How India has a golden opportunity in the future of cloud computing and its impact on the Indian economy

CXOtoday conducted an exclusive interview with CloudThat CEO & Founder – Bhavesh Goswami.

Cloud’s Impact on India

The virtual and hybrid worlds of the pandemic and post-pandemic period have increased reliance on the cloud and made it mandatory to achieve flexibility, agility and innovation. Amidst this rapid digital transformation, Indian organizations have also jumped on the bandwagon to incorporate cloud solutions to grow their business.

According to the NASSCOM-EY survey, 78% of Indian IT companies, 53% of healthcare and BFSI companies, and 49% of pharmaceutical companies have moved to the cloud since 2019. And a recent IDC report found that 40% of all Indian organizations will implement dedicated cloud services at service provider facilities or on-premises by 2024.

Media companies and digital natives are driving cloud adoption in India, along with financial institutions, manufacturers, retailers and large enterprises. Additionally, according to Inc 42, more than 20 Indian startups will achieve unicorn status in 2022, and 80% of them believe PaaS and IaaS are essential to their success. These include food delivery, transportation, online grocery shopping, mobile learning and hotel reservations.

Even at CloudThat, it was the cloud that helped us grow and expand our footprint at a time when other organizations were experiencing layoffs and headcount reductions. The Government of India has also announced several cloud-first initiatives such as MyGov Saathi, Curfew ePass, Covid-19 Repository and Aarogya Setu to ensure timely rollout of services for citizens.

In fact, CoWIN, an end-to-end vaccination platform built on the AWS cloud, has been one of India’s most successful cloud initiatives. According to CoWIN data, India has achieved the milestone by administering 225 lakhs of vaccination doses per day at a rate of 28,000 doses per minute or 466 doses per second.

India has also set benchmarks for public cloud use. In 2019, Indian Internet streaming service provider Hotstar recorded 25.3 million concurrent viewers of a live cricket match, setting a world record for live broadcast viewership at the time.

According to analysis by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the country is one of the fastest-growing public cloud markets in the APAC region, projected to grow at a rate of 25% between 2018 and 2023, with a growth value of $6 billion.

The power of the cloud in the Indian economy

Although India is in the early stages of cloud adoption, cloud computing has proven to be the foundation for technology-driven innovation, digital transformation and business growth at scale in the Indian economy.

According to a NASSCOM report, with a CAGR of 44%, the Indian cloud market has outpaced the global market in terms of growth. This growth is driven by four factors: a growing digital population, digitization of businesses, investment inflows, and favorable government policies. IDC also predicts that the Indian public cloud market will grow at a CAGR of 24.1%, reaching $10.8 billion by 2025.

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According to NASSCOM’s report, large-scale cloud adoption has the potential to contribute $380 billion to India’s GDP by 2026 and create 14 million job opportunities at a three-fold growth rate. Additionally, an all-out effort could increase the country’s cloud spending by 25-30% over the next five years.

And AWS’ investments in the Indian economy are making this growth a plausible reality. The new AWS Hyderabad Region itself is expected to support more than 48,000 full-time jobs annually by 2030, with an investment of Crores 36,300. Moreover, the Government of India and Dr. Private companies such as Reddy’s Laboratories, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, and Tata Elxsi are all innovating on AWS.

These initiatives can open up new entrepreneurial opportunities in India and spur companies to boost R&D, improve commercial products and contribute to the country’s global innovation index. The cloud also has the potential to radically improve citizen services and have a positive social impact on the Indian economy.

By continuing these efforts, India can position itself as a global hub for cloud talent and cloud services.

Particular barriers to cross-enterprise cloud adoption

India has been leading the way in setting an example for the digital revolution with the rollout of Aadhar, UPI or e-Governance. And today, as we move towards ‘digital India’, cloud maturity is essential for us to jump through another wave of digital transformation for both governments and businesses.

However, large-scale adoption of cloud and cloud-based services requires multi-stakeholder collaboration to address common perceptions and barriers in the adoption process. The biggest challenge we face is the quality of education. There is a constant gap between the curricula offered by Indian institutions and the skills required in the cloud recruitment market.

According to a report by IBM, 66% of Indian companies say their teams lack the skills needed to manage cloud adoption. In contrast, 39% of respondents reported lack of technical skills as a barrier to integrating ecosystem partners into cloud infrastructure. So now it’s time for training companies like CloudThat and EdTechs to upskill the Indian workforce and accelerate cloud adoption.

The pace of cloud adoption by Indian enterprises is hampered by security and data governance. According to an IBM report, cybersecurity is a major concern for 50% of business leaders, while the remaining 49% say cybersecurity is part of data governance.

Regulatory compliance is another major bottleneck, especially in highly regulated markets and industries. More than 57% of entrepreneurs believe that ensuring compliance in the cloud is very difficult, and 33% see compliance as a major barrier to consolidating workloads across public and private IT environments.

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And as global players engage in systems such as IoT, robotic automation, and 3D printing, these barriers may cause Indian industries to lose out at the cloud edge. Realizing the full potential of cloud and scale at the national level requires stakeholders to undertake key initiatives across talent building, regulatory support, and cloud adoption.

How can Indian industries lose their competitiveness if the adoption of cloud technologies is slow or underdeveloped?

Cloud has the potential to deliver quadruple growth and position India as a global hub for cloud services, but it can only be achieved through multi-stakeholder collaboration across all sectors. Several countries such as Indonesia, Costa Rica, and Eastern Europe want a share of the global IT market.

Chinese companies are also investing heavily in improving the English proficiency of their IT staff. According to a McKinsey report, the public cloud market is expected to double from $32 billion in 2021 to $90 billion in 2025. Such initiatives pose a threat to India and could reduce some of its future growth.

According to a NASSCOM report, slow cloud adoption by the Indian government and businesses could cost India $118 billion in GDP and 5 million jobs over the next five years. If cloud adoption doesn’t accelerate, Indian industries risk becoming irrelevant and falling behind in growth, innovation and competitiveness.

For example, if financial institutions are slow to modernize their infrastructure, they may not be able to keep up with innovative and agile competitors such as Fintech. On the other hand, SMBs cannot grow in unconstrained stages and compete with incumbents without cloud-based flexibility.

When it comes to government, it would be impossible to deliver world-class citizen services without the accessibility and scalability of the cloud. As a result, it may fall behind in becoming a role model country. Broadly speaking, slow cloud adoption could make the Indian economy less attractive among expats, investors and entrepreneurs.

Some Examples of Cloud Computing Proven as Foundation for Digital Transformation

Today, the cloud stores over 60% of all corporate data. According to a Statista report, cloud adoption has multiplied, reaching $172 billion for SaaS, $122 billion for IaaS, and $101 billion for PaaS. While some companies are still struggling to find a clearly defined path to achieve cloud-based transformation, the Indian government has already reaped the benefits.

During the pandemic, the Government of India worked with AWS to build CoWIN, a scalable, inclusive, and publicly shared vaccine model. And by May 2022, CoWIN had administered 190 million vaccinations to the Indian population. The country also hit a milestone by administering a 225 lakh vaccination dose per day.

Another example of cloud innovation in India is the work of AWS and C-DAC at eSanjeevaniOPD. When the country was on lockdown and outpatient departments in clinics and hospitals were closed, C-DAC launched the eSanjeevaniOPD teleconsultation service. The platform was built and launched in less than 19 days and launched in 4 states. eSanjeevaniOPD has delivered 30 million remote consultations in India and set a record for completing 1.7 million teleconsultations in one day.

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Then, the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) hosted the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) on the AWS Cloud. The total time from idea to implementation was 5 weeks, and the platform increased the usable dataset from 500 to 500,000. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport claims to have developed a total of 5,151 projects by investing Rs. 2,05,018 crores within 6 years of establishment.

These examples clearly show that the cloud is not only a means to reduce costs, but also a catalyst for achieving digital and social transformation.

In the world of Web 3.0, why is an employee with the best IT certifications a company asset?

Web 3.0 is the next step in digital disruption, and we’re almost there. According to FICCI-EY’s 2022 report, it has the potential to add $1.1 trillion to India’s GDP by 2032.

However, the widespread movement of evolving technologies such as Web 3.0 has created a talent shortage in the cloud market. According to the NASSCOM report forecast for 2025, cloud talent shows a demand for 22 lakh professionals compared to just 15 lakhs of installed talent. This gap is especially wide for high-level cloud workloads.

Therefore, candidates with relevant certifications such as AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Security Specialist, AWS Certified Solution Architect, and AWS Certified Data Analytics are essential for organizations. A skilled workforce is essential to building, maintaining and hardening a virtualized platform. Our certified in-house team also ensures that everything runs smoothly, there is no downtime, and potential mistakes in data security measures are taken care of.

On the other hand, due to lack of talent, schedules are extended and projects are delayed. It also exacerbates issues such as data handling and regulatory compliance and prevents organizations from catching up with their competitors. As such, businesses are looking for professionals with thorough knowledge of blockchain, smart contracts, dApps, cryptography, web development, cybersecurity, AR/VR frameworks, and more.

Another thing to note here is that project schedules are always marred by skill gaps as well as skill shortages.

Therefore, organizations also offer programs that specifically address these skills. Many vendors, such as AWS, IBM, and Google, offer cloud training. In fact, the Indian Ministry of Education has partnered with AWS to provide free online courses on Cloud Computing and ML to students studying at AICTE partner universities.

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