies, there is a potential for SME revenue to grow by $56 billion and create 1.1 million new jobs.
If the Indian government succeeds in creating the right infrastructure, it is only a matter of time before the cloud’s trickle turns into a flood of opportunities.