What will Microsoft India cloud do for India and Indians

This article was published in Information Week India on 10th October and is reproduced in this blog.

India is poised for a digital revolution. With a government pushing digital services, and a huge focus on on empowering every citizen with an identity card, a bank account, insurance and a digital interface, the future is bright for IT in India. With the announcement of opening local data centers in India by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, Microsoft is well placed to explore the huge opportunities that will be unfolded in the days to come. 

The Microsoft India cloud proposes to begin with three data centers and will provide the world’s best cloud computing that India needs so desperately to handle the large volume of digital transactions,  need to cut down costs and handle the data that will be generated by digitally enabling a billion Indian citizens. Additionally, Microsoft will be able to offer their cloud services in a number of Indian languages, thus eliminating the need for English literacy for the Indian citizen. 

The Microsoft cloud technology is a proven, secure, reliable and a stable cloud platform which offers SAAS, PAAS and IAAS and excellent security controls.  By delivering cloud computing to serve a billion plus Indians, Microsoft has the opportunity to transform the country by digitally enabling business, government and citizens. 

Let’s look at some key sectors and the possible impact: 

Banking – Firms in the banking industry will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Microsoft India cloud. Banks can migrate their data centers and their business applications like core banking systems, customer relationship, collaboration tools, office automation and many more to the cloud allowing them to focus on their core business of banking and release prime real estate  which today hosts their  data centers.   Transaction costs for digital banking will be a pittance compared to brick and mortar banking and it will make banks customer focused, agile, secure and cost effective. 

Insurance – Insurance businesses have large volumes of data and is expected to grow exponentially as the larger uninsured population of India get covered for life and health.  India has one of the largest population of people who need to be insured with a  population demographic favoring the youth.

Financial Services – Companies that offer Micro Finance, Wealth Advisory, Broking, Leasing and other financial services will have an agile and reliable platform to effectively take their business national and reach to customers on a pan India basis. 

Exchanges – Exchanges which spend large amounts on keep their lights own in their data centers can breathe easy once they migrate to the Microsoft Cloud. The scalability, large bandwidth support, bursty traffic and large volumes of data can be handled in real time by the Microsoft cloud. The equity and commodity  markets will be able to handle large volumes and support more market players efficiently and at lower costs. 

Rating Agencies – Personal rating data of a billion citizens is a daunting task. However, with a cloud backbone it will be a breeze. It is clear that as more citizens get banked and become economically active they will get a rating.  Rating agencies can use the Microsoft cloud to service the billion Indians who will need a credit score as they become prosperous and move into a digital economy from a cash economy. 

SME – The SME sector has been a laggard in technology adoption but soon even a SME in a hamlet in India can use the latest technology solutions to improve their efficiency, supply chain management, collaboration. SAP partnering to offer their services with Microsoft in India on the cloud will be a great boon for SMEs to adopt global practices at affordable costs. 

Education – Today, it is a challenge to find enough computing power in many Indian institutions. The Microsoft cloud will open enough computing power for researchers, academics and students to enable them to produce better outcomes in science, medicine, bio- technology, engineering, mathematics, economics and many more subjects. The cloud will be the digital  library for the education institutions and will provide affordable computing solutions for academic administration.  

Government – Government e-Governance projects that still need deployment can be accelerated by using SAAS solutions that can be developed on the Microsoft platform. Governance processes can be streamlined by migrating to digital process thus making governance effective and efficient. Government at both Centre and States can easily provide citizen portals and e- governance interfaces for citizens for their interactions and dealing with Government. Government can use the citizen data to provide better services to Indians and also to monitor their various development initiatives.

Rural India – India lives in its villages said M K Gandhi. The Microsoft Cloud will provide world class computing to Indian villagers and will transform the rural population into a digitally enabled nation which can use the Microsoft Cloud for  farming, fishing, husbandry, horticulture, agriculture, weather and more. The Microsoft Cloud will give an opportunity for rural India to access the best teachers for educating their children and also to access information that they may need. 

Hospitals –  The interface between medicine and the cloud is real, whether it is for hospital management systems, tele-medicine, remote diagnostics or wearable devices — the list is endless.  India will benefit by being able to provide treatment for its billion citizens, control epidemics, plus collate data on its citizens well being. This can transform into a Big Data project with immense benefits to cut down on health management costs on its citizens. The immediate uses could be in research to manage Diabetes, Heart Disease, AIDS, Leprosy and Cancer. 

Entrepreneurship – The Microsoft India Cloud will provide computing needed by a million and more young Indian entrepreneurs’ who will benefit by using the world best cloud solutions from Microsoft to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Skill 

Development & Employment – The Microsoft Cloud will give a backbone to develop skills for the Indian youngsters in a number of vocations. The skilled workforce can be employed thus giving them a chance to contribute to the economic growth of India. 

Every Indian citizen will benefit by the Microsoft India Cloud. Similar to the way the cable TV transformed India; the next transformation will be into Digital India driven by the India cloud, as rival competitors could also launch similar offerings in India.  

In a few years from today citizens of India will wonder how they lived without their Digital devices. A Digital Nation will finally become a reality with a India cloud and this  will transform India and will herald economic prosperity and  better quality of life for every Indian citizen.
Read more at: http://www.informationweek.in/informationweek/perspective/298168/microsoft-india-cloud-india-indians?utm_source=referrence_article

Government and Our Data

A contentious issue  is about Governments and our personal data; but the Government already knows more about us then we can imagine.
At Birth our parents get a Birth Certificate and the Government records this in their data base, our date and time of Birth, hospital where born, your parents names and address and of course your gender is recorded in a data base.
When we join school our personal data is collected and during a Census personal data is again collected.
When we get our Driving License we need to give data including our name, parents name, date of birth, address, physical deformities and some bio-metrics.
When we apply for our Passport the Government collects data about us including bio-metrics; when we apply for a Visa to visit another country we readily give our personal data including bio-metrics.
We pay tax to the Government and have to provide both personal and financial data to the Government.

Central Library – Bangalore
The Government is the Custodian of Citizen Data

When we die our data is collected by the Government to issue our survivors a death certificate before we are laid to rest.
Thus through the cycle of Birth, Living and Death the Government has adequate Data about us.
Let us consider secondary data that Government can easily access about us with a simple government or court order. They can get data about our telephone and mobile call records, which gives our location and also all our text messages, they can also get our records on email and social media.
Credit rating bureaus have data about us to measure our financial health, when requested they have to share this with the Government, also our data can be collected through financial regulators in our country. Insurance data bureaus have data about our health and risk profile when we are insured and also the total value of the insured amount to prevent fraud; this has to be provided to the Government when needed.
Secondary data about us can be collected from other sources by the Government, it is never a challenges once the Government Machinery moves in and we are the target of a Governmental investigation .
So when we talk about privacy about our Data I wonder what more information the Government may seek about us which they do not have in their database.
Once the Government has a central view of the data of an individual it is easy to manage and protect its country and citizens.
Your thoughts and comments on this are welcome!