Indian firms see a silver lining in Cloud in pandemic-hit year (Ld)

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated Cloud adoption by several years in 2020 and Indian enterprises of all sizes fast-tracked their decisions to shun the legacy infrastructure and move their operations — in piecemeal or in full — to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-powered Cloud.

For Cloud players, the year offered a great opportunity to sell their scalable and secure Cloud-based solutions while keeping data within the territories of the country.

According to an IDC survey that came out in November, more than 60 per cent of the Indian organisations plan to leverage Cloud platforms for digital innovation, as the firms re-strategise their IT spending plans as a result of Covid-19.

Although most organisations in India have adopted Cloud at some stage, said the IDC, the current pandemic situation enabled them to spend more on public cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions, and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

According to Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India, several Indian businesses like Polycab, Religare Broking and Mphasis moved on to its second-generation cloud services in the country, amid the rising demand for secure, enterprise-grade Cloud services in the pandemic.

“Buoyed by rising Cloud demand and to aid better disaster recovery and regulatory compliance, we made our second local cloud region available to customers in India. Our cloud business is growing well and is on the right track in the country,” Kumar told IANS.

After spending several months in uncertainty around the pandemic-induced lockdowns, “there has been an uptick in business sentiment in India and a vast number of small and medium businesses (SMBs) and startups are now turning to the Oracle second generation cloud infrastructure for high performance and growth,” Kumar elaborated.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Cloud computing business of e-commerce giant Amazon, said that amid the pandemic, it has seen an acceleration both in terms of customer adoption and how they are using the Cloud in the country.

Besides banking and financial services, other areas, where AWS has seen huge traction in India include media and entertainment and automotive sectors.

AWS will invest $2.77 billion to set up multiple data centres in Hyderabad, the Telangana government said last month.

The company will set up Asia Pacific (Hyderabad) Region with three Availability Zones (AZs). It is expected to start operations by mid-2022.

A Google Cloud report revealed this month that more than one in two retail executives in India feel their company is accelerating Cloud adoption in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Google Cloud won some key customers in India this year.

“We have always been bullish on India and you will see more investment coming from us towards that direction. India offers a great opportunity where Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with its latest agile, secure and scalable offerings can help enterprises, SMBs and the growing startup ecosystem amid the government’s call for digital transformation,” Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian told IANS.

Earlier this year, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai committed $10 billion to drive India go digital and the company will open its second GCP region in India, in Delhi next year.

IT industry’s apex body Nasscom said in November that with Cloud adoption among India’s small and medium-sized businesses growing, they can account for 28-30 per cent of the country’s Public Cloud market by 2025.

“As India aims to become a Cloud-first nation and with the government’s push for Cloud adoption by MSMEs, it will be crucial for SMBs in India to think of themselves as digital enterprises and lead the E-revolution for India,” said Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom.

The Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted the SMB segment and they struggled with liquidity crunch, lack of demand and lack of an alternative operational model.

Nasscom said that progressive policies and awareness programmes can accelerate cloud adoption at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has already fast-tracked digital transformation of companies across all verticals.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, nearly 97 per cent of mid-market firms considered technology to be important for business success and most were already experimenting with cloud, AI and emerging technologies.

“The uncertainty triggered by Covid-19 is making them relook at their own IT setup to ensure that they fix the gaps which could hamper their ability to operate remotely,” Sandip Patel, MD, IBM India/South Asia, told IANS.

“This segment is usually more agile in their decision making and hence we are seeing several new engagements and discussions started already,” Patel added.