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

SME in India may not be ready for the Cloud

The SME sector in India has been identified as the sector that is ready to adopt cloud computing and also benefit the most because its IT Deployment is limited today.
But as one engages with the SME sector we find its leaders are ignorant about IT Management other then using a financial software on a PC the trust factor is abysmally low.
The SME is mostly owner run in India and privately held and has been mainly built by entrepreners with an healthy knowledge and specific niche skills.

It is a long road for Indian SME to adopt Cloud Computing.
Photo Credit : Amitav Thamba

The bankers, lenders and government have been spending years to list these SME companies with limited success, I recollect trying to list SME companies in 1991 which was disastrous in the OTC Exchange of India, it is the same fate of the two new SME exchanges started by NSE and BSE the leading stock exchanges of India.
To get the SME sector to speed it is important to allow them to deploy traditional onsite computing to demonstrate the benefits and build their trust. The SME sector is about 5 years behind schedule in adopting information technology  and about 10 years behind in adopting cloud computing.
Companies like Mindcraft a Mumbai based IT services company (mindcraft.in) in India are adding value to the SME sector by providing them C level expertise for their IT deployment and sustenance. This is the first step in getting SME’s in India to adopt computing, once they enjoy the benefits of computing only then they will be ready for cloud computing.
Mindcraft offers SME the same quality and responsiveness they offer corporate customers they support like large banks and financial institutions. They also add a strong IT leadership team and ITIL compliant IT support with quality and agility.
More companies need to start taking the SME to the first baby steps into computing into India to benefit the Indian economy and make an impact on the GDP of India.
This blogger welcome your thoughts and experiences with information technology as SME in India or as a IT service provider to the SME Sector.

Stock Exchanges in the Cloud for SMB/SME Business

Have been pondering about building stock exchanges in the cloud and whenever I tweet it is like placing an order in an exchange, the only difference being it is textual rather then monetary information.
NYSE and NASDAQ already use and provide cloud computing services for their members and I am sure there are a number of exchanges which also offer this facility.
Today I came across a  design for a stock engine bid matching engine in the cloud  by Mr. Ashish Banerjee http://www.ashishbanerjee.com/bid-matching-engine. in the public cloud using Amazon Web Services.

SMB/SME Exchanges in the Cloud will signify a New Era for trading!

Today’s blog is about designing a Stock Exchange in the Cloud for SMB (Small and Medium Business) or also called as SME ( Small and Medium Enterprises) in India.
SMB/SME are burdened with expensive debt and an exchange for listing their equity will  allow them to reduce their cost of debt and also distribute the business risks to shareholders.
As large corporations get bruised the future will belong to the SMB/SME Business who are agile and nimble and hungry for growth. The SMB/SME  provide employ a large number of people and also contribute significantly to the economic growth.
The SMB/SME companies need low threshold for listing and also adequate liquidity for their stocks, thus the ideal solution will be to have integrated exchange  depository and clearing house. The cloud provides an ideal and secure platform for  building such an exchange.
Here are the benefits of moving SMB/SME Exchanges to the cloud
1. Quick setup of the exchange, can be accomplished in weeks.
2. Reliability, Latency and everything else that the Cloud Offers.
3. Economical storage of data.
4. Low start up cost
5. Agility and Innovation
6. Low cost of ownership which relates to lower transaction cost.

The SME/SMB stock exchanges should be owned and  built by the SMB/SME Industry Associations rather then the larger exchanges.
A frugal and Gandhi engineering approach is needed for these exchanges to make them viable.
A regulator is still be needed to oversee the operations, but the regulator must insist more on self regulation rather then imposing stringent controls which are normally required for the larger exchanges.
Well these could be baby steps in new era of exchange technology but if these SME/SMB exchanges in the cloud are successful it will not be long before the bigger exchanges move into the Cloud.