The second edition of the annual GIC Conclave 2012 held in New Delhi stressed the need for adopting location-based strategies for GICs. Centered on the theme of ‘Co-creating Value’, the two day conclave provided a platform to share global best practices, success stories, new business models and strategies. It also addressed the various challenges faced by the GIC segment.
Delivering his keynote address, Montek Singh Ahluvalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning commission of India, said that the Government had noted the importance of GICs for the country's economic growth. “To foster economic growth, GIC-related investment should happen in India. Moreover, GICs should look for possible markets inside the country while meeting the needs of their parent company,” he added.
Som Mittal, President, NASSCOM, said, “GICs are one of the important components of the global services market and they have always delivered on their mandate of providing meaningful cost savings while adding capabilities to their parent organizations. These centers have unique structural advantages as they have access to intrinsic offshoring strengths and are able to deliver more complex products.” Increasingly, these centers are acting as institutions of excellence, backed by innovative business partners.
According to Noshir Kaka, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, client expectations of GICs are changing throughout the world. “Even if cost and productivity stand first and foremost, companies have started to give greater importance to business outcomes than before.”
During his speech, Howard Elias, President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC Corporation, said that the world economy was shifting. “Today, India and China are driving most of the business. People from different parts of the world are more interconnected and their expectations are changing. This is providing GICs with tremendous opportunities to add value beyond the traditional focus on cost and productivity.”
The GIC model is continuously evolving and moving up the value chain, offering high value services, end-to-end ownership and global leadership. In India, these centers are providing value addition in four key areas namely operational efficiency, high skill capabilities, total customer experience and revenue impact. While operational efficiency drives cost-efficient operations with continuous productivity improvements, high skill capabilities offer higher expertise processes delivered end-to-end, expanding to upstream segments on core processes. Total customer experience is driving operations focused on end-customer needs by adapting processes to address customer needs. All this will result in an impact on topline growth by extending services and building new ones.
During a session, Kush Kamra, Senior Vice president, Global Operations, CMD, Global Operations Support Centre, Metlife, said that GICs could effectively reduce their costs through internal operating practices, expense management, adopting lean Six Sigma and proactive capital investments with effective returns.
Across the country, GICs have been witnessing growth with revenues reaching close to $14 billion for FY12. Having a growth rate of 18%, they generated 21% of the industry’s export revenues.
Nitin Seth, Managing Director, FIL India Business Services, said that, at present, the GIC model of business continued to be robust and that it accounted for 70% cost savings from the total cost of ownership perspective. “However, the needs of first phase GICs and second phase GICs are quite different. In the second phase, GICs should become revenue centers and, for that, robust leadership is required. They should also focus on value addition in the next level of growth.” he added.
According to Pari Natarajan, Co-founder and CEO, Zinnov Management Consulting Pvt. Ltd., in the new economic scenario, product companies were shifting to service-oriented business models. “Here, due to its distinct ecosystem, Indian centers have an opportunity to play a key role in guiding the parent company through this transformation”
The conclave also discussed best practices that GICs could adopt for their growth and value addition frameworks in order to help these centers emerge as strategic ones. On the sidelines of the GIC Conclave, NASSCOM in association with its partners released three reports about the GIC landscape in India. The first study, Cost Competitiveness of Global In-house Centers (GICs) in association with the research firm Everest Group, detailed the state of the GIC model with growth and adoption trends. The second study on Strategy for location assessment, in association with KPMG, is based on interaction with the leaders of more than 30 GICs. In association with McKinsey & Co, the third report titled, Unlocking the full potential of GICs – Status update and emerging findings from operations benchmarking stated that the offshore centers continue to deliver strong performance with customer satisfaction continuing to be strong and rising.
Samsung Forum 2012 commenced with a bang revolving as it did around the theme of Pushing Boundaries, which was an apt theme echoed by the smorgasbord of products that were announced. Apart from introducing solutions in the consumer space, the vendor’s enterprise solutions showcased innovation and ease of use.
The first product to be announced was the Samsung Notebook Series 9. Uday Bhat, Director - IT Solutions Business, Samsung India, said, “The new Samsung Notebook Series 9 represents the ultimate in craftsmanship towards engineering and premium design with its refined aerodynamic design.” It also announced the Samsung Series 5 ULTRA powered by second generation Intel Core i5 processor. Ultrabooks will be making waves in the enterprise in coming years due to various drivers the foremost being an increasingly mobile workforce.
Ranjit Yadav, Country Head - Mobile & IT Business, Samsung India, commented, “We are serious about our enterprise venture and looking at 100% growth in the coming year.”
Enterprise solutions were showcased in the Smart Zone with technical experts diving into details. Apart from that, one could indulge in live demos of these solutions.
Samsung's Smart Healthcare solution termed Dr. Smart enables doctors to connect to a hospital’s EMR system anytime, anywhere and effectively communicate with patients through medical systems. Doctors can use their tablets to connect to the hospital server and view a list of their patients and their detailed medical history along with past and current treatment plan through the Dr. Smart mobile client. They can also access reference materials including manuals and medical sites to help them in their diagnosis and research. The solution helps doctors in monitoring the condition of patients in real time. It has been successfully deployed across several hospitals. One of the most successful being the Samsung Medical Center in Seoul. Over 100 doctors are using this solution on their Galaxy Tab devices there.
The UD55A panel or the Smart Video Wall is designed to deliver a large image display area, made possible by its extremely narrow bezel. As per Samsung, the panels have low maintenance cost with powerful networking capabilities. The flexible video wall is a software solution, which enables the simultaneous playback of content across a grid of panels. The solution also supports irregular video walls.
The Smart Communication solution enables high quality video telephony. The solution includes support for audio and video calls as well as IM and presence. Key features of video telephony include presence management, profile management, call and chat history management as well as one-to-one or one-to-many chat. The solution also enables you to chat directly using the keypad of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Samsung has a slew of solutions that help executives on the move to do their work more efficiently while in transit. The VPN solution enables executives to stay connected to their offices and e-mail through a secure Web browser-based VPN network. Multiple layers of security and authentication ensure that all data access is secure and that no unauthorized access can take place. This solution is available on the company’s Android devices.
Security has become all the more important thanks to BYOD and the growing mobile workforce. Samsung’s mobile security solution has On Device Encryption to protect mobile data. Users can protect their internal and external memory data in case of loss or theft. The solution has to be triggered from Mobile Device Management or Microsoft Exchange server by the user company’s IT manager.
The device management tool provides IT managers with a complete solution to implement their device related policies. This solution supports over 85 IT policies on Android. Some of the unique features of this solution include Remote Lock and Unlock, Remote Device Wipe, Password Policy Control, Process Control and Asset Tracking.
Smart Advisor enables the user to get expert advice for insurance planning. It includes product comparisons, planning, detailing and storage of related documents. This solution has been implemented by ICICI Prudential on a pan India basis.
Smart Education has many different modules to meet the specific requirements of the education sector. The Smart School solution includes the Samsung Interactive Whiteboard. Some key features of the solution include lecture management, screen share, monitoring, control devices, content share, Q&A test etc.
Smart Insurance is a dedicated solution for professionals in the insurance sector. One of its early adopters has been ICICI Prudential that has bought 800 to 1,000 Galaxy Tabs. For this solution, Samsung has tied up with Cisco WebEx, Citrix for the thin-client, Sybase for mobile device management and Juniper for security. Apart from these, there were other vertical-specific solutions like the Smart Sales Management solution, Smart School, Smart Hospitality etc. Samsung also announced a foray into remote management, which works on a Cloud model.
Last but not least the vendor unveiled its multi-functional printer, the SCX-3406FW, that has been designed with cost control and ease of management in mind and is targeted at SMBs.
IBM recently announced its foray into the converged infrastructure space with its PureSystems portfolio. Through this new offering, the company claims that it has not only integrated compute, storage and networking into one box but it has also taken it to the next level through strong integration with the management and application layers.
According to the company, most organizations end up spending months in getting the right hardware, applications and then making the hardware and applications integrate and interface with each other. According to a study conducted by it, two-thirds of corporate IT projects are delivered over budget and behind schedule and only one in five corporate IT departments are able to spend the majority of their IT budget upon innovation.
“Organizations end up either implementing general purpose systems and try to make them as flexible as possible or they take an appliance-based approach. Of late, they have also been looking at Cloud-based application roll outs as an answer to their changing IT requirements,” said Pradeep Nair, Director, Software Group, IBM India/South Asia.
According to Alok Ohrie, Director, Systems & Technology Group, IBM India/South Asia, organizations spent six months or more in just deploying the products that they had procured, which further translated into project delays of 12 to 18 months.
IBM's PureSystems portfolio is aimed at easing these deployment pains. Integrating server, storage and networking into one system, with virtualization and system management capabilities on-board, the technology offering is based on a scale-in design that, IBM claims, offers a higher degree of flexibility, stronger application integration and greater computing power.
The technology offering also employs what IBM calls Patterns of Expertise, software-based, predefined best-practice configurations for the applications that are typically deployed in an enterprise environment. The company claims that with Patterns of Expertise, an organization can setup, configure, deploy applications and get them to integrate with the hardware and other applications within a few minutes, thereby bringing down deployment time from days or months to just a few hours.
The third component of the offering is PureApplications, which is a set of applications that have been optimized to integrate with Web and database applications. They are aimed at reducing the deployment, configuration, integration and tuning time for applications.
According to Ohrie, over 100 ISVs have partnered with IBM to optimize applications for the PureFlex environment. The launch presentation for the solution also saw the company claiming up to 300% increased performance for critical applications.
Helene Armitage, General Manager, Systems Software and Growth Solutions, IBM Systems & Technology Group, was of the view that an MSP with 30 Unix servers, 22 storage systems and 200 x86-based servers consolidated on a single PureFlex system could see up to 71% or $2.6 million worth of savings on system OPEX and up to 53% or $2 million worth of savings on management costs.
Taking the conversation further from an application perspective, Barbara Cain, President, Business Analytics Product Management and Growth Initiatives, IBM Business Analytics Software Group, said that the PureSystems offered up to 30 times faster application deployment, 53% reduction in management time and 53% reduction in change management.
The systems support both IBM Power and x86 based processors and Windows, Linux and Unix environments.
The new solution puts IBM directly in competition with vendors such as Cisco, HP and Oracle that had launched offerings in this space. When quizzed about it, Armitage was of the view that Cisco and HP had made considerable advances in this sphere, with HP leading the curve in addressing system management issues. IBM has not only learnt from the competition but built the system based on its decades of experience in the data center space.
The PureSystems offering is available in three flavors—Express, Standard and Enterprise with the Express version starting at $100,000 and the company is employing its traditional sales channels to go-to-market with the new offering.
IBM has already signed up one customer in the mid-size segment and is at a POC level with several others.
The emergence of Cloud computing and the convergence of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) has transformed the industry. In line with its commitment towards creating solutions for the Indian enterprise segment, Huawei Enterprise showcased its ICT products and solutions as part of the company’s Enterprise Roadshow 2012. The roadshow offered a glimpse of the company’s array of ICT products and solutions inside a 50 foot demo truck. The demo truck will travel to major cities across India including New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. The event also witnessed the unveiling of Next Generation Telepresence Business Solutions leveraging HD technologies.
Having a central theme of Innovation Unplugged as part of this activity, Huawei Enterprise had five different focus areas showcasing telepresence, video surveillance, ECC, Unified Communications and IPCC solutions targeted at the Indian enterprise. “The enterprise business in India is poised for growth and associated IT applications are undergoing radical changes. In light of this, the launch of our next generation enterprise products coincides with the growing willingness of enterprises to set up a next-generation ICT architecture. As part of our enterprise expansion plans here, we will focus on providing information and communication technology solutions for sectors such as transport, energy, telecom, finance and others. In order to offer enterprise users premium products and services, we will continue developing innovative enterprise networking products and solutions.” said Eric Yu, President, Huawei India
“As a frontrunner in the ICT space, Huawei has always focused its efforts towards meeting the specific requirements and challenges of various enterprises and, as a result, the company is providing Unified Communications consisting of IP telephony, multimedia conference, collaboration software, IP call center (IPCC) and telepresence solutions,” said Daniel Jiangqingsong, Vice President, Huawei Enterprise.
According to a Frost & Sullivan report, “On the rich communication front, video is becoming pervasive. Vendors are promising 3D presence on this front. There will be multi-modal access going forward. Solutions will also be context and presence aware. There is a rising need for collaborative, context-aware computing and telepresence.”
The adoption of conferencing solutions is growing. The government is the second largest spender on UC with a 19.1% share of this category. Within the government, judiciary, defense and administration are regular adopters of UC. There will be a major trend of Cloud communications, Web conferencing, audio-conferencing and these will likely go on the Cloud and will be managed by Cloud service providers. Focused on the requirements of various industries and enterprise clients, Huawei Enterprise’s UC solution is widely used in the government, finance, education, electric, petroleum, and hotel industries, large and medium enterprises and telecom carriers.
Huawei is also venturing forth into the data center space. In its transition from a CT to an ICT company, Enterprise Business would be a major thrust for Huawei and it is expected to clock $15 billion in revenues by 2015. Huawei has the capabilities to build tier 1 to tier 3 data centers. Cloud computing and virtualization are at the core of its strategy here. When it comes to the first, it is necessary to have the structure to begin with followed by the technology. Huawei's primary focus is on government, BFSI, transport, power and energy verticals. It will be offering its data centers and Cloud services through partners. Its enterprise solutions strategy revolves around customization and joint innovation.
The company’s product IP is being developed out of Indian R&D centers. It has 2,000 channel partners and over a thousand service partners across the globe. Huawei's primary focus in its venture in enterprise business would be around enhancing customer experience with a low TCO. The data center space is one of the fastest growing markets in India and Huawei Enterprise has charted out a strategy for this competitive market. As per Yu, Huawei wants to make just enough profit for 2012-13 to survive and grow from there.
As part of this live demonstration, Huawei Enterprise featured its horizontal solutions of Cloud Computing, Telepresence, Enterprise Network solutions and vertical solutions comprising of Intelligent Video Surveillance, e-Education and Smart Governance.
The products in the demo truck included IP telephony, e-Conferencing, collaboration software, IPCC and telepresence.
Metro Ethernet Forum or MEF as it is popularly known launched the Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) certification at a conference organized by Netevents in Hong Kong. CE 2.0 moves the ball forward by supporting multiple classes of services plus manageability across interconnected provider networks differentiating it from the simple standardized Ethernet service delivered over a single provider’s network now called Carrier Ethernet 1.0. The technology also allows operators to trace the path of a service on an end-to-end basis.
The certification is useful for both the subscriber and the service provider as it enables a mutual agreement on the standard set of techniques easing the implementation in real world networks. “It's not the solution or the be all and end all technique but it is a step along the way to a seamless global Ethernet LAN and it comes in four flavors—E-line, E-LAN, E-Tree and E-Access,” said Daniel Bar-Lev, Director, Certification Programs, MEF.
Divesh Gupta, Assistant Vice President of Pre-sales, PCCW Global, said, “When you look at E-Access from a customer's standpoint, it becomes important or rather necessary to provide end-to-end SLAs. In such scenarios, we provide the services over dedicated Ethernet or an E-Line or E-LAN that guarantees end-to-end latency, factor loss, availability and all kinds of SLAs that the customers demand of us.”
According to Gupta, unless a company provided the last leg of end-to-end connectivity it wasn’t good enough. “CE 2.0 certification will ensure that a service provider provides meaningful SLAs to the end customer,” he added.
Also, with a set standard, reliance on testing each time that a company connects to a new operator would reduce given the fact that both sides would be talking the same language.
Jim Machi, SVP Marketing, Dialogic Corporation, said, “With Ethernet 2.0, the mobile backhaul situation would improve considerably. Backhaul refers to the data on our phone, which goes to a mobile tower and subsequently on the network. Currently, most mobile carriers use TDM equipment which costs about $6-7 billion per year. By using Ethernet instead of TDM, they can guarantee a class of service, which is only possible through this initiative. Also, with the use of Ethernet in the backhaul, people will get better services.”
Basically, CE 1.0 defined how to deliver a standard Ethernet service so that all of the providers and equipment vendors knew what a service was—if it was point-to-point or multipoint-to-multipoint. CE 2.0 allows service providers and operators to utilize the infrastructure more efficiently.
“There's a bit of a delta in complexity with this new standard but vendors and service providers profit a lot more. They compensate themselves by virtue of the fact that they can now deliver many more services over the same infrastructure much more effectively, more quickly and at a lower operating cost while at the same time adding higher-value services,” said Bar-Lev of MEF.
The conference also delved into OpenFlow technology based on which vendors like HP have launched network applications. The technology has the potential to automate configurations, improve network efficiency and reduces the total cost of ownership.
Bruce Bateman, Networking Evangelist APJ, Dell Force10, said, “The community is changing; the customers are asking for more openness and open standards; they are demanding products that have the ability to interact with other devices.”
Highlighting the problems faced by current day data centers, Dr. Atsushi Iwata, Assistant General Manager of Cloud System Research Laboratories, NEC, said, “The current problem in the data center market is that, due to the increasing number of virtualization software on the server side, dynamic network configuration to support these environments and flexible flat layer 2 network configuration among several racks is required. This has numerous limitations. The current data center also has to support a lot of tenancy (which provides isolation for servers, storage and network for each tenant) for different customers, and the current number of VLANs is limited to 4,000, whereas the customer wants to have more than 4,000 because of the flexibility and control of those tenants. All of this is not supported by the current system.”
According to Iwata, OpenFlow could solve this problem. SDN provides network virtualization capability that renders a slice of virtualized network from layer 2 to layer 4, and this can allow flat layer 2 networks for each tenant.
However, this is not easy to accomplish and migrating to a completely virtualized network would probably take a while. Bateman of Dell believed that the need for virtualizing the network would arise not so much from a technology perspective but from a financial point of view as an organization typically wouldn’t even know what kind of technology it is using or would be appropriate for its data centers. In fact, most of the time, they don't know what they want; all they know is that their requirement is so and so and that these are the things that we don’t want.
“Data center owners currently want to reduce their OPEX and, by spending a little bit on CAPEX, they can reduce their operating costs. For this they need products that support new technologies such as OpenFlow, OpenStack and that’s where the change will begin to happen. It will take a few years as it is also a cultural issue,” explained Bateman.
“The other drivers for SDN or OpenFlow would be things like Big Data, Hadoop type environments, consumerization of IT, mobility etc. that are coming together and will drive a lot of change. So, the combination of these things, the need for bandwidth and smart application awareness in the network will drive the data center transition,” said Mark Pearson, Chief Technologist, Data Center and Core, Advanced Technology Group, Networking, HP.
Pearson concluded, “We need to think about the degree of openness from the device layer, through the controller layer and also from the end solutions perspective. Based on that, the enterprise-grade solution needs to fulfill, the complete testing, support processes and all those things that come together in the ecosystem.”
“There are expected to be four billion applications across the world by 2015 and the businesses that manage to survive would be the ones that will leverage their data optimally,” said Shalil Gupta, Director, Financial Insights and Consulting, IDC at the EMC media conference that concluded recently in Mysore.
Big data technologies are in the limelight of late. Now that analytics over structured data is well rooted, analyzing unstructured data is expected to be the next wave in analytics.
According to Rajesh Janey, President, EMC India and SAARC, solutions around big data formed a major focus area for the vendor that was evolving from being an enterprise storage company into a Cloud and big data company.
The worldwide big data market is estimated to be around $3.2 billion growing at a CAGR of 39.4% to reach $16.9 billion by 2015. The advanced data analytics segment is expected to grow at over 25% up till 2015 even in India. “Big data systems will impact data center designs in a big way in the near future,” remarked Gupta.
A lot of vendors are gearing up to capitalize on this wave and so is EMC. The vendor announced two key launches, one a product and the other in the services sphere.
Automating the Government
The launch of Documentum xCP Saksham eGov Case Management, a process management solution aimed specifically at government departments and PSUs in India, was announced during the event. The solution developed by the EMC Center of Excellence in Bengaluru packs in archival, retrieval, retention and security features and comes with basic configurations, which can be modified as per the customer's needs. The solution is aimed at automating the processes of government departments and agencies.
EMC is currently in the process of deploying the solution at two government offices, the names of which were not disclosed. These two implementations are expected to be completed by the end of this quarter.
EMC is looking at data intensive government projects including NREGA, UID, NIC and Passport Seva for this solution.
On-demand Cloud Storage
EMC and Tulip announced their tie-up to provide Cloud-based, on-demand storage services and back-up-as-a-service from Tulip's data center in Bengaluru. According to Deepinder Bedi, Executive Director, Tulip Telecom, “Our Data Center in Bengaluru is a state of art data facility spread across 0.9 million square feet that has a capacity of up to 12,000 racks. It is from this data center that the two new services—hosted storage and backup on demand are being launched.”
Bedi explained that, as the offerings grew, Tulip would evaluate the possibility of offering them from its other data centers. The services will be offered on various models, including pay-per-use in order to appeal to SMBs. “The cost for a customer could be as low as sub Rs. 100 per month, per gigabyte,” revealed Janey.
As of now, EMC is looking to tap the existing customer base of the Tulip Data Center, about 2,500 customers, for these services.
Is India ready for the Cloud?
This was the question that the last leg of the event deliberated upon. Cloud computing is expected to generate close to a hundred thousand jobs in the next five years, but do we have a resource pool competent enough for this massive opportunity?
EMC has tied up with over 200 educational institutes in India in order to offer courses on Cloud computing and big data. “Last year, the firm trained 45,000 students from various engineering and management institutes and polytechnics,” revealed Janey.
Under its Academic Alliance Program, the company has trained over a hundred thousand students globally of which 75,000 are in India. The company started by offering courses in integrated storage management in 2005 and has now added Cloud computing and big data in the curriculum it offers.
NMIMS, Amity University and BITS Pilani, among others are a few of the institutes that have tied up with EMC.
At its recent Infrastructure Operations and Data Center Summit, Gartner provided its 2012 outlook for the Indian data center market. The analyst firm estimated that the Indian IT infrastructure market consisting of servers, storage and networking equipment would reach $2.05 billion in 2012, growing 10.3% from 2011. It also predicted that the IT infrastructure market was expected to reach $3.01 billion by 2016.The findings further indicated that storage would have a CAGR of 18.9%.
According to Aman Munglani, Research Director, Gartner, the primary reasons for this growth could be attributed to the fact that enterprise storage requirements were on the rise and that storage capacities were expected to grow by 60-70% in the next five years.
Server growth for the same period was estimated to be a lower 5.8%. Munglani attributed the lower figure to the fact that organizations continued to virtualize their server infrastructure thereby increasing utilization levels and reducing the need to deploy additional servers. However, he was quick to point out that most Indian organizations were beyond the phase where they saw virtualization as a cost reduction exercise. Rather, they saw it as a means to make their IT infrastructure agile. With organizations looking to go from being 30-40% virtualized to around 70% virtualized, spending on x86 virtualization is expected to continue.
Navin Mishra, Principal Analyst, Gartner, said that virtualization would be looked at as more of a business enabler to shorten time to market. Organizations that have deployed virtualization, will start seeing business value within the next one year. Organizations were also said to be looking at modular data centers, which was leading to spending on networking equipment. Also with bandwidth requirements on the rise, organizations were looking at fatter pipes, which would further augment spending on networking.
Blade servers have seen strong adoption and organizations are looking at stacking as many as 120 blades in a single rack. Fueled by the interest in modular data centers, blade servers will continue to see rapid growth. On the storage front, organizations are investing in scale-out systems. Given the adoption of virtualization and blades, overall hardware buying may slow down. Though organizations would not readily retire their old applications, especially those which still help them meet business goals, they will continue to invest in IT as the need arises.
Organizations are focusing on investing in technologies that can scale up in accordance with business requirements and save them the tedious process of IT infrastructure procurements that can take up to a year or so. Converged infrastructure has found few takers. While there are products from almost all leading vendors such as Cisco, IBM and HP, there have been few known deployments as the solutions are relatively new and are on the expensive side. Moreover, organizations could end up spending almost six to nine months procuring, testing and deploying these solutions on account of their newness.
As these solutions offer, compute storage and networking in one box, organizations are worried about excessive dependence on a single vendor for support and services. Having said that, organizations will test and go on to adopt converged IT infrastructure as they get more comfortable using these solution infrastructure spends in organizations, particularly in large enterprises, for the next few years will be focused on building private Clouds. Mid-sized and smaller enterprises will evaluate the prospect of building a private Cloud but start off by purchasing Cloud services from a service provider.
Munglani also highlighted the fact that a lot of IT infrastructure adoption would be driven largely by data center service providers. They would be looking at providing managed, co-location or Cloud services. While this could lead to greater technology adoption by service providers than by enterprises, it would not greatly affect the revenues of IT infrastructure vendors. Mishra observed that enterprises were increasingly focusing on adopting co-location and hosting services and estimated a 20% CAGR increase in the market for data center services between 2012 to 2016. The managed services industry, according to Gartner, is expected to grow at around 25% CAGR over the next three to four years.
Cloud service adoption is currently slow. By 2013-14, the Cloud would start seeing healthy adoption and this would impact the way that data center managers manage their IT set-ups. Hybrid Clouds would see good adoption by then. As hybrid Cloud adoption grows, the role of an IT manager or CIO would change from focusing on 'keeping the lights on' to that of an IT service broker to the enterprise, creating service catalogs, compliance frameworks and governance policies.
We are witnessing the ICT revolution. Our entire life is engaged around ICT. Examining ICT's impact on governance, he stated that it was going to cause a much larger divide than the industrial revolution. Life in a post-industrial society is based on services. In such a scenario, questions arise as to the impact of information on society and how people communicate.
Saxena commented, "One of the dimensions is the citizen and society. Another dimension is governance. The best governance is minimum governance. It is the ideal governance. It would mean creating a market of services."
Technology will make public service ubiquitous. Saxena stated, "There will be a democratization of innovation along with sustainable governance. Medieval governance responds to the traditional continental conception of public administration that we all know but may never have experienced."
Coining the concept of 'Consumindividualism' that means the highest consumption of technology he said that governance was at a minimum in this state as there was a lot of consumerism. He touched upon another model, that of thin or zero, open government.
A connected government is what society is seeking today. He urged members of society to come forward and collaborate with the government. Saxena said, "Faced with a changing environment, e-Governance returns power to the actors at the local level and focuses on enabling innovation and learning."
There are a lot of roadblocks on the way to a connected government. The major roadblock is around digital literacy and connectivity. He concluded the session by saying that technology was going to lead to Cloud government, green government, open government and digital empowerment.]]>
He explained how the Cloud, although treated as a threat by the government, was actually being used by it for storing data. "The NIC data center stores data on the Cloud at the NIC premises," he explained.
Naik stated that the advantages of the Cloud were related to the management of digital assets. "Land records, for example, have to be stored in perpetuity and can never be deleted. Hence, we have to create policies around saving data and its lifecycle," he added.
Talking about the various threats to data, he said that, besides a Web site being hacked or records being manipulated, there were other threats to critical infrastructure and attacks could come, not just from external sources, but also internal ones. The question then arises as to how an organization goes about protecting data from its own employees.
Given that the most common form of attack is targeted spam, about 25% of the computers that are used to launch these attacks are from tier 2 and 3 cities.
"The question that we all need to ask ourselves is, is my data protected? We need to ensure the security of our information as well as that of consumers," he concluded.]]>
Singh asserted that the future of computing lay in openness and building a culture of guest devices in organizations. "You must allow the use of devices but, at the same time, you have to ensure seamless provisioning. You need to ensure that secure device management is happening on the network," he added.
Rajesh Kumar, Senior Technical Consultant at Juniper India, talked of reinventing the data center network. He said that the consolidation of data centers was happening, which had led to the integration of multiple data centers into one and the outsourcing of applications outside the data center.
"Multiple applications run on a single server with virtualization being a key focus area. Storage too is being virtualized and people are talking about converged Ethernet," Kumar said.
He explained how with the proliferation of Web 2.0, 70% of traffic resided within data centers today. "Data center traffic patterns have changed. To meet this trend, a low latency architecture is required," he said.
In line with current trends, Kumar suggested that data centers should be based on the models of scalability, high performance, simplicity and lower costs.]]>
According to Ladak, nanotechnology was going to change the way that healthcare was provided in India. Wipro has been developing products for this sector. It has come up with a sticker-based solution that can be worn by women who are at the end of their pregnancy in order to monitor their heartbeat and other vital statistics. It can also be worn at the outset. "This can be monitored on a tablet, desktop etc over a wireless network," said Ladak.
He made a case that business process engineering was required in every sector and that healthcare was no exception to this rule. "Wipro is ready to help change healthcare. The business models need to change with the specifications for what will be manufactured and by whom. We are designing business models to meet fresh challenges. We would launch a cardiac monitoring machine soon," he said.
From patient providers to caretakers, the healthcare industry will see a sea change. With this the pressure on data will also rise, which is expected to grow to about 50 zettabytes or 50 trillion gigabytes by 2020.
All of these devices will create data on a 24x7 basis. However, researchers and doctors can conduct analysis on this data to formulate reports and solutions. "We at Wipro help in asset utilization and leverage remote patient monitoring," Ladak concluded.]]>
Kamath stressed the importance of securing data through physical infrastructure and by means of IP security. According to him, IP surveillance could be an effective way to combat threats. IP security is a digitized and networked version of analog CCTV. There are two types of IP cameras—centralized and decentralized. Touching upon IP surveillance's benefits, he explained that IP security had greater flexibility in terms of installation, better system integration in terms of partners and it relied on a standards-based open architecture. The important factors to consider while installing it are bandwidth and software applications. He elaborated on how IP surveillance could be utilized by the government sector noting that government buildings were high-value premises.
Giving examples of organizations wherein Digisol security solutions had been deployed, he listed Kendriya Vidyalaya where surveillance solutions from the vendor were being used in the library, canteen, examination hall etc. The latest to go for these solutions has been Annamalai University. Mentioned Kamath, "It prevents vandalism, streamlines administration and prevents unauthorized access." He mentioned various areas where this technology could be applied including toll nakas where it can reduced losses incurred due to octroi evasion. Another area of opportunity was that of public transport.
Kamath briefly talked about the portfolio of Digisol's solutions. The vendor has almost 25 models to offer. Most of its products are IPv6-ready.]]>
The delegates shared their challenges including how they could get the most from their existing infrastructure, considering the dearth of skilled talent. Simplifying management, data storage and retention, DR, whether cloud DR was a good option, sector-specific challenges, inflexible SIs, the lack of reliable power and its impact on data center design etc were all topics that came up. A point was made that, from the architectural perspective, systems were either over- or under-designed.
Venkat suggested that organizations should plan ahead for five years at a time. Another question that emerged was with regards to the role of standardization when it came to hardware. Organizations face dilemmas around interoperability with lots of silos existing in data centers. Dell's suggestion was that, since x86 is a standard in the compute environment, organizations could migrate their applications onto this platform.
The delegates were interested in the sustainability of services rather than the underlying hardware. Another problem raised was with regard to migrating from a proprietary architecture to an open one. Security was also listed as a major challenge, especially as the cyber awareness amongst users is low. Venkat stressed that Dell was supplying equipment to the US Army and Navy.
He explained that, before opting for any technology, you needed to figured out the sort of security that you needed. From security, the discussion turned to concerns around RFPs and the various things that had to be captured in one.
"The way to minimize gaps is to capture the fundamental needs," concluded Venkat.]]>
Mahadevan commented that, India as a business destination was not new to Orange Business Services (OBS). "The company has been doing business here for the last 50 years in another avatar called SITA. At that time, it used to be the air transport industry IT specialist," he said.
Orange, has been the third party auditor for the SWAN projects in Haryana and Chattisgarh. The company has also worked on irrigation projects in UP and for Stock Holding Corporation India.
"Recently, we heard about dial 108 for emergency medical help. Orange has implemented and worked on this project in a few states. In fact, we just commissioned a similar project for the kingdom of Bhutan, which had its own challenges in terms of terrain etc," Mahadevan informed.
Orange is also engaged in projects related to banks as well as India's defense forces. "We do a lot of work for the defense establishment including Assam Rifles, 2 Signals, Southern command etc.," he said.
"In India, we focus on two things. Firstly, we continue to connect the world to India and India to the world. For example, State Bank of India's overseas branches are connected by us. Similarly, if you look at Coca Cola, their Indian operations are connected to their global headquarters through our network," he explained.
The network has become a commodity. It is no longer solely about scalability, resilience etc. "Today, it is not just about the features of a network but what rides on it and how the service is delivered to the end user. That's of utmost importance, today," he added.
Orange operates in the areas of unified communication & collaboration encompassing all aspects of telephony, contact center solutions, video-conferencing, etc. "We work with almost everybody under the sun, including the likes of Cisco and Avaya, but not as a reseller. We are an implementer," said Saurabh Sanghoee, Head of Global Services, India OBS.
Sanghoee said that the majority of the company's business came from IT companies and BPOs where they were able to provide end-to-end services. OBS collects and aggregates calls from around the country or around the world, and then routes the same.
Orange also provides services for data centers. The company recently set up a data center for Himachal Pradesh Corporation Ltd and built a DR site for it in Chennai. "Besides building data centers, we also help manage them," said Mahadevan.]]>
Citizens are now participating in governance through social networking etc. Globally too, this has been a trend with people focusing on e-participation, e-service usage etc.
"The majority of mission mode projects have moved from the drawing board to the deployment stage. There have been numerous success stories like that of e-panchayat etc," said Narendra.
We have also succeeded in developing centralized application systems like that for the public distribution system (PDS), CCTNS etc. In all of this, mobile governance has been the biggest enabler.
However, India has slipped to the 125th position in the nations surveyed in the UN e-government survey, losing six places since 2010. Secondly, the pace of initiatives has to be improved.
Some major challenges that the country faces are in terms of lack of access to ICT, inadequate education infrastructure, low per capita income and the fact that other countries have progressed faster than us.
Moreover, the availability of funds has been a problem and, when they are available, they come attached with too many strings. Further, the absence of a holistic institutional mechanism to build and sustain ICT for development has been an issue. Lastly, there exist fragmented structures with inadequate capacity and technical know-how to manage IT.
To solve all of these problems, we need to move from a project approach to a product approach and create off-the-shelf solutions for the government's needs. "Focus on improving the quality of service and service enrichment and step back and ask questions like 'are citizens satisfied with the kind of services that we are offering?'," explained Narendra.
It is also important to leverage virtualization, Cloud computing and allied technologies for the government while at the same time enforcing uniform cyber security regime for all government projects.]]>
"There has been a lot of hype around Cloud computing with companies predicting the creation of two million jobs in India by 2015. Forrester Research has predicted that the global Cloud computing market will grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to $241 billion by 2020. With so many technology companies around, what matters is the support that comes with it," said Aggarwal.
With the Cloud, one can expect cost efficiency, asset optimization, lower upfront investment, flexibility of deployment, scalability and ease of maintenance. With increasing awareness, flexibility is cited as a bigger reason than cost. Also, with the adoption of the Cloud, companies can focus more on business and the administrative side of it and switch from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, paying only for what they use.
"The Cloud helps in cost savings, both from the supply as well as the demand side. It helps save on the cost of licensing and implementation," said Aggarwal.
However, there are a few challenges preventing widespread adoption. Security and privacy are the primary challenge, followed by financial management, vendor management, regulatory compliance, operational difficulties and issues in cases of international sovereignty.
To ensure the proper use of this technology, a few steps can be followed such as conducting a proper risk assessment before moving to Cloud, storing only non-private data and ensuring data encryption. Also, responsibilities should be allocated with who is responsible for what document.]]>
Talking about virtualization, he said that the technology had changed the face of data centers. Along with virtualization, there are many technologies that work side by side in a data center, be it security, network etc. Email has emerged as the most popular service.
"Though VMware is predominantly known for virtualization, we do more than that. We provide data center consolidation by virtualizing physical servers and enabling organizations to run fewer physical servers. We build the private Cloud for our customers on their own infrastructure and data centers," said Mehrotra.
With virtualization, companies can save up to 80-90% of their operational costs as the day-to-day IT costs come down. Also, according to a study done by IDC, there are more virtual machines running today than physical ones. "Virtualization is the foundation of Cloud computing. The moment you virtualize, you start to go further. It is the beginning of the journey to the Cloud," he said.
VMware also manages SLAs for applications, which run in virtual data centers. "We also offer business continuity or disaster recovery solutions to our clients," he added.
Talking about BYOD, he said that VMware had solutions that ensured the secure delivery of services/software. "Moving on, as part of our desktop solutions, we deliver a smart desktop to smart devices. You can access your desktop from any device be it a smartphone or a tablet," he added.]]>
"Today, there are a considerable number of targeted attacks, some of which are even state sponsored. The government has been the biggest victim of such attacks," he added. In situations like this, traditional firewalls aren't enough.
Another major route for launching a targeted attack is through social networking sites. Today, almost everyone is on one or the other social network and tracking a person's interests is easier than it used to be. In such a scenario, a person is a soft target and malware can easily be targeted towards him by matching his interests.
There have been numerous discussions around Cloud computing and its architecture. However, there is no particular security strategy that is followed when using the Cloud. This means that the strategy for security should be aligned to the platform that's being used by a company.
"In the government, there are a lot of physical servers and there has to be security, not just for the data on these servers but also for virtualized data. Therefore, we recommend having several layers of security," said Sarkar.
A zero trust security model is required. "The question that we should keep asking ourselves is if our security infrastructure is enough? Are we 100% safe?," he asked.
Further, companies should always adopt best practices and keep checking their security modules. They need to have a network monitoring module as it enhances security.
"There is no magic bullet to ensure complete security but you need to have a defensive security strategy. Incident response, is a key requirement. How quickly you can respond to an attack adds to the competency," Sarkar concluded.]]>
eNlight Cloud from ESDS is a cross-platform DR solution. It works with nine platforms. According to Papneja, "There are several compelling reasons for going in for a cross-platform DR service. It provides the highest level of redundancy."
x86 technology adoption, the global slowdown, vendor resilience, multiple levels of fail-safe and platform independence are all common challenges. One can be free of proprietary system concerns when it comes to cross-platform DR.
"There is a lot of licensing cost in proprietary DR along with the need for expensive support."
x86 systems can handle any kind of workload and are able to give diverse OS support. They are widely accepted in the Cloud. ESDS offers a pay-per-use model. He concluded, "One cannot overlook the fact that many organizations prefer to switch to an outsourced model these days."
ESDS has a tier 3 data center facility, it is a SAP-certified hosting partner, has an intelligent auto-scalable platform and manages 7,000 servers.]]>
2011 was a year of financial attacks worldwide. Hacktivism, state-sponsored attacks and financial gain are some of the most talked about trends right now. E.g. A Bangladeshi group claims to have hacked 20,000 Web sites. Another instance was of Mitsubishi's site, which was breached in Japan.
There are different types of attacks—targeted, volumetric, social engineering, low and slow etc. Most attacks happen due to human and not because of technological vulnerabilities. A volumetric attack can be done with network flooding, server flooding, application (Web/DNS connection-based attacks), low and slow attacks etc.
Then there's the bot problem, which is big because it is outbound in nature. Here, the attack methods are through attachments, browser, rogue apps, media etc and there are tutorials online on this.
Organizations can end up being primary or secondary victims. In the latter instance, an organization's resources are used to attack another. Simply adding technologies is not enough. He suggested, "We need to combine people, policy and processes. The most secure environment is the one where people are actively part of the security setup. Employees need to be educated, policies have to be adopted according to changing needs etc. The combat strategy should be around unknown threats and unknown vulnerabilities as these are the most dangerous."
Awasthi concluded that "united we stand". Expertise, particularly, incident response experts, research experts and incident response gear are required.]]>
"90% of printing costs are burdened costs. Only 10% of the infrastructure cost is constant. This kind of outsourcing services have not been considered to be essential by organizations, especially those in the government sector. The government spends 6-12% of its OPEX on printing. A lot can be saved and improved upon by using the outsourcing model to reduce cost and enhance productivity and efficiency," he said.
He gave the example of one organization that was spending $1 million on managing its printing setup. MPS can free IT resources, reduce inventory and bring down the cost of document management. It can be a social cause as it helps in reducing carbon emissions by 60%, which is vital for the government thanks to its focus on green initiatives. It improves information sharing across agencies. It also improves security, compliance and response.
"Organizations should implement MPS for ongoing optimization, lifecycle management and environmental goals. The goal should be to manage cost," he said.]]>
From the security perspective, he mentioned that 7,000 Web sites with .in domains had been hacked. ONGC, BSNL and TRAI were among these. According to him, the major challenges were around false identities, legal status and channel consultation.
Web application security, LAN security and compliance, information security framework can help here. Organizations need to implement ISO-27001 covering the domains of security policy, asset management, compliance, access control, human resources security, communication & operational management, BCP plus information security & incident management.
Web application security is an area of concern. In this area, most of the attacks are based on SQL injection.
Looking at the nature of attacks, 90% of the time they can be taken care of. Organizations need to follow OWASP, integrate application security into the software development lifecycle, train developers, be PCI DSS compliant as well as develop and maintain secure systems and applications.
Many threats come from within and, in such a scenario, organizations can ensure that all machines are secured. "Organizations need to ensure that everything is secured at the endpoint. There have to be policies followed pre- and post-connect. One has to see what is going out of the network." He concluded saying that organizations should also do scan incident analysis.]]>
The delegates felt that organizations did not know where the data leaks were. The Cloud was put forth as another threat since it was not clear where data resided in a Cloud environment.
The government is an important sector for hacktivists because it has a repository of critical data. The delegates felt that the major area of blockage for the government was that it concealed too much.
The Check Point team mentioned that, from a security perspective, it was vital to be transparent in terms of what could happen. E.g. in 2011 an Indian organization was attacked. The organization knew that the attacker was from China. It was not revealed but the hacker tweeted it online.
There were contradictory opinions, wherein some delegates thought that it was mostly hype with instances of government organizations being attacked being given undue prominence.
According to the Check Point team, India is a major focal point for hackers. They suggested that, even if policies were in place, it did not help if there was no awareness. An effective method was for organizations to implement sensors and identify communication patterns.
According to Check Point, it had analyzed 112 organizations and found that 99% had bots on the network. These were organizations with high end security infrastructure.
During a crisis it is usually the crisis management group in the state IT department, NIC or DIT that is called upon for help. The discussion ended with a statement that security in today's environment is all about being proactive rather than reactive.]]>
Answering a query about a DR site, which was not dependent on existing hardware and software, Papneja said, "The solution can be the eNlight virtual network platform. If there are multiple branches in your organization, then they have to be connected with the DR network. Therefore, the primary site will be the DC site while the secondary site would be the DR site. At the DR site, we would have a cluster of systems, about four or five DR boxes, on top of which the virtualization layer would rest and, on top of that, the virtual machines. These would run consuming the minimum resources that are required for data replication. Whenever the system at the DR site receives more load, it will automatically scale up and attach additional CPUs or RAM. Hence, DR can happen automatically."
An official present at the discussion raised a query of what was to be done, if the DR site had to be used for MIS, Papneja replied, "MIS replication has to be done exactly like in a data center. If you have the database application in the DC, then there will be a replicated application on the DR site as well."
It is not necessary to have the entire hardware at the DR site. In fact, if a company is using eNlight, then it only needs a few things. "When everything is happening at your main DC, the only thing that you are doing is replicating data. Therefore, the client only pays for the bandwidth as there is no processing happening," explained Papneja.
Concluding the discussion, Papneja said that the concept of eNlight was that customers paid less for the DR site; about 10% of the cost of the original DC. When disaster strikes, all of the users are diverted to the DR site, which scales up automatically and provides the resources that are required at that point of time.]]>
Comments and opinions from the delegates present were invited. These varied from concerns about the cost of printing to the problem of counterfeit ink/toner. Most officials agreed on the fact that the cost of printing was high and had to be brought down. Secondly, although computers are expected to make the office environment paperless, the converse was true.
Monitoring the number of prints taken and putting a stop to unnecessary printouts found favor. Bhaskar said printer companies could not be blamed for the cost of genuine cartridges as they delivered better quality and more prints than refilled cartridges.
Talking about going paperless, Bhaskar suggested that, instead of having numerous printers installed with one connected to every official's computer or one printer for four people, organizations should opt for network printers that are installed one for each department. In this way, monitoring can be done, bringing down the number of unnecessary prints.
Given the fact that every government department would be using printers from different vendors, Canon as a policy offers to buy back old printers at the book value as part of its MPS/MDS. "All the machines have a depreciated book value as per the rules of finance. We buy out the old printers from organizations at the prevailing price and, as a replacement, we give you network printers that are strategically placed in the office. This helps in monitoring wastage," Bhaskar explained.
Canon's printers come with a tracking technology that helps monitor who is printing what and how much. Secondly, the technology used is such that printers are not required to be switched on and go to sleep when not in use.
Besides, setting up printers in offices, Canon also offers to take up contracts for digitizing and archiving documents and managing the document workflow. Bhaskar concluded, "We offer you transparency, something that no other company in the market does."]]>
Juniper posed a question to the delegates on the key threats being faced and, in turn, the key problems that it was trying to resolve. Threats today are quite advanced. Attacks are often state sponsored. The delegates agreed that cyber-crimes were only going to increase. The Juniper team suggested that the most critical data should not be kept on the Internet, but on standalone systems which are not accessible to outside applications. Access rights should be severely restricted. Having a policy around intranet use is vital.
Most attacks are due to the ignorance. The indigenization of equipment is important. Instead of indigenizing the whole device, the interface can be indigenized and encrypted. One of the concerns voiced was in terms of remote access from vendors who belong to countries that might pose a threat. The Juniper team suggested that, in such a case, a remote policy should be adhered to on the vendor side.
BYOD is on everyone's mind and the delegates had concerns about working with different OSs. BYOD is likely to penetrate to the Panchayat level. E.g. The Kerala government will be providing a thousand netbooks to the administration to capture information in the field. Organizations can create ubiquitous applications that work with every OS. These devices can be given remote access and access rights can be defined properly.
Juniper works in the network and device domain. It has an 'intrusion deception system' or honey pot that leads a hacker to a false domain based on pattern recognition.]]>
All public services will be provided in electronic mode in the next five years. Whichever services cannot be delivered in this manner, will have to go through a process and eventually go electronic.
The bill will motivate government officials to take up the electronic mode of service delivery. "It is bringing an element of the 'stick' to ensure that people get involved. Once citizen participation increases, the answer to the 'why' of this type of application will also change."
There is lot of facilitation happening on part of the government to ensure that citizens are accessing services through electronic mode. The bill will sit between the MMPs and the four pillars of execution i.e. infrastructure, institutional framework, human capacity and management practices. The back-end integration of applications will have to be handled carefully.
According to Chanana, there is a tug of war between the government and industry. With this kind of model, the relationship of the government and industry becomes sustainable. It is an opportunity to experiment, wherein all services will be integrated on to a single platform. From creation to management of infrastructure, continuity planning will become a top priority. To make it a success, inter-agency coordination will become mandatory. In terms of quality and quantity, a lot of stability will be required. To support service delivery, a horizontal transfer between states will be required. The reuse of infrastructure and its transfer will have to be accumulated.
He concluded stating that a continuous assessment framework would have to be put into place.]]>
Attacks follow a certain sequence—incursion, discovery, capture and exfiltration. Stuxnet has been the most advanced attack so far. Its immediate successor was Duqu. Governments have been attacked frequently of late.
He stated, "What is more dangerous is what is not disclosed in the media."
To combat threats, governments are collaborating through national and multi-lateral initiatives. However, there is no cyber equivalent of Interpol; no agency to collate information on cyberspace.
According to him, the doctrine of national security had to change. There is a need to be aware and to have the right intelligence. One should try and have foreknowledge of these attacks. Organizations should understand their assets and prioritize what is important in their networks.
An organizations should always start from the point wherein it realizes that it might be attacked. "Security is not enough, resilience is required. One needs to ensure operational continuity and the ability to recover."
Symantec works with the government in jointly funded security research. It helps in the joint deployment of security intelligence technologies.]]>
GB Shaik, Manager- Security Consultant, Fortinet elaborated upon the nature of Advanced Persistent Threats or APTs that are the embodiment of cyber-attacks.
He said, "Despite the best efforts of the concerned organizations, there have been massive credit card breaches of an estimated 10 million accounts of Visa and Mastercard."
Most government Web sites are vulnerable today as they lack Web application firewalls. Spam levels in India have reached alarming levels today. Three ISPs from India are in the top ten list of spammers.
Technical controls must deliver on two dimensions. If there is a good email spam filter solution, it can help prevent attacks.
The traditional approach to network security does not work anymore. Reducing the complexity of security solutions is a high priority. He stressed that IT head should choose carefully when it comes to their choice of security vendor.]]>
The technology has been used for Telejustice in China, citizen engagement in India, disaster preparedness in USA and emergency responses in Russia. It facilitates a citizen-centric approach, encouraging public-private partnerships.
The Department of Income Tax has 70 regions that are connected by videoconferencing. In a vast country like India, it is not possible to travel everywhere. By enabling collaborative government through real-time communications, visual collaboration can help here. The RoI can be achieved in three to four months. Policy makers are pushing to deploy video solutions right to the district level.
This is the year of Video-as-a-Service. Videoconferencing has evolved considerably from its early days circa 1998. The major drivers for the adoption of these solutions are mobile device proliferation, network readiness, Cloud delivery, social connectedness and the fact that there is a generation being raised on video.
Various deployment models can be adopted including on-premise as well as private or public Cloud. According to Verma, "Unified collaboration improves collaboration and efficiency in a department. The decision-making process is expedited."
It improves the delivery of G2C services and can even play a big role in emergency management as having the stakeholders available online, makes it easy to have emergency processes in place.]]>
"We produce approximately 4.4 lakh tons of e-waste and this is growing at 20% YoY. Less than 5% of this gets recycled," said Bhaskar.
Most organizations have many small printers leading to unnecessary and excessive printouts being taken. With network printers, for a department or a few bays, the print volumes can be controlled with proper monitoring.
"If convenience, care and control is in place, the cost of printing can be brought down and a greener environment promoted. With Canon, a user gets the advantage of both hardware and software as well as service," Bhaskar asserted.
"The engine of a Canon laser printer does not need to be switched on all the time unlike other manufacturer's printers and it can be put into sleep mode when not in use. This helps save a lot of energy," he said.
With Canon's printers, ozone emissions are less and the plastic used in the machine is recyclable to boot.
Canon India's Managed Document Services or MDS help companies move to an OPEX model for printing. "Self awareness makes a difference as people start to think twice before printing. Also every employee contributes towards green IT," Bhaskar concluded.]]>
Talking about how Dell works with its customers, Salokhe said, "When we engage with a customer, we start with a workshop understanding his requirements and then we carry out an internal assessment, consult with the customer, asking him if it fits the bill, before we move on to the next phase."
This makes it easier for the company to resolve the pain areas of clients. However, Dell also has practice leads in specific fields that are consulted from time to time.
"We follow the inside-out approach. Currently, what is happening is that people think about the green quotient after they have implemented a project. The process should ideally start right at the time of purchase," Salokhe explained.
"At Dell, we first create an efficient IT load; then we support that load with an efficient facility infrastructure," he added.
According to Salokhe, Dell entered this segment after it got to grips with manufacturing servers and laptops and had sufficient know how to gauge where the technology was moving.
Dell, as part of its offerings, provides customers with free data center cooling facilities. Since, the company is vendor agnostic, customers can select any UPS or air conditioning equipment of their choice.]]>
The company began working on the voter ID card project in 1990 and then moved on to bag several projects from the government. For the state government of Haryana, Vakrangee is handing the Rs 125 crore PDS project that has about 60 lakh beneficiaries. The company has installed 9,300 Points Of Sale (POS) in order to reach out to the maximum number of citizens who live in rural and semi-rural areas.
Besides this, the company is also working with the UIDAI for Aadhaar—the government's unique identity program. "We were the first company to quote a price for the enrollment of citizens for Aadhaar. What's more, we quoted the lowest price of Rs 15 per enrollment. Currently, the cost of enrollment for the UID project is between Rs 30 and Rs 35," said Kumar.
As various government schemes are computerized, people are able to benefit from an effective grievance redress mechanism, proper and timely allocation and there has been an overall increase in the satisfaction of citizens. It also promotes seamless information sharing with the people.
Thanks to a computerized PDS, the government of Haryana has been able to eradicate the problem of multiple registrations of ration cards and ghost cards and there is timely disbursement of essential commodities to beneficiaries, a swift MIS and prompt decision-making and fast disposal of goods.]]>
From IBM's RAMAC with its 5 MB of storage in a cupboard sized box to today's 4 TB per hard disk, capacities in storage have gone up with prices coming down. "Prices have come down as storage capacity has increased barring last year when the flooding in Thailand led to a temporary reversal of this trend," Rao said.
Some of the applications that are driving the storage market are surveillance (airports, train stations, govt. offices, city surveillance etc), databases (UID, PAN etc), the private Cloud (state data centers based on the private Cloud) and electronic content management.
"A typical government organization has a requirement of hundreds of thousands of PCs and there is no way for the data to be backed up easily. If you are looking at backing up each and every PC, its not practical to go around with a hard drive to each one of them. One option would be to back up to the state data center based on the private Cloud," said Rao.
Today everybody is talking about unified storage offering both NAS and SAN in the same box. "You don't have to buy two sets of storage," he said.
In terms of performance, SATA is like a bus that can store huge amounts of data but is slow, FC/SAS is like a car and SSDs are like expensive private jets. Storage tiering can help use all three optimally. Deduplication, that turns mountains of data into mole hills, is another useful technology.
Some possible future of storage were outline where salt could be used to boost the storage density on a traditional magnetic platter, heat could be used for recording bits or data could be written on DNA.]]>
India needs a comprehensive policy on Cloud computing adoption, stressed the Cloud Summit 2012 held recently in Delhi. Organized by industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the one-day conclave with the motto of 'enabling the Indian Cloud revolution' saw policymakers, businessmen and consumers discuss various trends, technologies and issues affecting Cloud computing in India. The spectrum of issues included security, compliance, vigilance, policy and laws.
The summit was inaugurated by Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications & IT, who stressed the need for standardization for Cloud computing. "The government and the industry should work together to make standardization for Cloud computing since security is a serious issue. To make Cloud computing an economic solution and to address the present concerns, the government is making a policy framework," said Sibal.
The government is trying to make the country as a data management hub, the minister said. For that, along with infrastructure development, opportunities in Cloud-based platforms need to be leveraged by even SMBs, he noted. Sibal highlighted the need for outlining technical parameters for Cloud providers, standardization of contracts, privacy and security conditions. Sibal also released the CII White Paper on 'The Indian Cloud Revolution'.
"India is still in the process of evolving appropriate architecture to take advantage of the possible revolution," he noted.
The White Paper evaluates the opportunities and challenges in India's roadmap for Cloud adoption.
The gathering included many of the top echelons of the information technology industry. SD Shibulal, CEO & MD, Infosys, highlighted the amount of integration that the Cloud could deliver while offering immense functionality. "The Cloud has become part of our everyday life even if we are not realizing it. It is an opportunity for both the government and the small and medium businesses to improve productivity, improve economies of scale, cut costs and boost employment." he said.
S Gopalakrishnan, President-Designate, CII & Co-Chairman, Infosys, said that the right policy framework and laws would help address more issues in the Cloud.
Amit Sinha Roy, Vice President, Strategy & Marketing for Global Enterprise Solutions, Tata Communications, said that security had to be holistic. The network has to be secure, as does the access point, physical security and the disaster recovery aspect should all be well addressed in the Cloud system, noted Roy. The period of data retention is also important. Technologies are being developed to make the Cloud more trustworthy, he said.
Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, CII National Committee on IT, ITES and E-Commerce, & Chairman, Microsoft India, called for closer cooperation between various government agencies and departments to drive Cloud computing.
Discussing the importance of bandwidth, A Sethuraman, Executive Director, Huawei Telecommunications, said that the issues in wireless infrastructure and spectrum pricing had to be resolved. The pricing has to be done appropriately as otherwise the customer will end up overpaying. Also, there should be better broadband connectivity.
Kiran Karnik, Chairman, CII National Committee on Telecom and Broadband, said, "Data is the new currency and it is appropriate to look at banking analogies to address security and privacy concerns on the Cloud. For SMBs, the cloud posited exciting opportunities for low-cost technology solutions and clusters need no longer be bound by geographical considerations."
Stating the Business Software Alliance's (BSA) point of view, Lizum Mishra, India Director, BSA, said that Cloud policy in various jurisdictions had to be aligned commonly for the transformational flow of data in the Cloud. Data portability is a key issue, she said. The industry is working hard on standardization. However, the government's support is important in achieving this.
On opportunities in Cloud space, Vikas Gupta, VP, Head Cloud initiatives, Tech Mahindra, said that apart from making a business scalable, cost-effective and stretchable, the Cloud helped do business in a more courageous way. In the era of smartphones and tablets, the mobility-based Cloud will grow in a big way and telcos will be making use of it heavily.
Highlighting how the government could use the Cloud in cutting down costs to deliver services to people, Sameer Garde, President and MD, Dell India, said that IT centres being set up at the Panchayat level alongside State Data Centers could use the Cloud to a create a common infrastructure that would be accessible by all.
"The focus must be on verticals that enable sharing of resources, ensure security and take technology to the smaller towns and villages," said Garde. Industry veterans like Dr Anand Deshpande, Founder and Managing Director, Persistent Systems; Raman Roy CEO Quatrro Global Services; and Rajesh Uppal, CIO, Maruti Suzuki India, also spoke on the occasion.]]>
“Every company goes through change, but not every company goes through a transformation,” said Jay Bhatt, President and CEO, Progress Software Corporation.
Progress Software announced its decision to divest from ten of its product lines including Progress Savvion, although its BPM components will still be integrated into its OpenEdge product line, which represents 50% of its revenue. Application development and real-time analytics will be the focus areas going forward.
Having divested from 10 of 14 products to grow is expected to help the company achieve a two phase execution plan. Phase one will be to focus and strength its core business. Phase two will be to strengthen Cloud application platform products. It will focus on OpenEdge, Data direct connect and Apama. According to Keith Budge, VP & MD APJ, Progress Software, “There is a major opportunity in the APJ region. Presently, we get 7-8% of our business from this region. The plan requires divestment but it allows us to invest in areas wherein we want to grow into. Progress Software will be successful in the APJ based on how we are doing in the partnering ecosystem.”
Progress Software gets more user cases from existing customers. E.g. The Crown in Macau uses OpenEdge to track its gambling business. Its other customers include PepsiCo, Subway and QAD. Twinings runs an ERP system from a Progress partner. Presently, it has development centers in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Singapore. It also has extensive partnerships with major SIs and an extensive reseller partner ecosystem, with over 30 open edge application development partners in Australia alone. The major partnerships in the APJ region are Capgemini, Huawei, Tata, NCS, Avnet, Qualicom and Unisys. Amongst its Indian customers are Reliance Capital, ING Vysya, DHL and Reliance Life Insurance.
According to Forrester, OpenEdge yields 40% more productivity and 30% more delivery. On the application development platform, it is focusing on partnering with ISVs or application partners. On the decision analytics front, it has partnered with system integrators and resellers. On the data connectivity front, it has partnered with resellers and distributors.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, Senior Analyst. Forrester Inc, said, “Building the strategy focusing chiefly around the core area of application development is a good strategy but a risky one. It is critical for the management to articulate the company’s pruned focus and long term objectives to stakeholders. Along with the fresh focus on emerging markets like China and India, the company has to invest in support partners to fill up existing gaps and further adoption for its core products like OpenEdge and Apama.”
Presently, the company's focus is primarily on the Cloud. According to a TCS study, the APJ region is adopting the Cloud more quickly than the US or Europe. In 2014, 50% of applications will be on the Cloud. Currently, Progress Software has the third largest Cloud-based ISV ecosystem. Dr. Giles Nelson, Dy. CTO, Progress Software, said, “Next gen application development will be where the Cloud, Big Data and real-time analytics meet. The nature of business applications is changing and customers need to be engaged in new ways.”
The five imperatives for the next generation of business applications will be the Cloud, mobile, Big Data wherein data volumes and analysis complexity will be pressured by a smaller time window of analysis, social media and partner ecosystem.
Another trend that was talked about was that of decision analytics. Although, data warehouses are moving towards real time analytics, it hasn't got to the point wherein it can do analytics within microseconds.
Organizations can combine Corticon with Apama for Complex Event Processing (CEP). E.g. Dell utilizes it for threat detection and automated action for improving customer care. It can detect when an SLA is in danger of being violated and visualize SLA levels. Standalone Apama is utilized for real time analytics and standalone Corticon to externalize business logic for agility and business control.
One of the most interesting sessions was a Panel Discussion wherein thoughts were exchanged about the markets in India and China. Partners spoke the latest things they have been hearing from customers like BYOD and Big Data. The major challenge that customers were having and are still facing is around security. Retaining talent was another major issue for most partners. Another timely question that was raised was about the impact of the global economy on their business.]]>
SAP recently unveiled its Mobile Solutions Center in Mumbai. The solution center showcases an array of mobile devices pre-configured with SAP applications wherein SAP customers, current and potential alike, can experience these applications and exchange ideas with SAP experts.
The company chose the platform to demonstrate its enterprise mobility portfolio, but also outlined its focus on the enterprise mobility, which according to SAP is one of the largest growing markets in India.
Alok Goyal, COO, SAP India, commented, “A few years ago, we would talk about half a million cell phones in India, which then went up to 750 mn. Today, we are reaching close to a billion cell phones in the country.”
There will be roughly a quarter billion mobile Internet users in India by 2016 up from about 50 million today. Almost all organizations, according to Goyal, are trying to figure out how they can create an unwired enterprise using the new mobile capabilities.
The cost of mobile devices is coming down. There are more mobile phones with smartphone capabilities even in the low-mid cost range and 3G prices have come down.
Through the unveiling of the mobility center, SAP reinforced its focus on its objective to provide the best mobile platform and application experience for enterprise users.
SAP has launched 50 applications based on the most common enterprise implementation scenarios. It has a global network of two million developers who have access to its SDK. Over 100 mobile apps have been created by partners.
Goyal said, “2010-end, we had only two packaged mobility applications. A year later, we had close to a hundred mobile applications, mostly from partner efforts.”
The company is looking to ensure that it has the apps, the platform and the ecosystem to collaborate with customers and create and offer these enterprise applications on mobile devices.
India has a large number of kirana stores that are managed manually through paper-based methods or a standalone PC at best. SAP has created a point of sale system, a working prototype of a low cost mobile device, that can be deployed in such stores.
SAP has a 5,500 strong workforce in India, 5,000 of whom are developers.
SAP's software packages are largely license driven. This makes it difficult for SMEs to adopt many of its applications owing to considerable upfront costs. Making the mobile applications available via a Cloud platform would make them more accessible for the customer base that SAP is targeting.
Goyal said that the application for small retail store owners would be a Cloud-based solution. He stressed upon the company's Cloud focus with the example of its recent acquition of SuccessFactors, a Cloud-based HRM solution vendor, which according to him, had over 15 million users worldwide.
The mobile solution center will showcase several SAP mobile solutions including the SAP mobile platform, SAP Afaria, Sybase 365 Mobile Commerce Solutions and SAP Rapid Deployment solutions amongst others. These apps are designed to run on devices running Blackberry, iOS and Android.
Oliver Bussman, CIO, SAP, said that the company believed in drinking its own champagne. SAP claims to be the second largest user of iPads globally, with 17,000 units deployed within the company as well as 30,000 iPhones and 1,100 Android devices. The company has been consuming its mobile applications internally before offering them to customers.
Bussman also claimed that SAP had the largest number of apps in Apple's App store as compared to enterprise applications from any other single software vendor.
The Mobile Solutions Center in Mumbai is SAP’s third in the world and second in India (after Bangalore). There are ten more Solutions Centers planned or ready across the globe in locations such as UK, US and Germany, including an upcoming one in New Delhi.]]>
IBM said that it expected to generate about $7 billion in Cloud revenues by 2015. The company, in a round table conference held in Delhi, talked about the growing popularity of Cloud solutions and how CIOs across verticals were under pressure to support businesses with IT solutions that were not only innovative but also delivered instant results. The company is in the process of setting up a data center in Australia to serve the Asia Pacific region.
Last year, IBM had announced $38 million investment in a new Cloud computing data center in Singapore, which would provide businesses in India with solutions and services to harness the potential of this technology.
IBM offers a SmartCloud service for developers. Ready to use business solutions vary from CRM to HRMS. "All these solutions that run on IBM's platform can easily be enabled and deployed within a matter of weeks if not days," said G Dharanibalan, Executive, Offerings Management and Cloud Services, Global Technology Services, IBM India & South Asia.
Talking about Cloud computing and its benefits, Dharanibalan said that, apart from lowering the cost of IT, it provides access to new markets and enabled new business models and outcomes thereby driving fundamental innovation for a lasting advantage in the marketplace.
According to Dharanibalan, IBM's SmartCloud would lower IT operating and capital cost.
Under the SmartCloud offering, IBM provides SaaS, IaaS and PaaS. "Large ISVs and VARs or distributors who aspire to become Cloud service providers can contract with IBM to start up their Cloud services by paying a nominal royalty and launch their own branded SmartCloud Enterprise equivalent solution," he explained.
IBM also announced its managed security and backup solutions that boast of an SLO of 99.8% backup success rate. Dharanibalan added, "We offer pay as you use pricing model with no long term architectural investment."
Despite numerous benefits of cost efficiency and elastic storage, there remain serious challenges in the adoption of Cloud technology. In a survey conducted by IDC, about 21% of respondents flagged data security as a major concern. Another 11% of the respondents have a fear of getting locked-in with a single Cloud services provider while 9% of the respondents found stringent regulatory requirements to be a hassle.
Nirupam Chaudhuri, Research Manager- Software & Services, IDC India, asserted that increased Cloud adoption would also require changes in the channel sales. "Hardware margins have been reducing for resellers. This needs to be offset by offering more services," he said.
"The most common reason for the low adoption of the Cloud, especially the public Cloud, are the inconsistent service levels that are being offered by service providers. Cloud solution providers need to focus on security, privacy, reliability and control," added Chaudhury. For certain industries, regulations mandate that data must be stored in the country.
Chaudhury felt that IaaS had the best growth prospects through 2015. "There is strong interest in virtual private Cloud from the CIO community," he concluded.]]>
“In today’s age, when IT must fly at the speed of business, businesses must adopt a service-centric IT approach. They must learn to best use current and emerging technologies in order to drive business growth, optimize organizational adaptability, increase efficiency and mitigate risk,” said Sunil Manglore, Managing Director, CA Technologies, India.
IT at the Speed of Business was the theme at the CA Expo ’12. The company unveiled its new Business Service Innovation (BSI) Strategy at the event.
The company charted out its road map to drive innovation that included accelerating IT, transforming IT to simplify complexity and free up resources to focus on the core business rather than wasting time on infrastructure and securing IT to reduce the risks of improper access and fraud.
The keynote addressed how this new normal is a transformative moment for IT that is shifting the CIO’s focus from managing infrastructure, maintenance and operations, to optimizing the delivery of business services for innovation and growth. The session focused on how customers must deliver business services faster, cheaper and more securely to survive in this day and age.
“We are experiencing accelerating demand at the exact same time as pressures on IT have increased and every business is looking at IT to run the show. Everyone is scrambling to do more with less, to become more agile and to find more cost-effective ways to support the business. The result is a transformative moment that offers a tremendous opportunity for competitive differentiation as well as a huge strategic challenge,” said Roger Pilc, General Manager, Virtualization & Automation, Customer Solutions Unit, CA Technologies.
Management software as a category is becoming vital as an enabler for business growth. Emerging markets are where the growth lies and CA is actively engaging itself in these markets. Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman, CA Technologies, India, said, “The power of technology to transform your business, your market and the way that you interact with your customers and services are becoming recognized.” In fact, a recent survey by IDC found that 67% of CIOs believed that their role was evolving into that of a Chief Innovation Officer. For IT to make this transformation and help drive business innovation and growth, innovation needs to become a pervasive mindset. At a time when budgets are tight and the rising complexity of IT means that existing systems are more expensive to maintain than before, the amount of money being spent on new projects to drive innovation is growing. IDC expects new project budgets to grow from 23% to 28% of the overall IT budget over the next three years.
The results of a survey The Future Role of the CIO; Digital Literacy conducted by CA Technologies were revealed at the event. A total of nine Asian markets were involved in the global survey, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The study reveals that 81% of the Asia Pacific CIOs interviewed believe that a lack of digital literacy amongst senior executives could be hampering business growth. Only 20% of Asian CIOs in the study felt that their management fully understood the capabilities and impact of new and emerging technologies.
Surveyed IT executives found that the complexity of IT was rising while productivity was shrinking, that systems were fragile and that they were spending more time trying to maintain them than otherwise. 70-80% of IT budgets are going towards ongoing maintenance rather than new project work. IT feels that it needs to lock down systems to maintain control & compliance. However, business users are looking for openness and they want to bring new devices and use online applications and more. These security risks are inhibiting innovation.
The study showed that, while business leaders may lack digital literacy, they largely do understand the role of technology in their organizations and about 75% of Asian CIOs in the study felt that their management team considered IT to be strategically important. An extremely interesting observation was made that CIOs were transitioning into the roles of brokers of IT services and that they would also have closer involvement with Line Of Business managers in realizing value from their strategies
CIOs feared that senior-level digital illiteracy was resulting in a lack of market responsiveness, missed business and investment opportunities, poor competitiveness and slower time to market. Moreover, almost one-fifth of the CIOs interviewed believed that the C-suite did not understand the impact of new and emerging technologies.
Cloud simulation, a concept that revolves around conducting POCs in a simulated environment, was discussed. CA Expo ’12 witnessed participation from over 900 CIOs, customers, business partners and other industry veterans.]]>
By Heena Jhingan
Despite a slow start this fiscal, IT giant HP is optimistic about the quarters ahead. The company is hopeful of getting a boost with the new set of solutions that it announced at Discover 2012 in Frankfurt that was attended by about 9,000 participants from across the world.
HP CEO Meg Whitman, who took the reins of the company about a year back, observed a tectonic shift in the way technology is now being accessed and consumed. A new style of IT is emerging that demands innovations to happen around simplicity, agility, speed and cost. The pan HP strategy to capitalise on these trends is focused around Cloud, information optimization, and security. Whitman also stressed on the company's commitment to Autonomy, saying that it will be central to all future plans.
In tune with its business design, HP announced developments to its converged storage, information optimisation, converged Cloud and printing & personal systems.
Looking to beef up its converged storage and eliminate complexities and inefficiencies with a single architecture for all sizes of client deployments, HP fielded new HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, HP StoreAll Storage and HP StoreOnce Backup product offerings.
The new HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000 Storage is being projected to be the industry's only mid-range quad-controller platform offering Tier 1 storage availability and quality-of-service features at a lower entry price point for organisations. It supports both block and file data services. The system is also available with HDD and SSD or as an all-SSD configuration capable of performing more than 320,000 input/output operations per second—2.4 times that of a similarly priced competitive array.
Storage, data and Cloud
The company also announced HP StoreOnce 2000 and 4000 Backup with support for HP StoreOnce Catalyst software. These solutions provide efficient data movement and high-performance deduplication to reduce data protection costs in remote sites and data centers. The new models are being pitched to perform backup operations up to three times faster at a 35 % lower cost than the closest competitive systems in the market.
David Scott, senior vice president and general manager- Storage Division, HP, stressed that the legacy storage vendors are not equipped to help organisations respond to new workloads. HP's Converged Storage innovations would help clients simplify infrastructure and reduce costs with a common architecture across storage segments and categories.
To address the need for configuring and deploying Big Data systems, the company expanded its AppSystems portfolio, offering extended capabilities of HP Converged Infrastructure with Apache Hadoop, HP Vertica Analytics Platform and Autonomy eDiscovery environments.
With new solutions from Autonomy and Vertica—both HP companies—coupled with new HP Converged Infrastructure solutions and service, HP aims to target businesses and governments to extract value from their structured, semi-structured and unstructured information. As per Nucleus Data, Analytics payback $10.66 for every dollar spent. HP thus plans to leverage the world’s 'digital universe' that is expected to reach 8 zettabytes by 2015.
Tracking the buzziest trend, Cloud, HP released enhancements to HP CloudSystem. Upbeat about the capability of HP Cloud System 7.2, allowing customers the flexibility to burst out to any Cloud, Bill Veghete, COO, HP, expected that the new solution will help HP increase its Cloud map by about 30%.
“The opportunity is fundamentally around the ability to unify the on-premise, the managed Cloud and the public Cloud environments so that the CIO has a choice and the enterprises have the flexibility to scale—that is what we have been discussing through our converged Cloud discussions,” said Ajei Gopal, Senior VP, HP Software.
Steven Dietch, vice president - Worldwide Cloud, Enterprise Group, HP, informed that the company had already partnered with service providers to offer Cloud. “Channel is fundamental to our business. Almost 70% of the total business comes through the channels,” he said.
Jim Merritt, senior vice president, Enterprise Group & Managing Director, HP- Asia Pacific and Japan, pointed that India was an important market and the new solutions will be instrumental for the company to further grow in the country and the region.
Fuelling the growth engine
Citing India as a growth engine in the region, Merritt said the country has been consistently providing good topline and HP will continue to invest here. In an attempt to propel growth in the region, HP had made some conscious changes to the organisational structure.
“We combined the enterprise group with the global accounts. We have also expelled complexities in several decision points, something very important to makes the company more responsive to the customers, partners and streamline the enterprise skeleton. We moved more authority at the country level. This delegation helps the country heads take better informed decisions that are critical for the company's growth in the respective markets,” he said.
Agreeing that India is a high potential market for the company, Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, HP India Sales, said that emerging technology trends are compelling the enterprises to further invest in IT and giving way to new opportunities. The gradually sprawling virtual and Cloud environments are leading the way for SMBs and mid market firms to put their money in IT and this will help HP write a new chapter in its growth story.
“The recently announced StoreServ 7000 is meant for the mid market. If you look at the configurations, even the Gen 8 servers that we announced in October this year are also focused on this segment. So, a number of new product releases are targeted at this segment. The good news is that we did not have low end servers in the Gen 8 family; with these products we believe we will be able to penetrate the market better. Upcountry is a focus, which we believe we will be able to crack with the help of our partners.
“Traditionally, we haven't done as well as we could have in the mid market. The focus always had been on the large enterprise business. These announcements that we have made allow us to address these m arkets at much lower price points,” Merritt added.
The company has great expectations from the India storage business, even though the country is predominantly a printer and PC market first.
Considering the size of the country, Dhawan said, the volumes of data that it churns is huge. Besides, government projects like Aadhar lead to a whole new paradigm of growth. HP services several government projects. A pertinent shift that is being observed in HP's government business in India is the fact that it is no more just about hardware. There is a renewed focus on the solutions and for projects like the Accelerated Power Development and Reform Programme (APDRP) and the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), the government has invested in complete solutions.
“The government is rethinking its IT infrastructure. They have already set a team for evaluating ways to deploy Cloud for the government applications. I believe this trend favours us, because of the convergence that is happening in the industry and the solutions we provide,” Dhawan said.
She added that Cloud will play a pivotal role in defining HP's growth path in the country. In India, HP has already installed CloudSystems for more than 100 customers. The early adopters have been the enterprises seeking disaster recovery and the SMBs looking for services. Analysts expect HP Cloud business to be worth $2 bn by 2015, including products and services.
Dhawan signed off, saying that HP was doing well in India with its private Cloud offering, but the company had no immediate plans of opening up the public Cloud offering here. “The public Cloud is primarily meant for having applications subscriptions. In India, the model for us is such that we have partners like Airtel and Sify. At present we are not thinking of our public Cloud in India, as Airtel has already rolled out Cloud 365 and Sify has a PaaS offering. The players like AllTimeIT Solutions have taken solutions for SMBs and micro verticals and put them on the Cloud. We will continue to focus on our strengths to drive growth.”
By Heena Jhingan
As the industry prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ethernet this year, NetEvents invited media and service providers to discuss the future of networking. At the two-day summit, the deliberations revolved around ways that will help the industry build a solid foundation for tomorrow’s 4G networks, Carrier Ethernet as a backhaul option for operators, and what is on the cards in software defined networking (SDN).
A recent Forrester report finds that SDN will be the driving force behind many anticipated changes in the IT industry and will become the defining architectural abstraction over the next five years. As per IDC’s Interop Las Vegas briefing, the SDN market could grow from just under $200 mn in 2013 to $2 bn by 2016.
In his opening address, Rick Bauer, Managing Director, Technology, Open Networking Foundation (ONF), apprised the conference on why service providers should be considering SDN. Describing SDN as a phenomenal wave of change, he said, “The growing volumes of data transiting today’s networks are driving a need for smarter networks, as well as the growth in the number of devices with IP addresses.”
“Traditional networking cannot keep up with these needs,” Bauer said. “It cannot support scale, performance and time to market. IP is promiscuous, designed for a tree hierarchy. It does not work for a micro-second architecture. The tree-like switch and router architecture does not work any more.”
SDN is thus set to change how a large network installation works: there is no need to re-program every switch. So to add new features, you do not replace a switch, you flash it with those new features, and this makes the network faster and more reliable.
He also stressed that OpenFlow will not be the only instance of SDN – and the ONF is not the only SDN body. “There will be lots of other protocols to take advantage of,” he said.
In the following session, the panels debated if SDN could be fertile ground for a network applications store. Dustin Kehoe, Associate Research Director – Telecommunications, ANZ, IDC, opened the debate by pointing out that the networks today need to get to a point where they employ one admin for 500 servers or more. For him, SDN could help as it enables faster service provisioning.
Kash Shaikh, Senior Director, Product & Technical Marketing, HP, said that his company’s definition of SDN is the same as that of the Open Networking Foundation. There is confusion in the market, he said, but one benefit of SDN is a single point of control over the network. “Openness is key,” he said, “and SDN is about delivering applications and solving business challenges.”
He claimed HP was unique in selling a complete SDN solution. “We have customers already using SDN for public cloud provision. CERN is a customer and is developing its own load balancing applications,” he added.
Of disaster, security & BYOD
Besides SDN, there were other trends such as disaster recover, security and BYOD that hogged attention at the conference. Following some data center disasters in the recent past, the industry is compelled to think of better disaster management strategies. Camille Mendler, Principal Analyst at Informa, said that in the context of the data center ecosystem, it is a matter of Darwin’s theory where success is not about being the biggest or smartest, but being the most adaptable to change.
Ed Chapman, VP of Business Development and Alliances, Arista Networks, was of the view that virtualization allows better disaster recovery. “In a multi-tenant environment customers want dedicated resources,” he said. The challenge is that virtualization means orchestration, but the end user needs to be unaware that this has happened, so VMs need to keep the same IP address.
Stressing that regulations in India mandate the adoption of disaster recovery, Nitin Jadhav, Associate VP, Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services, informed that most mid-tier customers were yet not taking it seriously, seeing it purely as a compliance issue.
The panel also discussed some certifications, including ISO 90001, ISO 20000 and ISO 9000, that were worth looking at for data centers. The panel also discussed data center location, and whether it was smart to build data centers in geologically active areas. There was general agreement that you need to put the data close to users, and add mitigation for factors such as fault lines and volcanoes.
New technologies usher new security threats. The panelists suggested ways that industry could prepare for them.
Dustin Kehoe, Associate Research Director – Telecommunications ANZ, IDC, opened the discussion saying that cyber-criminalism is a great business because one can breach and steal in minutes and it will take others weeks or months to find out.He said that the motivation for breaches are now primarily financial, and this causes the most damage in terms of actual loss, as well as angering customers and suppliers. Yet, he said, only 20% of organizations have a security policy. In future, most attacks will be at the endpoint given the growth of BYOD. “There’s no perimeter anymore,” he said.
Dino Soepono, Director of Products, Asia Pacific, Citrix, informed that his company has been open to BYOD internally since 2008. “You need to define security policies that define which applications can access what data. We can sandbox applications so if a device is lost you can wipe or encrypt it,” he said.
For Neeraj Khandelwal, Product Manager, Barracuda Networks, one of the challenges of BYOD is snooping tools that can access others’ emails, and use “social engineering” to get you to a malware site. His solution has been to move solutions to the cloud so that all activity is redirected there, allowing access to compromised websites to be blocked.
Andrew Dodsworth, COO, BT Global Telecom Markets, said that the voice market is changing, with prices going down – a voice minute costs half a cent or less and has become commoditized, so margins are very thin. He noted, however, that mobile roaming remains very expensive as those minutes are not sold at commodity prices, so mobile operators are making very high margins there.
When asked how could the the cost of roaming be changed, Dodsworth said that when telcos lose too much market share, the opportunities are gone. “The outcome is that higher revenue customers use OTT services so the mobile operator becomes a bit carrier. High charges means lost revenues but mobile operators should instead be passing this problem onto OTT providers such as Skype." He concluded by citing the example of a hotel in Slovenia where international phone calls are free as they are passed over Skype.]]>
That the networks of today are becoming difficult to manage and increasingly more complex is a fact that is undisputed. The network infrastructure of the present era is reeling under pressure on multiple fronts like mobility, cloud and BYOD. While experts believe that migration to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) could be the answer to some of these problems, software defined networks (SDN) are being touted as the other technical panacea to the troubles of the networking world.
These two networking aspects were the cynosure of HP's Network University event which was held in Bangalore from March 6-7, 2013.
It is estimated that by 2020, 50 billion devices with be connected to wireless networks. For an experience of that scale to materialize, it is imperative that the networks be prepared. These were the thoughts that Amol Mitra, Worldwide VP, Channel, Alliances & SI, HP Networking, pondered upon at the beginning of his address which was titled “Demystifying SDN”.
According to Mitra, one of the key advantages of SDN, and consequently its biggest driver, is that it can get applications on board in a relatively quicker time.
A key feature that HP stressed upon during the event was a high degree of visibility and control of the network. According to Mitra, SDN comes with a control layer that sits between the infrastructure and the application layer and can give software as well as hardware related controls to the network manager. The concept of intelligent network was also stressed upon, especially through HP's intent of a “single control plane” for the entire network.
According to Uday Birje, Country Manager, Network Consulting - Technology Services, HP India, enterprises are increasingly realizing the pressures their networks face and thus, there is a considerable amount of innovation happening on the network side. He also believed that the concept of a dashboard for the whole network is gaining ground in India.
HP, with its OpenFlow SDN, is looking to enhance network agility and at the same time provide enterprises an open platform that they can build upon. Mitra explained that for many enterprises moving to the cloud, command-line interface (CLI), a manual configuration of networks, can prove to be error-prone. That is why SDN, which is easy to program, is fast becoming a popular choice.
Though it is unlikely that SDN will see rapid adoption, because there is no rip-and-replace when it comes to networks, Birje believed that many organizations are in the process of charting out a migration strategy that takes them toward SDN, and some are even doing pilots. The real impetus for SDN is expected to come from large greenfield projects that are not only opting for IPv6 but are also actively considering SDN. “Newer buying patterns indicate that enterprises are taking SDN into consideration before making their network decisions. Even if they don't want to switch to SDN immediately, they are certainly looking for an SDN-capable network.”
Birje is of the opinion that one of the biggest pushes for SDN will come from the banking vertical, which has now been mandated to switch to IPv6 and is thus undertaking a drive to transform legacy networks into modern and agile ones. “We are working with at least three banks in their migration to IPv6.”
The other potential verticals for SDN are likely to be IT/ITeS and education.
The BYOD platform
The event also saw HP announcing its unified wired and wireless solutions that enable BYOD for organizations in a secure manner. The latest solution is an extension of HP’s Intelligent Management Center (IMC) platform and will deliver unified wired and wireless management and switching platforms that create a single network for wired and wireless connectivity.
By 2016, two-thirds of the workforce will own smartphones, and 40% of the workforce will be mobile. Yet, today’s legacy infrastructure requires two separate networks and management applications for wired and wireless connectivity, resulting in operational complexity. Additionally, these legacy infrastructures lack scalability to support multiple devices per user or the security to protect mission-critical information. It is this complexity that HP is looking to address.
According to Andrew Habgood, Region Sales Director, Cloud, Data Center and Critical Facilities, APJ, HP Technology Consulting, “The key enabler of BYOD lies in shifting the focus away from the device. Devices and their form factors shall keep on evolving. We should focus on the experience and not the device.”
He also elaborated on the “wars of form factor” that are currently on in the BYOD arena and fueling debates like which OS provides the best interface as well access and how can touch co-exist with traditional mailing? Habgood explained that the key to BYOD is to make a service viable across networks and to design apps that can cope up with such a scenario.
HP's BYOD solution seeks to not only simplify operations but also reduce costs by up to 38% by eliminating the need for traditional network access devices, including separate switches and controllers, while supporting up to 1,000 wireless devices with the HP 830 Unified/WLAN switch, said Habgood.
He also stressed upon the fact that mobility services will eventually assist an organization in its move toward cloud. “An organization that doesn't have a mobility strategy cannot figure out a cloud mechanism.”
For starters, HP has partnered with IIITB, where it has set up a demo lab for its BYOD solution and is demonstrating aspects like security, network switching and video capabilities for BYOD. Education is one of the primary verticals that HP is looking to tap into for BYOD; healthcare and insurance being the others.
As a part of its network initiatives, HP Education Services in association with IIITB will also launch certificate programs in integrated networks, network security and networking for cloud. The three certified courses with combine e-learning with traditional classroom modules.
“From the Planning Commission and Government of India perspective, the 12th five year plan is more ICT focused when compared to the 11th five year plan. While the 11th five year plan focused on electronics/IT hardware manufacturing, export of computer software services, growth of computer software services domestically, research & development (R&D) along with human resource development as the thrust areas, the 12th five year plan has added e-Government, e-Learning, e-Security and e-Inclusion as new thrust areas,” Satpathy said in his address to the audience.
Given the theme of 14th Express Technology Sabha, “e-Governance to e-Inclusion: deployment of IT for better governance”, Satpathy pointed out that in achieving the targets of the 12th five year plan, ICT can help deliver more inclusive growth by enhancing productivity and building human capabilities.
“IT could be a great instrument in addressing regional inequality in the country. Also, IT can play a significant role in lowering poverty, employment generation in the manufacturing and ancillary industry and services enabled by IT and ITeS,” Satpathy added.
Moreover, Satpathy stressed, “The 12th plan is committed to faster, inclusive and sustainable growth through IT and in the coming years IT will play a key role to take forward e-Governance to e-Inclusion in areas like agriculture, sustainability, employment, reducing poverty and taking services to the public in a more affordable way from anywhere.”
The panel discussions scheduled at Technology Sabha will be held on these topics: Data Center Security, Big Data: Actionable Insights, Denial of Service Attacks and Towards a Cyber Secure India.
Rajesh Aggarwal, IT Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, is also scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the event. Some of the key presentations at Technology Sabha include Role of Aadhaar in e-Inclusion, Use of IT for Delivery of Services & Safety to Citizens, and Policy Guidelines for IPv6, among others.
The event is supported by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, National e-Governance Plan, and Aadhaar.
Technology vendors Dell, Oracle and Check Point are the primary sponsors for the event.
Infor has overhauled its business applications, making them fast, integrated, social-enabled and tempting to look at. Will the charm work on enterprises?
By Sanjay Gupta
“Enterprise software sucks.”
No, it’s not the intent of this writer to denigrate what’s essentially the pillar of operations for most enterprises around the world. But this comment, coming as it did from the boss of the third-largest enterprise applications and services company in the world, did have somewhat of a pleasantly shocking value.
But before Charles Phillips, the CEO of $2.8 billion Infor, made that comment at the company’s annual gathering, Inforum, this year, he proved his point by showing screenshots of apps from rivals SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, taking swipes at how ugly, difficult-to-see, crowded and user-unfriendly those screens looked.
It is possible that Phillips chose only those screens that looked particularly bad, or that users of those software didn’t mind how the screens looked since they must have been using them for years or even decades. But what he proceeded to unveil next made the import of his message quite clear: in our changing business and everyday world, increasingly dominated by real-time information, social media and the impact of user-friendly design, the time may just be ripe for upending how business apps are written, designed and used.
The screen that didn’t suck—at least not the one that was shown—was done in elegant pastel colors, and the elements, functions and fields were laid out clearly, as if inviting the user to come start working. Of course, it was a leaf taken out from one of Infor’s own new applications.
In forums such as these, how the message is delivered is as important as the content of the message itself. So the top four honchos of the New York-based company made a joint presentation to the 6,000-odd crowd of customers, partners, employees, media and analysts in a smooth-flowing, symphonic manner. All the four—COO Pam Murphy, Phillips, and Presidents Duncan Angove and Stephan Scholl—enacted their parts with a suaveness that might put some lesser known talk show hosts to shame. They seemed to perfectly complement each other and segued into the composite presentation like snugly fitting pieces of a jigsaw.
The “show factor” notwithstanding, what the execs rolled out was impressive for what it could mean for Infor in particular and the enterprise software segment in general.
Let us get some facts out of the way first. As per Phillips, Infor spent about $1.1 billion over the past two-and-a-half years in modernizing its products (part of which, of course, went into making sure they don’t suck). Murphy said that the company saw 1248 customer go-lives last year (2012). In terms of revenue, Infor grew 17% compared to the previous year, notching up its cloud subscribers to an overall total of 3 million users. In addition, it added over 600 more developers to its staff, taking the total strength of its engineering talent to 3,500.
Now, these are certainly not very large numbers in absolute terms, especially when one thinks of bigger rivals such as SAP and Oracle. But what Infor has been trying to do is quite significant in proportion to its own size and ambitions.
According to Angove, “We are reshaping the future of work…[through] dense information expressed beautifully and quickly.”
Among the key things that Infor announced at the event: Infor 10x enterprise suite of applications that span 12 focus verticals as well as business apps for financials, human capital management (HCM), enterprise asset management (EAM), supply chain management (SCM), product lifecycle management (PLM), and customer relationship management (CRM).
In a company announcement, Infor said, “Infor 10x unites a multi-purpose middleware platform featuring social, mobile, analytical, and cloud capabilities…All major applications feature a reinvented HTML5 user experience, the new Infor Ming.le collaboration platform, and pervasive in-context analytics embedded throughout workflows that are packaged within the Infor ION integration framework.”
The entire release will follow a phased approach, starting with Infor ION, Infor Ming.le, EAM, CRM, Hansen, LN and SunSystems applications (many of these refer to products from a string of acquisitions Infor made over several years in the past). The rollout is expected to be complete in the latter half of 2015.
The big attractions
From the hype and the excitement generated at the event, it seems that much of the company’s success in the next couple of years will revolve around these things: an easy-to-use, redesigned interface (what Infor calls the Soho experience), embedded social media for working within the applications, and the integration platform ION (some folks at Infor don’t like the term "middleware").
Plus, there’s one more thing that Infor is indeed very proud of: its ability to provide specific solutions not just for the big vertical segments like automobiles or food and beverages, but for micro-verticals such as equipment dealers for trucks or bakeries and breweries.
“While we made several acquisitions in the past, we have spent the past couple of years making the solutions work better and faster together,” said Soma Somasundaram, Executive VP of Product Strategy and R&D, Infor. “Our products are engineered for speed.” According to him, while there are bigger rivals in the market, Infor as a company is completely centered on applications. And such a razor-sharp focus gives the firm an edge.
The apple of most eyes at the event, however, was Hook & Loop, Infor’s own creative unit that draws upon a wide array of talent, including designers, copywriters, filmmakers and, yes, developers. Formed “with the mandate to create experiences people love,” Hook & Loop has put form and function together in an appealing sort of way for Infor’s new applications.
The India story
The name Infor itself may not evoke much response at first in India, but mention BaaN, SSA Global and Lawson (companies acquired by Infor) and a lot of hands will show up. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for the company, which is sure to increase its focus on the Indian market (at the moment, just 10% of its global revenue comes from APAC).
“Over the past 2-3 years we have been putting in place the right structure to enable growth in the APAC region. We plan to double our revenue in the next three years,” said Tim Moylan, Vice President, APAC & Japan. The company will drive its business mostly through channel partners and focus on segments such as distribution & logistics, retail and fashion.
TCS, one of the larger solution partners for the company, has two centers of excellence and around 170 people trained on various Infor platforms, according to Rajendra Chaudhari, Global Head – Niche Growth Platform (NGP), Enterprise Solutions. Chaudhari said that Infor has great penetration in the retail space, especially in warehouse management. It is the No. 1 vendor in APAC in this category, and its customers in India include Big Bazaar, Peter England, Allen Solly, Trent, and Landmark.
While partners like TCS work with almost all big vendors, there are smaller partners of Infor, many of them focusing exclusively on Infor. One such firm is Avaap. “We were actually associated with Lawson, which Infor acquired sometime back, and we have continued our association with the parent company,” said Dhiraj Shah, President & CEO, Avaap. The company develops bolt-on products to make ERP more efficient. In fact, it recently got a partner innovation award from Infor for its automation module for regression testing for S3.
Shah is happy to have been dealing exclusively in Infor-based solutions and has been able to grow his firm in tandem with Infor. However, asked about the challenges Infor might face in future, he said, “The challenge for Infor will be to maintain a healthy balance in gaining versus losing its people as the company continues to grow rapidly. Another challenge will be to make their product internationally work as well as they do in the U.S.”
In addition, providing good local support for its software could be a challenge, according to Anil Nashikkar, Vice President, KPIT Cummins. He is quite gung-ho about Infor and the new product rollouts but also pointed to the wait-and-watch approach adopted by many customers of Infor-acquired Lawson (which in turn had acquired Sweden-based Intentia; how many of Intentia/Lawson customers upgrade to new versions or software from Infor remains in question).
Nevertheless, there are those who bought BaaN way back and are moving on with Infor. Take the case of Merino Industries, which deployed BaaN in 2000, updated to LN in 2010 across three manufacturing locations and 54 distribution warehouses, and now plans to add on more solutions from Infor (demand planning, CRM and ION are under consideration).
“We are quite satisfied with the licensing policy of Infor,” said Sanjay Sharda, CIO, Merino Industries. Talking about his migration to the new version of ERP, he said that the company successfully migrated 10 years of historical data, which is close to 1TB.
“The new GUI is very good compared to the old version. Efficiency of production planning has improved from 82% to 97%, capacity utilization has gone up by 5% and inventory has reduced by 14%, which is equivalent to savings of $3 million annually,” said Sharda. The challenge for Infor, according to him, would be in terms of branding and lack of implementation skills in the Indian market.
Arjuna Sirinanda, CEO of apparel manufacturer Brandix, which is both a customer and a partner, said that implementing Infor’s M3 ERP has benefited the company through better capacity utilization and improved visibility of orders through the manufacturing chain. He spoke highly of the social network approach of Infor for its new launch. “There will be much more demand for business collaboration for tools like Ming.le,” he said. He is looking forward to M3 being rolled out as a service.
Prasham Kamdar, Managing Partner, Ptex, another Infor partner, summed up Infor’s new approach to business software: “They are trying to make enterprise systems as user-friendly as Facebook.”
Now, it remains to be seen to what extent the new products and look-and-feel help Infor boost its customer base from the current 70,000, especially in emerging markets such as India, China, Brazil and others. The next Inforum should be interesting to watch.
The three winners of Microsoft's Completely Boss Challenge competition are getting a chance to build a five-year growth plan, with support from various industry experts
By KTP Radhika
The challenges in the world of small and medium businesses are much different from those of large organizations. Many SMBs even find it difficult to understand their business strengths and weaknesses. As it happens, much of the valuable time of the CEO or owner of an SMB is spent on managing the workplace, attending phone calls, administration related work, fixing IT problems and many more mundane activities. Time that could have been—and should have been—better spent on taking critical decisions, planning for future growth, and other important tasks fit for a “boss.”
While most SMB leaders find themselves entangled in the routine operational activities, the three winners of Microsoft's Completely Boss Challenge presented a different story.
The winners belonged to Sort India Enviro Solutions (a recycling and waste management company based out of Vadodara), Hyderabad-based Rohini Minerals (a manufacturer of cost-effective poultry and cattle feed) and Mumbai-based Neptunus Power Plant Services (a solution provider for engine-based industrial and marine power plants). And as a reward, they are all going to get support from Microsoft (on technology), LinkedIn (on talent), Moneycontrol.com (on media), WebChutney (on marketing), DOOR (on business consulting) and CRISIL SME Ratings (on knowledge) to develop a five-year robust business growth plan.
Organized by Microsoft Office 365, The Completely Boss Challenge was India's first platform to reward and celebrate outstanding business leaders from India’s thriving small and mid-market sector.
Around 2500 CEOs from across 7 cities (Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai) contested in first three rounds of the competition. The contest started with registered participants being evaluated on a quiz on knowledge and application-based questions, which was assigned weightage by QuizWorks, a leading quizzing company.
Phase 2, which was city prelims, included events in the seven cities. The top 50 finalists from each city participated in the next level: an on-ground contest. Three shortlisted candidates from each of these seven cities participated in the finals of The Completely Boss Challenge; finally, three all-India winners were selected.
Prashant Gubba, owner of Gubba Cold Storage based out of Hyderabad and one of the finalists of the competition, said that it was exciting to participate in the event and it gave his company a platform to present its business. Echoing the same sentiment, another participant, Vishwas Kulkarni,
Director at Computer Home based out of Pune, felt that The Completely Boss Challenge is a perfect platform for his company to showcase its products and services and will help SMBs to attain greater heights.
A platform to grow
The main criteria for choosing the winners were their business strength, competitive advantage, how better they manage it and the financial growth of the company. Paresh Tulsidas Parekh, founder of Sort India Enviro, said, “This has been a great experience for me and I'm glad to be amongst the top three winners. This unique platform will help us to scale our business and we are looking forward to working with the jury to prepare our 5-year business growth plan.”
According to Gaddam Ranjith Reddy, Managing Director, Rohini Minerals, it was a tough competition wherein CEOs of midsize businesses gave their best shot. However, he felt that it was awesome to be amongst the top three winners in a competition like this, which is a first-of-its-kind.
Uday Purohit, Managing Director of Neptunus, opined that Microsoft’s Completely Boss Challenge, targeted at the mid-market segment, is a great platform for SMBs to showcase their unique business models. “The competition opens up a whole new dimension for our business,” he said.
Ramkumar Pichai, GM - Microsoft Office Division, Microsoft Corporation India, said that the experience of interacting with the mid-market CEOs has been very exciting and fulfilling. "This clearly shows that the Indian market has tremendous potential and it is further validated by the capability of the entrepreneurs who have come for The Completely Boss Challenge. Unique business models, especially that of the winners, showcase immense potential to innovate and grow using technology to achieve competitive strength and business growth. These companies have developed a systematic innovation capability which assures them of a series of successes that deliver business value,” he said.
He also felt that programs like The Completely Boss Challenge will enable SMBs to create, foster and grow innovative business models that have a positive impact on their communities and at the same time are crucial to India’s economic growth.]]>
The original Valley startup is once again pulling itself up by the bootstraps and gearing up for a new style of IT defined by cloud, mobility, social and big data
By Sanjay Gupta
It is old wisdom that when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Or at least say hello in the local language.
That’s exactly what Meg Whitman, HP’s charismatic CEO, did in her keynote in Beijing recently. And given the size of the China market (and probably HP’s targets for emerging markets like China), she followed her Chinese greeting with a lot of praise for the country: how HP became one of the first JVs in high-tech way back in 1985, the significance of starting the World Tour events right there, etc., etc.
Squarely putting customers at the center of what HP does, Whitman emphasized the relevance of her company to enterprise and end customers. “You need HP to continue to bring you solutions to succeed in the market,” she said.
While that is true to some extent, the bigger reality may be the other way round: HP perhaps needs new customers to sign up as well as old loyalists to stick around more than at any other time in its long, storied history.
HP, the original garage-style startup of Silicon Valley that went on to become one of the world’s largest, most respected and diverse IT vendors, has been having checkered success and struggling to maintain its dominance in the world of technology for the past few years.
Among the challenges the company has faced: constant changes at the top (Whitman was the fourth CEO in less than three years when she joined), confusion about how to run the PCs/printers business (still big in numbers but long commoditized), messy/expensive acquisitions such as Compaq’s and, more recently, Autonomy’s, missing the tablet/mobile boom, and many more.
High time the company came out with an all-round strategy to counter the situation and silence the critics—as well as reassure the customers.
The World Tour event in Beijing was part of a series HP has rolled out, basically, to connect with key customers in different regions and broadcast the message: HP is here to stay. And, of course, to make loud and clear noises about being on a course where everyone is moving—to cloud, to big data, to mobility, to social media, the works.
Like Whitman said, every 10 to 15 years big changes happen in the world of computing. “We are at the next inflection point of cloud,” she noted.
She also referred to the “new way of IT” which is driven, besides cloud, by more data, more speed, more consumerization...or call it more expectations from the vendors.
The new HP
The problems with HP could also be its strengths, if it can play its deck well. One can either look at the huge portfolio in bewilderment or say, “Wow, you’ve got it all.”
With Whitman at the helm and COO Bill Veghte and other lieutenants at her side, HP seems to have realized that it must leverage its past successes, invest in new technologies and make a concerted go at the market opportunities. Trying to keep its old DNA of innovation and people-friendliness intact, the company is projecting a new HP that’s more palatable not just to investors and analysts but, more importantly, to the new, more-demanding customer.
Which is why Whitman said in her address: “We helped build the previous world, and we will help build the new one. We have a great track record of success and HP is here to stay.”
That, of course, would be easier said than done, especially with nifty cloud and device rivals nipping at its heels and shifty customers changing handsets (and sometimes vendors) at the first touch of discomfort.
No wonder Veghte maintains a punishing global travel schedule to meet up with customers and partners (before his keynote, he pointed to the bags around his eyes as proof).
Reinforcing Whitman’s spiel on the new way of IT, Veghte said, “HP is not just about hardware and software; it’s about 300,000 committed employees around the world.” Giving a sweeping view of HP’s products, he added, “We are innovating aggressively to make the user experience simpler, faster and secure.”
In the enterprise space, HP has of late been talking a lot about its converged infrastructure offerings—for building a common, modern IT architecture that “pools resources across servers, storage and networking.” At Beijing, HP announced new additions to its Converged Cloud portfolio, which is touted to deliver improved agility, greater innovation and lower cost of hybrid cloud environments.
The new announcement includes HP Cloud OS, which is based on OpenStack (an open source software for building private and public clouds). While there are other foundations to build clouds, HP and a growing roster of companies are placing their bets on OpenStack.
The pitch about converged products, however, is not entirely new and other vendors are also offering similar, common-architecture products. The differentiation, claims Whitman, is that “no other company can execute like HP can.”
One of the key constituents of HP’s success in the cloud world will be how its 80-plus CloudAgile partners are able to convince their customers to build the various flavors of cloud with HP ingredients.
For its part, HP also has a team of consultants and is organizing what it calls “Transformation Experience Workshops” for enterprises. Through them, the company aims to understand the big pain points or transformational needs of existing as well as prospective customers—and then suggest a solution or a custom package of solutions from its portfolio.
According to Balaji SV, Regional Director (APAC & Japan) of Storage Services under HP’s Technology Consulting division, the conversion rate of such workshops is as high as 70-80%.
A long shot
Another innovation that HP thinks can catapult it to starry heights in cloud computing, especially for the new data centers currently being built all over the world, is a product called Moonshot. In Veghte’s words, it offers “the fastest time-to-value to build a private cloud.”
Brandishing what looked like a thin circuit board the size of a folded newspaper before the audience at Beijing, he proudly exclaimed, “This is going to be big because it is small.”
HP claims that Moonshot is the world’s first software-defined web server and, compared to traditional servers, consumes 80% less space and 89% less energy—at a cost that is 77% lower. It is also supposed to be incredibly simple.
In a quote posted on HP’s website, Whitman gushes about the product, “HP Moonshot marks the beginning of a new style of IT that will change the infrastructure economics and lay the foundation for the next 20 billion devices [that will be connected to the Internet].”
That’s a long shot among the series of salvos HP has fired. How well are these received and returned by enterprises will be seen pretty soon. The computing ball is on an interesting roll once again.]]>
SAP Insider 2013 stressed on the need for unlocking the power of data for real-time business insights and optimized decision making
By KTP Radhika
Data growth continues to double or even triple every year or two and organizations are facing many challenges in deriving meaningful information from data. At the recently held SAP Insider 2013 event at Singapore, the software giant presented some interesting insights on the new developments happening in the big data field and how some new sectors like sports are increasingly using business intelligence and analytics to run their businesses better.
Presenting his keynote address, Francois Lancon, President and Managing Director SAP South East Asia stressed on the growth of big data and the importance of analytics in the age of social and mobile. He observed that once, social was all about personal and now its all about business. “Success depends on how you transform your business and SAP enables in that transformation.” Citing an example of Formula 1, Lancon said that a F1 car has a lot technology and generates about 1 GB of raw data. “ F1 is a business and if you put analytics into it, you can get more value out of it.”
Many of the analytic solutions today are back ward looking. But to run a smart business, a company needs a forward looking solution felt Kurt J Bilafer, Regional VP , Analytics, SAP APJ. Speaking on the topic 'Analytics: the power of people', he said that it is important to get meaningful insights from the data that is popping out from social media, mobile devices and machine to machine communication in huge variety and volume. To tame the ever growing data, a company would require a smart analytical solution. With HANA, BusinessObjects (SAP's BI software) and Lumira (visualization software) companies will be able to get meaningful information about their businesses.
SAP is expecting that its partners around the world will earn US $220 billion in revenue in the next five years from its analytics and big data products. In that, almost about US $50 billion will be from Asia Pacific Japan(APJ) region. Last year, the company's partners made US $6.1 billion of revenue in analytics and big data.
Big data does not always mean big enterprise. It is applicable to any size of organization. What is important is that the company has to have correct data tools to extract and analyze data. These were the thoughts that Anthony McMahon, SVP, Platform Businesses- Database, Technology, Analytics & Mobility SAP APJ shared.
Talking on 'Changing the Game with Big Data,' he pointed out that marrying analytics with external data should bring in a change in the overall business process of an organization. He said that BI will help companies in understanding customers in a better way and help servicing them better. For instance, predictive analytics can offer predictive healthcare which will help in providing the right services to every customer.
SAP showcased several analytic technologies that can help companies revolutionize their decision making process. SAP HANA, SAP BusinessObjects BI solutions, SAP Lumira, a next level visualization technology and their cloud and mobile analytic solutions were on display.
According to SAP, the top ten verticals with analytics and big data opportunities are discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, government, communications and media, banking, professional services, retail, healthcare, utilities and insurance. While the top drivers for adoption are cost control, operation optimization, financial analysis and risk management, companies are also using analytics heavily for customer acquisition, retention and product innovation.
SAP Insider also discussed about how some new verticals like sports are increasingly adopting BI and Analytics. “SAP helps more than 248,500 customers in 25 industries run better. Now we are bringing our experience and world-class technology to sports teams, leagues and venues to help them run faster, smarter and simpler,” Bilafer explained.
SAP has developed solutions for fan engagement, drive on field performance and optimize business efficiency. Citing a use case of McLaren Group (an F1 racing company), Bilafer explained how the company was able to analyze fuel consumption, optimum time for pick up, drivers' performance etc. with SAP HANA. “The real-time analysis of car sensor data against both historical data and predictive models, helped the team to make immediate proactive corrections, avoid costly, dangerous incidents and win the race. With instant analysis of what is happening to the car while the race is on, the driver and engineers can work together to ensure a winning result,” he said.
Sap Insider also witnessed many other interesting use case presentations. For example, Kimberly-Clark, a company well-known for its global brands like Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups and Kotex, demonstrated how data analytics plays an important role in tracking the sales performance of its Huggies brand of diapers during promotion and measures the results against its market projections. SAP BusinessObjects Mobile has enabled the company to build a portfolio of mobile BI applications that provide key decision-makers with access to analytics and powerful insights anywhere, anytime.