By Nishant Arora

New Delhi– India is poised to become the world’s leading market for Cloud, and for US software major Oracle, Cloud is a force-multiplier that the country must embrace to leapfrog into the digital era, a top company executive has said.

India is uniquely positioned to benefit from Cloud-based solutions for three reasons. First, there are more than 200 million connected mobile users — with 100 million on social media — in the country; this is an essential building block for a shift to Cloud.

“Secondly, the e-commerce willingness in this market. Lastly, India has the largest IT service businesses in the world across SIs (systems integrators) and they are now looking at adjacent revenue streams like the Cloud to take cost out,” Shailender Kumar, Managing Director, Oracle India, told IANS.

“The government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative can only be successful if Cloud plays a key role. This makes the opportunity huge,” Kumar added.
shailenderCloud computing accounted for about 33 percent of the total IT expenditure in 2015 across the world. In India, the overall Cloud computing market reached $1.08 billion by the end of last year and IT/ITeS, telecom, manufacturing and government sectors accounted for a bulk of this.

Among one of the first MNCs to invest in the country nearly 25 years back, Oracle is bullish on Cloud.

“We are witnessing a strong demand for our Cloud solutions here. Oracle’s Software as a Service (SaaS) business is witnessing the fastest adoption rate with three segments that have the highest growth — Human Capital Management (HCM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Experience led by marketing cloud, service cloud, etc. Platform as a Service (Paas) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are fast catching up,” Kumar noted.

In April, Oracle CEO Safra Catz announced $400 million of investment in a technology hub Bengaluru, with the opening of the first “Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator” in India’s Silicon Valley.

Several more such centres are slated to be launched later in Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Vijayawada.

“Oracle is witnessing a huge appetite for its SaaS, PaaS and IaaS offerings in India even without a physical data centre here. Banks, telecom companies and government agencies are working with us and owing to the strong security infrastructure Oracle provides, we have been able to dispel security concerns,” Kumar told IANS.

While there are a few regulated industries that require data centres in India, there are also customers who are more focused on choosing the right applications and platforms as opposed to where the data centre lies.

To alleviate data security fears, the company recently announced the “Oracle Cloud at Customer” solution.

“The announcement strengthens our play in the market because companies (including those bound by regulatory pressures), can now leverage the Cloud and speed up their business transformation with complete control over their data,” Kumar said.

“Oracle Cloud at Customer” equips organisations to reap all of the benefits of the Cloud — agility, simplicity and subscription pricing — at their data centres and behind their firewall, providing access to the latest Cloud innovations.

“While there are concerns around data security in the country, a lot of the technologists in the country are quite skilled and are aware of what needs to be done. By following practices such as segregation of duties, on-disk encryption, data redaction and robust identity management, India can tackle security constraints,” Kumar pointed out.

The real security issue is when customers take older products that were not built for the internet, rack them and put them on the Internet. This makes those products vulnerable.

“But sometimes, security is also used as a reason to avoid change because shifting to the Cloud involves change. Though worrying, companies that adopt the Cloud can emerge as winners,” Kumar added.