With enterprises convinced of the benefits reaped by deploying cloud technology, the choice is no longer whether to make the logical shift, rather a considerable amount of adoption is seen with IT services. Additionally, initiatives like Digital India and with IoT in full upswing, cloud services are being embraced at an ever increasing pace.
With the growing dependency of businesses on technology that drives time and value efficiency, Cloud Computing has emerged as a new era in IT and is at the top of the agenda for every CIO today. With organizations increasingly moving towards a digital business strategy, Market Monitor predicts the cloud computing market revenue to increase at a 36% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). This positions the cloud computing market at approximately $20 billion at the end of 2016. Cloud Computing’s adoption has seen a favorable ascent in the Indian context such that Gartner estimates it to account for bulk of IT spending in India in 2016, reaching over $3 billion.
In the Indian context, Cloud Computing is slated to have a direct impact on the how we do business and the benefits derived with primary concentration on SMB’s. Considering the accelerated growth of Cloud Computing, integration of the 3 cloud computing models namely – Saas, Paas, Iaas is anticipated. This will not only ensure better value delivery but also cater to the requirements of businesses with customized deployment. Eklavya Bhave, Head – Channels and Alliances, India & SAARC at Citrix shares, “For companies on the path of digitally equipping themselves, shifting to cloud computing has been the most natural progression. It’s very difficult for companies to move to cloud by investing only on one of the three models. There is no one right fit for all and investment in a particular model varies from customer to customer, depending on their needs. For instance, companies looking at adoption from a long term perspective should consider an integrated, synergized cloud computing strategy and would be best suited to invest in a combination of all three technologies.”
According to Ramesh Loganathan, Vice President Products and Managing Director, Progress India , “SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are all interlinked and these are just layers. SaaS is the first layer, where an Enterprise can procure a solution from a software vendor that is in a SaaS model- where they don’t have to worry about servers, environment, software, versions, upgrades, administrators’ et al. The PaaS and IaaS are more for the software vendors, as platforms for their solution. IaaS is more actively used now with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft & Google clouds getting very mainstream. Though, PaaS seems a little slower in India.”
The software industry has completely modified the work lifestyle. It started with a simple explanation of Software as a service but over the time it has evolved to be the base of every software and projects being done by entrepreneurs. The horizontal SaaS models have been adopted by every industry, be it a core IT company, HR, Innovations, Healthcare, Banking, Communications etc. All processes run on applications today and we see this as an irreversible trend. Venders and customers are moving ahead with and embedding more and more improvised features to the SaaS platform.
Discussing more on SaaS, Prasanna Bableshwar, Architect – IP Solutions, Happiest Minds Technologies opines, “In India SaaS is most suited and well received by Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), mostly because of them are first time technology adopters and they do not have legacy software baggage to carry along. SaaS also offers pay-as-you-go model which mostly does not require the SMEs to hugely invest upfront. In the next year, many enterprise applications will start moving to cloud.”Another trend that is shaping up as SaaS adoption increases is Analytics. Most SaaS solutions now include built-in analytics. As the customer and employee conversations move to new channels the Social and Mobile analytics are now gaining importance. Predictive Analytics is one of the important aspects a SaaS buyer is looking for these days.
PaaS is situated in the “middle” of the cloud stack, between infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service. Today there are multiple PaaS services. One aspect to watch prudently in the PaaS segment is the role of open standards and open source. IBM’s Bluemix is the best example of billion commitments to PaaS’ capabilities. With the growing popularity of PaaS, it will continue to offers an atmosphere for creators and companies to host and deploy, applications, storage boxes, connectivity tools and other needed features. PaaS is rapidly improving the speed of developing an app or the code of service, and allows the customer to concentrate on the application itself and its utility.
As per the Gartner report, (PaaS) is forecast to grow 31.7 percent in 2016, to $82.1 million. This is an artifact of enterprises looking to develop and build applications in the public cloud that are cloud native, as well as non-cloud native applications that are refactored taking advantage of PaaS. The opportunity for PaaS to grow in India is immense as enterprises are looking to create applications in public cloud that are refactored using the advantages that PaaS offers.
Along with PaaS and Saas, IaaS forms the three main pillars of cloud computing services. The IaaS market has seen huge uptick in the last few years given the many benefits that cloud computing provides and with enterprises getting over the apprehension of using cloud services. Whereas in the past, most of the discussions would revolve around private, conversations now have significantly moved towards public and also the hybrid cloud now that customers have more confidence in the ability of the services provider to offer robust security to the information and applications. IBM was the first company to open a datacenter in India (Mumbai) back in 2014 and followed it up with a public cloud datacenter in Chennai in Oct 2015. IBM’s services for cloud computing encompass the whole gamut from IaaS to SaaS and PaaS. More recently, the company announced the launch of cloud object storage service that redefines the security, availability and economics of storing, managing and accessing massive amounts of digital information across hybrid clouds.
IaaS is the fastest growing segment in the cloud services domain. The Gartner report suggests that the IaaS segment will reach $448.9 million by the end of 2016. Most enterprises are moving away from data center buildouts and transferring their infrastructure to public cloud, making the it the strongest and fastest growing segment in the country.
Expertise is the key to unlocking bigger deal sizes, better close rates and higher profits. It depends on the solution and value proposition that the partner is focused on. The investment is subject to factors such as the nature of the offerings or the business. Partners would probably need a cloud platform to help build solutions for their clients. Entrepreneurs who sell a service would prefer investing in a SaaS model. Giving more information on this, Mukul Mathur – Vice-President, Global Business Partners and CSI, IBM IndiaSouth Asia says, “Companies who manage hybrid cloud for their clients with their partners, sell the platform, or those in the application space would probably spend on either PaaS or IaaS.” This way the investment is channelized and product oriented as the company would be using this as its commodity booster. This adds the value that solution brings on the proportion for the client. Businesses should also take an effort to analyze the focus area because of the considerable interest in software exports has arisen among most in developing countries. Sometimes the partner also focuses their investment on one particular platform as they wish to combine their solution with that of IBM to deliver superior value for their clients.
IBM has number of skill development programs to enable partners to enhance their offerings for their clients. The strategy has always been to choose the right skill set only. To IT buyers, strategic partners are merchants that have gone beyond effective delivery of structures and services to develop constantly and transparently. Receptive and reliable collaborators creates value for an enterprise. IBM looks for partners to synchronize with the new age technology as per today’s standards and can provide end customers with the solutions that will help them succeed in the market. As far as Vmware is concerned, VMware offers a range of partner training programs to build partner solution skills and enable them to become a trusted advisor to customers. Apart from this it also invest extensively in workshops, events and roadshows which provide a great opportunity to build awareness and drive adoption of Vmware solutions in the market that helps create opportunities for partners. Sundar Balasubramanian, Senior Director, General Business (Commercial Sales & Partners) at VMware opines, “Cloud is already bringing great opportunities for our partners, and with the Cross-Cloud Architecture we are bringing more choice for customers.
For our solution provider partners, there are opportunities to help customers integrate platforms built on the Cloud Foundation principles into their own private clouds. While this is something that is already happening through the SDDC, Cloud Foundation will make it even easier for partners to help customers take advantage of hybrid and public cloud environments.”
Challenges for partners
Cloud industry has become a dynamic market. As we see software enhancing minute to minute, the products and solution will equally have to get modified. The services have to be updated regularly. It is important for organisations to keep a holistic view when it comes to cloud and keep a right mix of the services, when deciding what solutions to deploy. Sharing his view, Neeraj Bhatia, Director -Partner, Alliances & Commercial Sales, Red Hat excerpts, “Most organisations today are adopting a digital business strategy and moving away from the traditional IT practices to cloud services. The simple strategy for organisations should be to analyse their business needs and adopt cloud solutions accordingly. For e.g. SaaS is most suitable for organisations that work on Short term projects requiring collaboration. Similarly, IaaS is well suited for startups and organisations that are not sure of their application and expect it to evolve over a due course of time.”
The cloud has truly democratized the IT capabilities across every organization. Being a technology partner for Citrix, Prashanth Subramanian, Executive Director, Quadra Systems believes that the adoption of cloud has shifted their focus from being a ‘technology deployment’ provider to a ‘technology adoption’ provider. He says, “Conversations with customers have matured and revolve around how we can help utilize a technology in a manner that best benefits their business, suit their business goals and maximize their business benefits. This makes for deeper, more profitable, win-win customer relationships.”
“The adoption of each cloud service model will raise business standards but partners have to “analyse”. Analysing IT requirements and reaching the right platform is the need of the hour. Apart from that, analyse the risks associated with the effective implementation of cloud service models that must be overcome. Once you are done with managing risks, you are all set to experience increased flexibility and economies of scale with effective management of resources and data”, says Vishal Barapatre, Group CTO, In2IT Technologies.
It’s time for partners to focus on Vertical-centric solution, understand the challenges & business benefits to the customers and offer the right kind of solution. Cloud Computing holds tremendous potential to let explore the ease of doing business while enhancing operational efficiency and reducing costs. Success will depend on how well organizations manage not only their use of Cloud but also the changes required in skills, processes, business models, and relationships—both inside and outside the traditional walls of the enterprise.