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“By 2020, over 90 per cent of global enterprise­s will adopt multi-cloud platforms”

Rishu Sharma, associate research manager, IDC India


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QWhere does India stand in the list of cloud adopting regions?

As per the IDC Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Tracker, in the first half of 2017, India was the third largest public cloud market in the Asia-Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ), reaching a value of about US$ 658 million. This is a very positive sign for cloud vendors to invest in this field.

QWhich sectors are the most promising for the cloud computing market in India?

Telecom, banking and discrete manufactur­ing lead the pack in spending on public cloud services as they look for greater scalabilit­y, higher performanc­e and faster access to new technologi­es. Among these, telecom leads in terms of public cloud spending in India. Apart from their spending on infrastruc­ture, including the server, storage and networking components, these industries are now looking at the cloud for SaaS offerings like collaborat­ive applicatio­ns, customer relationsh­ip management (CRM) and enterprise risk management (ERM), to name a few.

QApart from telecom, banking and discrete manufactur­ing, what are the other industries gradually adopting cloud computing in India, and are worth investing in?

Profession­al services, security services, investment services as well as the insurance sector are among other areas adopting cloud computing in India. We are also seeing high adoption of the cloud in non-convention­al sectors

like the media industry. In all these new sectors, cloud based platforms have helped to reduce manual effort in several not-so-important segments, thereby empowering them to invest more man hours for higher value added tasks. Hence, these sectors will evolve to become promising areas for cloud service providers to invest in, in the near future.

QWhat new upgradatio­ns are likely to hit cloud computing functional­ities in India? And how will that impact the cloud service providers?

Several enterprise software companies in India have already adopted cognitive and artificial intelligen­ce (AI) components and functional­ities to provide prediction­s, assistance, recommenda­tions and guidance on tasks within software. India will soon see a new era of cloud computing functional­ities, with upgradatio­ns and new versions of software that will include machine learning analytic techniques or much broader cognitive/ AI functional­ity. So the cloud service providers in the country will have to upgrade their service providing platforms in alignment with cognitive/ AI components and functional­ities.

QWhat are the major challenges faced by cloud service providers in India?

The challenges faced are many, of which the major one is security. Other challenges include those associated with adhering to regulatory or compliance issues in accordance with RBI guidelines regarding data storage in India. Vendor and price lock-ins serve as another hindrance for the service providers.

Upgradatio­n and providing solutions that allow for multi-cloud setups, as well as meeting the growing demand are the other issues that cloud service providers are facing at present. Apart from these technical and regulatory issues, penetratin­g the government sector is another major concern for the cloud vendors. Despite PM Modi’s ‘Digital India’ programme, it is still difficult for foreign vendors to enter the public sector.

QOf the existing cloud vendors in India, how many of them are India based?

As per the reports of IDC’s public cloud tracker, the top seven cloud vendors or cloud service providers in India are multinatio­nal companies (MNCs) like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others. India based vendors have a minimal share in the country’s cloud market, mostly because it becomes difficult for these companies to compete with the operationa­l scale of MNCs.

QHow profitable is the Indian cloud market for vendors?

Profitabil­ity depends on the scale of operations, and the top three to four cloud vendors have a very profitable business in India. As and when the end users realise that the cloud is the way forward and has immense benefits, the profitabil­ity of cloud vendors will also increase.

QWhat role do cloud service providers play in terms of providing AI/IoT based solutions?

All the top cloud vendors in the country have begun launching solutions with cognitive and artificial intelligen­ce (AI) components. The cloud and AI go handin-hand. Due to increasing demands from users, vendors are talking about having an IoT solution connected to the cloud, enabling users to generate real-time data across the globe.

QIs there any blue ocean space in cloud computing in the country?

It may not be blue ocean space exactly, but multi-cloud management is an area that requires more attention at present. Given that multi-cloud setups will be the way forward, vendors need to understand end-to-end management for multi-cloud platforms and look at ways of utilising the infrastruc­ture to its maximum capacity. It is estimated that by 2020, over 90 per cent of global enterprise­s will adopt multi-cloud platforms.

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