Why the cloud has a ‘Gold’ lining for India

Srikanth RP| Informationweek

Is cloud computing a big hyped up technology or is it living up to the reputation of being a transformational agent? As with any other technology, after the huge initial dust of hype and opinion — both positive and negative — has settled down, enterprises now are beginning to see clear value.

Initially led by IT service firms like Infosys, Wipro and Hexaware, who used the private cloud efficiently to quickly provision servers for IT projects of varying duration and platforms, the adoption of cloud is now mainstream and can be seen across almost every sector.

Besides large firms like Essar, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp who are seeing real ROI, the cloud has also proved to be beneficial for healthcare providers like Narayana Hrudayalaya who are seeing huge savings related to their capital expenditure on IT. But the real surprise in the pack is the Government of Maharashtra. The Government of Maharashtra, led by a passionate IT secretary, has quietly transformed the way government departments use IT. With savings of ` 50 crore on a conservative basis, and the ability to kickstart big projects quickly, the Maharashtra Government’s use of cloud is an excellent example, which shows the real power of the cloud in the government.

The potential for large scale transformation using the cloud is huge, and this is corroborated by statistics given by independent firms and associations. For example, a study by NASSCOM and Deloitte estimates that the Indian cloud computing market will reach USD 16 billion by 2020. Similarly, a Microsoft-IDC study says that cloud computing will generate over 2 million jobs in India by 2015.

Thanks to the cloud, new business models are emerging. Bangalore-based startup, Magnasoft NorthStar, has created an integrated child and school bus tracking system using the cloud. Another firm, CropIn Technology, is using the cloud to raise farm productivity and acreage, and helping farmers ensure that harvested crops meet best global agricultural practices. Apna Technologies uses sensors installed on the side of railway tracks to transmit data related to defective wheels and axles in real-time to cloud-based servers, for ensuring railway safety. WinHire Technologies, which is seeking to disrupt the recruitment market by building the world’s first video social recruitment portal, owes its entire existence to the cloud.

While these examples and statistics of growth are impressive, they indicate just a glimpse of the immense potential and transformation that is possible from the adoption of cloud computing technologies. For a country like India, the importance of a technology like cloud computing is more as a majority of small and medium enterprises (more than 50 million) who cannot afford technology in the current form can now afford to adopt the latest technologies and compete effectively in the marketplace — similar to how most Indians skipped the landline to adopt the cellphone a decade back.

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