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.

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