Cloud computing: Sky is the limit for IT firms

Industry leaders are of the view that cloud computing is becoming a game-changer for Indian information technology services companies. As much as 20-25 per cent of large outsourcing deals now involve cloud computing.

Clients across industries have started to see the benefits of cloud computing and are more ready to invest in this technology. Infotech services providers with higher cloud capabilities stood to benefit, experts said.

Cloud computing involves storing and accessing data and programmes over virtual infrastructure through a network, typically the internet, instead of physical infrastructure such as servers and hard drives. The cloud helps in reducing capital costs on computers, software services and other machinery.

Industry body Nasscom had in its strategic review for 2014 said that cloud computing, internet of things, smart grids and 3D printing would drive client investments during the year.

"We see flavours of cloud computing in most of our large outsourcing contracts," said Anand Sankaran, president and global head of infrastructure and cloud computing at Dell. "Though the cloud component in large contracts could be only 20-25 per cent of the total order, it has 80 per cent of the weight in the final decision." Sankaran added if any Indian infotech services provider was not making serious investments into creating capabilities around cloud computing, it was making a big mistake.

Raghunath Govindachari, vice-president for research and innovation at mid-size infotech services company Mindtree said there had been a significant change in adoption of cloud computing by clients since the beginning of the year. Customers were experimenting with different types of workload on the cloud, he added.

"As customers consume cloud application services from service providers like us, it is an expectation that we handle the cloud management services as well," Govindachari said. "This includes typical infrastructure support like 24/7 monitoring, operating system patching and anti-virus. The difference is these areas require skills in a software defined environment, rather than in traditional networking and virtualisation skills." India’s second largest infotech services company Infosys is also seeing an increased appetite for cloud computing from its clients. Saju Sankaran Kutty, assistant vice-president and regional sales head for cloud and infrastructure services at Infosys, said cloud was no more just a buzzword and clients had moved from the question of whether to adopt it to how to maximise business value from it.

"Cloud is a reality that enterprises cannot escape," he said. "Leveraging the capability of cloud computing has proven to be a strategic differentiator in the way enterprises do business today. With technology as the game-changer, enterprises are turning to the cloud to gain breakout opportunities," he added.


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