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We are aiming to become the largest IT company in India: Sharad Sanghi, NTT Ltd India

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Last year, global giant NTT, announced the merger of three of its business entities namely NTT India Pvt. Ltd., NTT Com India, and Netmagic into a single organization. It also named Sharad Sanghi as the Leader of India business effective 1 January 2021. Sharad Sanghi today is the CEO–Global Data Centers and Cloud Infrastructure (India) of NTT (also known as NTT-Netmagic). In an exclusive interaction with Express Computer, he shares with us the key advantages of the integration, and how NTT Ltd India plans to play a major part in the data center ecosystem.

Some edited excerpts:

What does the merger of the three entities mean for the group in India?
Each entity is bringing complementary strengths. We have Netmagic which is a leader in data center and cloud services. We have NTT which has an NLD license and is also setting up the undersea cable project. We also have Dimension Data, which is a leader in system integration and a large player in managed services. Close to 70% of India’s bank branches are managed by them. We are looking at combining these complementary skill sets. Hence, the sales team of NTT Ltd India will get trained on all the products and services of the other two companies and vice versa.

The go to market strategy with the combined strength of the three organizations and the combined products of the three organizations becomes very unique. It is an end to end play. I don’t think there’s any other Indian IT company that can offer the range of IT infrastructure services that we offer — from undersea cables to data center to cloud or multi-cloud. This is complemented a comprehensive range of managed infrastructure services, including on premise services, including services like collaboration. So even if you look at the larger ICT companies, they’re mostly focused on international services, and even the domestic arms don’t have as comprehensive range of services as we do. Additionally, with the teams coming together, we can obviously optimize better with automation. The real value is being able to provide services to address a larger segment of the market with a combined portfolio of services. We see ourselves playing a very unique role in India, and in the next 2-3 years, we have a desire to become the largest IT company in India.

What are some of the short term opportunities for your organization?
Today, all the three organizations that I spoke about are growing nicely independently. Our aim now is to grow this even faster, because we have a larger sales force and larger accounts to target. For example, as a brand, Dimension Data has some of the largest banks including the public sector banks as the clients. Similarly, Netmagic has a good range of not only some of the large hyperscale but also a lot of mid market or born-in-the cloud companies as our clients. NTT Communication India has a lot of hyper scalers for the network piece of the business but also many global multinational clients. So, the combination becomes very unique. And I think in the short term, the first aim is hit our numbers in the first quarter, even though this is like a transition quarter.

From April onwards, I believe, we will see the true power and potential of this merger. We have already started training the teams on all the technologies, and we have already come up with a common organizational structure, where we have organized ourselves into product business units and regions. For example, we have the hybrid cloud business unit, the network business unit, the data center business unit, the SI business unit, etc, and the managed services, including security business unit. The aim is to see that with all these business units, we are looking at how do can continue to do product innovation and product engineering, which can then translate into better sales.

You have also spoken about raising efficiencies using automation. Can you elaborate?
We want to embark on a major transformation initiative. For example, in our managed services businesses, I want to introduce more automation and AI Ops, so that we can derive more efficiency and give the benefits to the clients. We are continuing to leverage not only the innovation done in NTT, but also try to customize products and services in the country using our development centers, because there is no one size fits all. We also want to automate migrations and try to bring in more automation to networks and system administration and monitoring.

We can scale more with the right technology. Automation can not only increase the productivity and efficiency, but also reduce human error. So the same automation technology that we used to develop our cloud offering, we can use the same automation technology and platforms to automate all aspects of our business. If we succeed in bringing in more automation, our margins will automatically increase. For example, we have already automated all our patching activity. We have already automated a large portion of our migration activity when we migrate from one cloud to the other or on premise to cloud. For example, in a large branch network, it becomes challenging to download software to all the sites and take care of configuration changes. Automation can help in addressing challenges such as these.

IP creation has been one of the key areas under your leadership. How do you see the value of IP creation now in the context of a larger ecosystem?
We have been doing innovation not only for the domestic market, but also contributing a lot of this to the global market. This includes IPs such as the multi-cloud insight portal, the automated Cloud Connect service (which allows us to connect any of our clients to connect to the cloud by just clicking). I believe our innovation engine is a strategic advantage. This is one of the reasons why we have been able to introduce the first of any product, whether it was the first offering of virtual storage, Application Performance Management as a Service or DR as a Service. This approach has not only helped us get new business, but it has also got us thought leadership and mind share with clients. With the combined entity, we can scale this to bigger levels. This is a distinct edge over some of our competition, and is one of the most strategic differentiators we have.

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