Microsoft Corporation on cloud nine

The Indian workplace is changing quickly, with technology at the centre of the change. Cloud computing is no longer a technology buzzword tossed around in company corridors.

By Sudhir Chowdhary

It’s mainstream now than ever before and to be on the cloud is today every business’ priority. Microsoft, the $86 billion software giant from Seattle, claims that 80% of Fortune 500 companies run Microsoft’s cloud platform, and this is a trend that cuts across industries and geographies. In India too, it is having a dream run in its cloud business.

It is adding 2,000 commercial cloud customers in the country every month. “We are particularly excited by the number of small and medium businesses (SMBs) moving to the cloud,” says Karan Bajwa, managing director, Microsoft India.

A quick look at some of the beneficiaries of Microsoft’s cloud offerings in India. Chillibreeze, a Shillong-based content and design company, migrated to Microsoft Office 365 to simplify, strengthen and stabilise their IT infrastructure. With an aim to build a sustainable IT business that supports and enables communities with skills and employment, Chillibreeze needed a solution that would reduce the complexity of infrastructure and make maintenance easy.

With Office 365, the team is not only able to collaborate seamlessly and improve knowledge sharing, but the all-inclusive offering takes care of all their business needs, that is, from hosting the website to securing the customer information—allowing them to focus on their vision to increase employability. Along with the Office suite, plug-in CRM app has enabled them to enhance their sales follow-up capabilities.

Cloud services like Office 365 are enabling professionals and individuals to be more productive. It is helping organisations to support a truly mobile workforce that is geographically spread in a secure and efficient manner. Take for instance Pricol, a Coimbatore-based auto component manufacturer for leading automobile companies; it has deployed Microsoft Office 365 to secure its intellectual property and sensitive data.

The deployment has helped them protect the design and specifications of products under development by allowing access to only authorised users and customers thereby creating a secure R&D environment. It has helped them streamline their policies for access rights to sensitive information, solve critical business issues at an affordable price, enhance employee productivity and efficiency and engage better with their customers, suppliers and partners globally.

Among others, Ascent Yarns India, a manufacturer and exporter of specialised polyester yarns for label weavings, has enhanced business decision making by using Microsoft cloud solutions. With business decision makers always on the go and operative from different time zones, simple, daily decisions and responses would get delayed by 2-3 days. With over 20-25 critical business decisions being taken every day, the requirement was to have a solution that would improve the collaboration, communication and information sharing. The deployment of SharePoint has automated the process and enabled the business to view the work-flow, on the go.

Flick2Know, a end-to-end quick response code solution provider, has built Field Assist, a cloud-based sales tracking and management solution on Microsoft Azure platform. With clientele panning across geographies, they required a solution that could manage the exponential growth trajectory and automate the sales trajectory. With Azure as the platform, they were able to build a solution that provides real-time data insights andimproves the efficiency of salesforce on the field.

MartJack Enterprises, a multi-channel e-commerce platform, has signed more than 250 enterprise customers globally leveraging Microsoft Azure enabled cloud platform. The cloud infrastructure has not only increased scalability for businesses, but has also enabled them to provide a uniform experience. The platform also enables retailers to leverage the power of mobile site, mobile application and social media integration to engage with digitally savvy consumers, giving businesses a boost. With this, the team can focus on customer acquisition and bring in customised deployments with superior value, claim Microsoft officials.

“We have witnessed triple digit growth in our cloud business in India which is in line with our global cloud performance. During the July-September quarter 2014, we registered a 128% growth in commercial cloud sales, and the sales of services based on our Azure cloud platform rose 121%, worldwide,” says the Microsoft India MD (see interview). According to Greyhound Research, the addressable cloud market in India is expected to hit the $1 billion mark in 2015. This massive growth is being driven by the advent of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) and its quick transition from being a mere buzzword to impacting the delivery of business outcomes for enterprises.

Typical use cases for the cloud in India include disaster recovery as a service, e-business web hosting, industry-specific applications and collaboration. According to Gartner, factors driving cloud adoption include a rapidly expanding landscape of providers and offerings, more competitive pricing, e-governance requirements, and new legislation protecting personal information, which will encourage people to adopt personal clouds.

Microsoft claims to have the most comprehensive cloud offering available for everyone to help address the requirements of a diverse range of industry verticals and segments. It is no surprise that their cloud is propelling the growth of start-ups and SMBs in India.

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