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Making progress in the cloud

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By Anirban Ghosal

Businesses often realise that the cloud could transform the way they work, but still struggle with a number of common barriers to adoption. To help simplify cloud adoption in India, Microsoft has rolled out a new programme for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to adopt cloud and related services in a more hassle-free and cost-effective manner, in turn expanding its cloud reach in India. The US technology major seems to be right in the direction where its CEO, Satya Nadella, wants it to move as this new programme reinforces that the firm is betting on its cloud services to expand which the CEO had pointed out at the beginning of the year.

Karan Bajwa, managing director, Microsoft India, said, “Cloud adoption in India is growing in triple digit percentage year-on-year.  The new Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider’s programme will make SMBs more competitive with enterprise-grade technology and value-added services from the Microsoft cloud.”

Under the programme, SMBs can now adopt value-added enterprise solutions and offerings supporting their specific requirements on the cloud through Microsoft’s ‘Cloud Solution Providers (CSP)’. Cloud Solution Providers are partners who build solutions leveraging the Microsoft cloud and the Azure platform for SMBs across the country on a pay-as-you-go model, which will allow SMBs to work with a CSP of their choice for various IT requirements.

The CSP will own the complete customer life cycle of the SMB and will provide direct billing, offer combined and customised solutions, directly provision, as well as manage and support Microsoft cloud offerings for their customers. This will help the SMBs expand business opportunities for them and the CSPs. It will allow CSPs to own the complete customer relationship – starting with understanding customer requirements, designing customised solutions and offers with Office 365, easy billing and support. SMBs will benefit from the subscription-based payment model that will ease the pressure on their expenditure.

“Our partners in India work closely with SMBs and understand their specific requirements and challenges. Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers will make it easier for SMBs to adopt the cloud in a manner relevant, financially viable and most beneficial for their business,” said Meetul Patel, general manager, SMS&P, Microsoft India.

Microsoft has launched the programme with seven CSPs in India— GlobalOutlook, ZNetLive, Trimax IT Infrastructure and Services, Sify Technologies, Emkor, Opto Telelinks and XcellHost Cloud Services. Explaining the CSP model, Vikram Dham, CEO, Emkor, said, “LiME, our cloud-based business process management solution has become more compelling with Office 365. We are now able to offer a complete business management suite for SMBs giving them complete control over their business while focusing more on their core business and being profitable and productive.”

Munesh Singh, CEO, ZnetLive, asserted: “Online presence is helping SMBs expand the geographical spread of their business. Office 365 helps to connect them effectively with customers across the world. As a Microsoft CSP, our value to SMBs is comprehensive online presence at economical cost.” Another partner, Debanjan Kumar, president—Applications Integration Services, Sify Technologies, said, “As a Cloud Services Partner of Microsoft, we can now offer our clients the full suite of Office 365 products in addition to our comprehensive portfolio of domestic data services extended on a scalable, reliable network infrastructure. This will free our customers from multiple vendor billing and offer connectivity, productivity and support from a single provider.”

Microsoft also clarified that there will be no lock in period for the cloud services use and the customer can move whenever and wherever he planned. When asked about the growth in the number of CSPs, Patel said, “The number is expected to grow over time with more partners becoming Cloud Solution Providers.”

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