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Digitally determined SMEs are leveraging public cloud

Rishu Sharma, Principal Analyst, Cloud & Artificial Intelligence, IDC India, surmises that budget limitations and need to meet up with capacities are among the top drivers for the SMBs to adopt cloud. They have been leveraging enterprise applications such as accounting software and core HR applications  and could see an increased use of managed services for collaboration, security, data management etc.

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IBT: How has COVID-19 impacted the adoption rate of cloud computing across the world and for India in particular?

Rishu Sharma: COVID-19 has accelerated cloud adoption for organizations in India as businesses look to gain resiliency and meet up with the demand for additional capacities. Organizations in India are planning to increase their investments across the cloud segments including IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

Our survey shows that establishing  digital infrastructure resiliency  is among the top priorities for Indian organizations and cloud will play a pivotal role as they progress to the new normal. As per IDC’s COVID-19 impact survey, Wave 5, more than 58% organizations in India are planning to increase investments in cloud computing.

IBT: What are the drivers for this shift? Which industries have emerged as new growth avenues for cloud computing adoption and why?

Rishu Sharma: There are multiple factors driving this demand including seamless business continuity, cost optimization, scalability and optimizing operations to create resiliency, are some to name a few. We are seeing the demand being generated as a result of online education, virtual streaming and maximizing workforce productivity as some of the key use cases driving demand across education, media and ITeS verticals.

Apart from these, as a result of the supply chain disruption in the manufacturing industry, there is likely to be increased focus on standardizing operations, increased automation, and more sustainable operations, all of which will enforce organizations to relook and modernize their supply chain systems.

The banking sector is looking at the increased adoption of online banking, mobile banking, and self-service.  We are also witnessing conversational platforms being seeing an uptick in this environments. In the healthcare segment, collaboration platforms and conferencing solutions are being leveraged for diagnosis, screening, and better collaboration.

IBT: What benefits do DAAS and SAAS provide for Indian SMEs in particular, as they embrace greater levels of digitisation and formalisation?

Rishu Sharma: There is an uptick in the communication, collaboration applications  and cloud-based VDI adoption primarily being driven by remote working. Organizations are able to achieve benefits like seamless business operations, uninterrupted access to data, customer continuity and also sales continuity in form of  SaaS-based CRM.

While the spend by SMBs has been impacted as a result of COVID-19, the digitally determined SMBs are leveraging public cloud services to meet up with their business demands. Budget limitations and the need to meet up with capacities are among the top drivers for the SMBs.

SMBs have been leveraging enterprise applications such as accounting software and core HR applications etc  and are likely to see an increased use of managed services for collaboration, security, data management etc in the long term. Cloud is imperative for these organizations as they focus on gaining business agility and productivity while managing the cost of operations.

IBT: What should be the approach to cloud deployment by SMEs to ensure optimum utilisation and maximum benefits?

Rishu Sharma: The current environment has resulted in organizations recalibrating their business plans. But one thing is certain that businesses have realised that they will have to leverage technology to become resilient in their path to the new normal. While some SMBs were already leveraging public cloud, the current environment has only been a catalyst to push their adoption further.

The cloud deployments would require developing the organization’s cloud plans, taking stock of current applications, evaluating the workloads for cloud (best fit, security, end of lifecycle etc) and also focusing on the skills aspect to with IT teams being trained for cloud environments.

IBT: With the government aggressively backing Digital India, what role is cloud computing playing in governance, and how do you see its role getting transformed in the coming years? Please also provide some use cases in this context?

Rishu Sharma: The government’s focus on citizen enablement and healthcare has resulted in state governments exploring use cases like AI-powered crowd surveillance, data analytics, drone-based surveillance, emergency response platform and automation to name a few.


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Rishu Sharma leads the consulting and research practice for cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) markets in India. She is involved in advisory assignments for IT vendors in the areas of strategy, strategic marketing, and end-user insights across technologies and industry verticals. She also advises tech buyers (CIOs and lines of business) in their business planning, for them to make informed, viable, and sustainable strategic decisions on cloud and AI. 

Rishu has over 11 years of experience in the fields of consulting, business research and project management, digital marketing, presales, and bid management in the IT industry, focusing on hardware, software, and IT services.

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