- By Supratik Ghatak
The first session of the round table discussions took off to a flying start at 7 pm on the 22nd of February 2013 at the Pride, Pune, with IT leaders Mr. Sharat Airani ( Chief – IT ) of Forbes Marshall, Mr Sunil Patil (Director) from SITM (Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management), Mr. Sridhar Saranathan ( AVP – IT ) of Vodafone India, Mr. Dilip Itterya (CEO) of Akion Labs, Mr. George Thomas Kalacherry ( Head of Global Delivery ) of Bilcare Technologies attending the event.
Mr Varoon Rajani, President – Cloud Consulting, from BlazeClan and Mr DD Mishra from CIO Specialist were present as moderators. The session began with an introduction by everyone and a brief background of their company.
The discussion opened with the topic around the lack of exploration of cloud, leading to myths that discourage people from considering cloud as a solution to IT problems and ways to take cloud to the next level.
Dilip said that they have launched their product and are managing them using cloud and they found it to be a smooth and convenient process.
George shared his experience of how lack of detailed know-how on cloud was a barrier to implementation.
This led on to the debate of why adoption of cloud has been slow in India. Sunil felt that the cloud foundation had to be yet laid, and as with other technologies, there is bound to be an initial resistance which will wear off with time.
Education and awareness regarding cloud must be built using the education
sector. Including it in the curriculum will help to open people up to the idea of
cloud and also help to dispel myths surrounding cloud.
It actually gets much tougher to implement cloud in an enterprise.
Showing the company clear-cut ways to “save the dollar” is the way to make the cloud sell better.
Sunil was of the opinion that making individuals of the enterprise at the very top and bottom levels of management, realize the benefit in cloud computing will help leverage cloud. He felt that while speaking about new technology, the focus is mostly on how to solve big problems on a large scale, whereas India consists largely of small businesses. Solutions should be specific and targeted.
Varoon then shared his experience of working with cloud at BlazeClan and how people recognize the problem area but they resist against cloud as a solution. He specifically mentioned the unwillingness within the small & medium enterprises in India where IT solutions are clearly not welcomed.
Sharing an anecdote, Sunil said that cloud and information on cloud should be made available in the local languages to the people.
Shridhar, agreeing on it said:
Another way is to have smaller applications or peripheral processes on the cloud first, to open people up to the idea of cloud.
Sharat quipped in:
There is also no defined roadmap to the cloud and that adds to the ambiguity surrounding it. Demystifying cloud is the way to make it more accepted as a viable solution to IT problems.
The discussion moved on to whether internal politics in the organization is affecting exploration of cloud as a solution.
Sharat, with his experience in manufacturing, felt that cloud has not been introduced to all the industries to the same extent. He also asserted the fact that the manufacturing industry was more insulated to regulations & frameworks vis-a-vis the telecom & healthcare industry hence did not have compliance as a deterrent to the cloud.
Sharat added here:
For the IT executives, fear of their job becoming redundant or unnecessary might make them averse to the idea. While educating people about cloud, care must be taken to explain it at their level of technological expertise
The discussion flowed to the topic of how Cloud service providers paint a rosy picture of cloud adoption but how easy is the process in practicality?
Those who have had experience in deploying cloud solutions shared their experiences in detail.
Dilip who has launched his products using cloud stated that it was easy to release as well as mange the product. He supposed that for a service, the function being different and so would the parameters to measure successful implementation.
George was of the fundamental opinion that new technologies take their time to be accepted and although cloud brought about a sense of insecurity within the internal IT teams of companies, the adoption of cloud would eventually happen.
The talk progressed to talking about the strategies that can be used to introduce cloud into the market and help make it better received.
Everyone agreed that the best way would be to target the younger generation, like apps that they are more likely to use. They being more open to and trusting of technology will be less hesitant to apply cloud. This could be applied even to the younger lot of professionals working in the industry too.
DD Mishra wondered aloud whether price could be the primary driver for cloud.
Sunil agreed and said:
Cloud and its various aspects brought in new opportunity for a business model.
The ROI would be higher in this kind of model. However it needs to be on the ground.
Although costs of a business have grown over the years, companies are now
expecting a larger return on their investment, in comparison.
Sridhar also added:
Cloud has to show how my end customers will benefit. That will drive CIOs to map business objectives with IT initiatives.
They went on to discuss the implication of cloud on outsourcing.
A key aspect that was expressed was control. Organizations want control on their data. Along with various issues like cultural differences communication, synchronization issues, the added fact of reduced control as perceived by the company might act as a deterrent.
Sharat said here:
As far as mistrust regarding the fact that the owner cannot see where his data is stored, outsourcing is being undertaken widely and the data is sent to and
fro multiple times and stored at various locations. So the issue of security of the data should not be that crucial.
Sridhar added to his point:
With organizations outsourcing even their core processes, companies are not
as worried about tangibility of their data storage.
They concurred that it becomes even more important to train people and develop skill sets and competencies to work on the cloud. George observed that every time technology changes, there is a change in the requirement of workforce and skills etc. needed and as the young generation learns faster on an average, there is a general trend where the next generation replaces the earlier.
The discussion came to an end with their having discussed various points and expressing their want to take the initiative themselves to get people better acquainted with cloud computing.
The CIOs were of the opinion of regularly holding such events and continuing the process of evangelizing the concepts around cloud computing.