As the business houses are looking at their IT assets as a cost center, cloud computing is coming to their rescue and AWS being the pioneer with a lot of products to offer, partners find AWS as a partner in profitability – the better alternative to their high investment but low margin allies.
The whole business world is heading towards digital transformation through cloud computing. It means no one needs to have infrastructure or applications locally. Everything will be on cloud and one will be paying only for that piece of technology which he wants to use. So, there is a huge upsurge in the demand of cloud based consumption model. Although it started with software as a service but now it has taken up every piece technology as an offer– be it a server, storage, networking, security or communication & collaboration technologies from the infrastructure point of view or business applications and test and development tools.
“AWS as an early mover in the cloud space has created a big opportunity for the organizations like us.”
Amazon Web Services (AWS) being the pioneer of cloud computing has changed the market upside down. The leading companies in various technology domains which were criticizing AWS for long and vouching for the partners’ loyalty to pull their juggernaut ahead are seen falling in line. Leading technology innovators and so-called leaders including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, etc. are seen to have completely rattled by the growth of AWS and forced to bend their rules of traditional engagement to add the new strategy of cloud offering. But before this, they have tried many ploys to influence customers to consolidate their assets and virtualize those and create private cloud or led them to hybrid cloud. They created product lines cloud ready and incentivized partners to sell more those and even aligned heir finance team to support customers and partners to acquire those technologies. However, this has not gone well with many customers as there were many vendors with many technology and many standards. Now these leading players had to adopt a new and aggressive strategy of alliances and acquisition at a huge cost to strengthen their position against each other but to no surprise this also did not help their cause. Now the option left was to be focused on what the companies are known for and therefore many large vendors made themselves lean and agile by demerging many of their hardware and software products so that they could address the customers’ requirements in a better way. But by then the customers mood was changed for less on-premise and more hosted and cloud. So, they started buying less appliance based assets and more hosted assets. At the same time, many customers tried to move their IT dependence completely to cloud. Therefore, the large infrastructure vendors who were arrogant about their own capability and tried to force hardware based solution on the customers had no choice but to bring everything on cloud.
But, by the time these companies realized what they were missing, the pioneer – AWS had gone many a mile ahead. Today, AWS has not only added the traditional channel partners to its APN (AWS Partner Network) but also created many new partners those who did not have legacy IT business with physical infrastructure.
The fact that organizations- from SMEs to very large entities – have been suffering from the impact of market slowdown and they are very cautious about investing in on-premise IT assets. Acquiring, managing and maintaining these assets becoming too costly for them and their business outcome does not support these expenses. Therefore, the discomfort of IT as a service has turned to be an assertive yes for them. So, the risk that AWS had taken long back and invested in huge data centers and disaster recovery sites envisaging the cloud era to fall soon has seen many takers now and the channel partners who were always dependent upon the customers had no other way than embracing the cloud business. Another aspect is that since the delivery is through cloud and software only, the partners’ heavy dependence on finance got minimized and they became increasingly risk free. Only thing they needed to do perfectly …
Knowlarity Cloud Telephony
At the same time, AWS does not seem to be arrogant about its success rather it pampers the partners with a lot of incentives and knowledge enhancement programs. It has created a huge stack of products which the partners relish to sell to the customers and the customers are happy as they need not have to block huge investment towards acquiring physical assets. This story does not hold true in western countries where the internet bandwidth is high but also in third world countries where the bandwidth is low because the whole word is going through a financial depression and the new mantra is cloud computing.
Of course, the technology world is very fragile as disruptions happen every time. For India it is no different. But AWS which is leading from the front knows how to handle this. AWS’ improved APN program helps partners build successful AWS-based businesses, by providing business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market (GTM) support. AWS Consulting Partners such as Infosys, TCS, Wipro, HCL, Accenture, PwC, Blazeclan, Minjar, Frontier, Intelligrape, Progressive, and Team Computers are helping enterprises migrate to AWS, deploy mission-critical applications on AWS, and are providing a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customers’ AWS environments. AWS Technology Partners in India include SAP, Microsoft, Adobe, Druva, Freshdesk, Manthan, Indusface, Newgen, RAMCO, Seclore, Mediology, Mithi Software, Vinculum, and many others who are providing software solutions that are either hosted on, or integrated with AWS. To access these solutions and more, visit the AWS Marketplace where customers can easily find, trial, deploy, and buy software solutions for the AWS Cloud. Enterprises and SMBs in India like working with/buying from the local partners they know, and the local AWS partner ecosystem can provide a great onramp to the cloud and delivering the confidence they need to migrate more workloads
“We have deployed all our products in AWS Cloud. All our customers’ test and dev happens on AWS Cloud too.”
This has helped the number of AWS Professional Level certifications grew 1036% year-over-year in 2016, and the number of AWS Associate Level certifications grew 323% year-over-year in 2016 in India.
AWS’s highly reliable and resilient cloud platform gives freedom to ISVs to build and deploy their products around AWS eco-system with increased efficiency, instant service delivery, accelerated growth, enhanced scalability, high availability and reduced CAPEX.
For example, ‘Vinculum, an Advanced Technology Partner’ of AWS is leveraging the platform capabilities and have built integrations to marketplaces like Amazon, ebay, Flipkart, etc. Mediology Software, which is working with media and publishing companies since 2010 in 2012 launched Readwhere.com, which in a short span of time became India’s leading digital reading platform. The deep domain expertise in AWS and Media has resulted in their platform being embraced by 2000+ publishers, from over 350 cities in India
Similarly, Knowlarity, the largest cloud communications provider in emerging markets, with over 15000 businesses across 65+ countries, is one of the early adopters of all KRADLE (Kinesis, Redshift, Aurora, Dynamo DB, Lambda, EMR) services of AWS and AWS platform has helped accelerate their growth and efficiently scale operations to serve customers all over the globe.
Mithi Software Technologies, a provider of Email, Collaboration and Archiving solutions, has adopted AWS to bring newer and better offerings to its customers. The company has recently launched 3 more solutions on AWS including Vaultastic – a cloud based email archiving and backup solution that can be used to archive mails from any mailing system and ClearStream – offering AntiSpam, AntiVirus and RansomWare protection for mail servers as well as a basic disaster recovery to ensure email service continuity in case the primary email server is inaccessible.
Manthan, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner, has been rapidly innovating using AWS native technologies and services, including Redshift for increased value delivery to clients by providing high performance at lower costs. By rapidly innovating on AWS, Manthan has a compelling suite of BI analytics products optimized to Big Data technologies on AWS. With Manthan’s portfolio of cloud based Big Data and Analytics solutions on AWS, including Customer Analytics, Retail Analytics and Supplier collaboration, Manthan aims to bring affordable, ultra-scalable and responsive cloud based analytics closer to businesses.
Bikram S Bedi, Head of India, Amazon Web Services says, “AWS is positioned as a leader in the Garner Magic Quadrant for cloud infrastructure as a Service Worldwide. Ever since the company launched its operations in Mumbai Region in June 2016, it has been able to acquire 75,000+ active customers. There has been 805% growth in the partner networks in the last 12 months.”
He added, “More than 16000 people have been trained on AWS technologies and 89% of top 100 startups in India are running on AWS Cloud.”
Blazeclan’s CEO, Varoon Rajani, said, “We are a born-in-the-cloud partner of AWS. In 2010, we built a product for education sector and wanted a platform to host the product. Then we realized the power of AWS. While we were developing and hosting our products on AWS, we started helping smaller companies to leverage AWS and that became a business model for us. Now we are a gold certified partner, which is the top tier partnership for AWS. We are serving 50+ customers out of which at least 60-70% of the customers are from India.”
“95% of our business is coming from AWS. We get a lot of leads from AWS,” he added.
As per Varoon AWS offers a lot of advantage than others in the competition. Blazeclan has around 150 employees today but most amount of growth for it has come in last two years that is when the enterprises started looking at cloud seriously. Although the company has a good number of startups and SMEs as customers, yet Varoon could see enterprises have also started spending on the cloud solutions as they have started realizing the power of cloud. A lot of media companies are using cloud today– specially for the distribution of the content. In India particularly, almost all large media houses have been using cloud and AWS is preferred partner for them. This is also a big segment for Blazeclan. Apart from this, internet business are the second set of customers for Blazeclan. Similarly, in the last 6-8 months the company finds a lot of FSI customers embracing cloud through Blazeclan.
He said, “The advantage is that we do not carry any legacy business with us. We are forward looking and agile. We can automate a lot of things for the customers including their applications.”
Everything today is software enabled – be it data center, network, servers, etc. So, the argument of cloud vis-a-vis on premise is getting disappeared very fast. As per Varoon the debate around private cloud vis-à-vis public cloud was a ploy of the legacy players who wanted to distract the customers from the cloud. But the customers realized that the data in the public cloud is much secure than the private cloud. But yes, for some organizations, they have to keep everything in their local data center due to the regulatory compliance. For example, the BFSI sector or healthcare sector cannot outsource it to the public cloud.
As per him, security used to be a concern earlier but the incident of most secure data-center being hacked in recent past, the argument of private data-center is more secured it is very foolish.
Blazeclan being a Premier Partner for AWS and one of the 50 top partners globally, it puts the company into the very niche category.
BlazeClan is also an MSP for AWS. It means AWS can engage third party auditors to monitor its services.
Progressive Infotech used to be a large enterprise partner for erstwhile HP, which is HPE now but from 2010 this company has deserted that business to move on the path led by AWS.
Prateek Garg, MD, Progressive Infotech, says, “AWS as an early mover in the cloud space has created a big opportunity for the organizations like us. It has a lot many to offer whereas the competition is yet to catch up.”
He added, “Today, we are a pure services company. Our managed services and cloud services revenue is almost equal. But, now our revenue is tilting in favor of cloud services by 10%.”
As per him, there is no challenge from the trust point of view for public cloud. Private cloud is nothing but on-premise cloud.
Progressive Infotech today has 120 active customers. the company is actively focusing on four vertical markets including manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment and retail. The fifth vertical that the company wants to enter is financial services. Prateek maintains, “We can enter any vertical with cloud but we have to develop competency and practice in our generation in order to speak their language. Because their needs are very different and IT is becoming very domain specific. Although we have horizontal expertise, even then vertical expertise is highly essential. Because then you will be able to understand the pain points of the customers very quickly.”
Prateek admits, “We are now into the 3.0 version of our organization. The first one was the hardware distribution business. Second one is when we set up infrastructure management practice, which became very large. That is the only piece we retain and that continues till date. It helped us to step into the direction of cloud solutions.
As per Prateek, Progressive Infotech wants to be recognized as the managed services player globally. At the same time, they also want to be a big player in the cloud space because there is enough in the market for multiple IT players.
Atul Batra, CTO, Manthan Systems, says, “Manthan is a 14 years old company. When Atul Jalan, our Founder & CEO, started this company, analytics and data were the fancy words. He knew data will be the new oil for the industry. So, he thought there is a huge opportunity around data with all the IT revolution coming in, you need someone to analyze it and take some actions based on the discovery. We offer packaged applications focused on retail which including merchandising, store operations, e-commerce, etc. Another solution is customer marketing analytics. So far, a business to understand the customer and what is their behavior and drive marketing strategy around that is what Manthan does through customer marketing analytics. We also offer a couple of analytics tools too.”
“We have deployed all our products in AWS Cloud. All our customers’ test and dev happens on AWS Cloud too. Today, we have around 200-250 customers. Looking at the analytical maturing in the western world, it is for many years whereas till a couple of years back people were more focused on building on the basic infrastructure. India is a leapfrogging and moving to analytics. It is a real revolution and adoption is happening very fast over cloud.”
Shantanu Mathur, Country Head, Knowlarity Cloud Telephony, says, “We are into the communication business. We started as a customer of AWS but now we are providing AWS services as a partner. We have assimilated AWS massively into our technology fabric. This has enabled us to scale up our business and move faster. We have been using AWS for a very long time and for last 4 years we have gone deep.”
He added, “With AWS, the cost is always managed. We had required some dedicated servers in the past but now we do not require them now. At the same time, we double the business in last year.”
As per Shantanu, Knowlarity started with Super Receptionist. It is a simple product which enables a small company to sound professional. Over time the company has created maximum capability on top of it. It moved from being an SME product to an enterprise product. By virtue of this capability, Knowlarity can now service millions of calls a day. This product also comes with CRM capability for outbound calls.
He maintained, “Our job is to help customers to optimize their solutions. We are working with cross section of verticals in including BFSI, auto, retail, education, etc. We have a very large footprint with more than 10000 customers now. We are now looking at going much deeper into the geographies and verticals.”
All of Knowlarity products’ stack is on AWS although it started with servers then database and went on adding other tools from AWS.
Terry Wise, Vice President, WW Alliances, Channels and Ecosystem, AWS, said, “My first visit to India was eight years ago… we had nothing then, but today we have really evolved. It would not have happened without the support of the partner ecosystem. Our business has grown 43 % year on year. Along with this the partner business is growing 100% year on year.
Of course, it is an excellent data point, but in technology world, it takes no time to overthrow any leader and make the products passé. Therefore, AWS has to keep an eye on the competition and keep improving its product stack and keep supporting the partners.