With digital transformation rapidly redefining the regional landscape in India – amid humongous amount of data being generated – many more enterprises this year looked at embracing agile, scalable and cost-friendly Cloud offerings, searching for providers with deep technological expertise to help transform their businesses.
However, while improving IT security and increasing business agility remained among the top expected benefits of Cloud by Indian enterprises, the challenges related to costs and complexities with infrastructure cannot be ignored, suggested a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Compared to the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) markets where more than 14 per cent of organisations are in the latter stages of Cloud maturity, only 10 per cent of the Indian organisations are currently in the advanced stages, IDC said, adding that most organisations in India have plans to spend maximum of their new Cloud spending on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications over the next year.
According to Sashikumar Sreedharan, Microsoft India's Managing Director for Enterprise Commercial Business, end-customers are not only migrating workloads to the Cloud but also investing in Cloud to support new capabilities as they evolve their businesses.
"In fact, many customers are opting for a 'Cloud-first' approach in acquiring new IT assets. With this, Indian enterprises are now understanding the importance of incorporating Cloud technologies in their digital journey," Sreedharan noted.
Nearly 88 per cent business leaders from India, polled in the Microsoft's "Asia Digital Transformation Study", acknowledge that Cloud technology is a critical enabler that will fuel their digital transformation.
"A whopping 92 per cent of them believe that every organisation needs to be a 'digital organisation' to drive growth and innovation for their business," added Sreedharan.
Microsoft estimates that the move to digital is a massive US$100 billion-plus opportunity in India.
For Oracle, 2018 saw strong Cloud adoption by the Indian firms, both big and small.
"We expect this to pick up further pace in 2019. Hybrid IT environments are on the rise, and we expect this trend to continue through 2020 as well, with Indian businesses moving to the Cloud in a phased manner," said Shailender Kumar, Regional Managing Director, Oracle India.
Most Indian businesses are currently looking to adopt Hybrid Cloud and the trend continued this year.
Hybrid Cloud is a computing environment that uses a mix of on-premise, private Cloud and third-party public Cloud services, with orchestration between the two platforms.
Nearly 43 per cent of Indian enterprises will adopt Hybrid Cloud by 2020 – from 13 per cent as of today – and the country will lead the world in Hybrid Cloud usage and adoption over the next two years, a global report by enterprise Cloud computing leader Nutanix predicted this month.
For India, 91 per cent of respondents agreed that Cloud computing has increased the efficiency of their IT departments.
“As billions more people, places and things become connected to the Internet, and more and more enterprises move their systems, software and processes to Cloud providers, the need to connect, communicate, manage and align these varying components takes on a new perspective,” explained Neville Vincent, Vice President, ASEAN, ANZ and India at Nutanix.
Gartner also predicted that Hybrid Cloud solutions will continue to drive overall adoption in India.
However, according to Oracle's Kumar, hybrid IT environments also bring to the fore security and interoperability risks. "Hence, businesses are now demanding a far more secure, next generation, truly enterprise-grade Cloud," Kumar said.
Jagjit Arora, Senior Director-Sales, VMware India, said that almost all organisations across sectors are in the process of digital transformation.
"From our conversations with customers across sectors, I know that appetite for Cloud in India is increasing and evolving. Customers' interests are shifting to multi and Hybrid Clouds driven by the flexibility, agility and scalability," said the VMware executive.
There may be a tectonic shift in Cloud adoption in India and the government too has joined the bandwagon.
According to Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services (AWS), retail giant Amazon's Cloud arm, in just about two years, there has been a significant change on Cloud adoption in the public sector in India.
"The state governments are moving really faster on adopting Cloud than the US state governments when they were exposed to the Cloud computing eight years back," Carlson said.
The company launched AWS Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region with two availability zones in 2016.
"For the first time since launching the Mumbai region services, AWS has seen a 70 per cent increase in the accounts of Indian companies," said Amazon Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Werner Vogels. The momentum, said Cloud providers, is only going to increase, with more and more industry-specific use cases coming to the fore.