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Accelerating India’s digital transformation through cloud

November 16, 2018

Sumeet Walia   

Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Tata Communications

Tata Communications recently participated in the CII National Public Procurement Conclave (NPPC) in Delhi to talk about the importance of the latest digital technologies such as cloud and IoT in accelerating innovation in the public procurement sector, and our role in enabling this platform through enhanced connectivity, efficiency and security. This event followed the launch of the CII – Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation earlier this year. The Centre aims to act as a catalyst to accelerate digital change for India by bringing the industry together to spur the adoption of mobile, cloud, the Internet of Things, and champion the cultivation of new talent.

Increased adoption of cloud could help India deliver on-demand, smarter-citizen centric services, and transform the country into a hotbed of innovation.

Buoyed by strong policies, India is racing towards a digital-first economy. To realise this vision, the forward-thinking leadership of the government is building an inclusive technology-enabled society through programmes such as Digital India – bridging the digital divide and boosting online commerce. The good news is, adoption of sophisticated digital technologies is indeed helping India’s businesses and its public ecosystem unlock huge opportunities and transform the nation into a trillion-dollar knowledge economy.

Catalysing this transition is the fast-paced urbanisation, the steady focus on improving infrastructure, and identification of new skills; all propelled by these data-driven technologies.

As the country strives to accelerate its digital transformation journey, cloud is emerging as a critical national infrastructure – just like water, power, gas, roads and transport networks. Data-driven services are becoming fundamental and existential to businesses and society, and in line with this, hybrid cloud platforms are growing to be vital strategic drivers for boosting innovation, efficiency and productivity while helping the country stay relevant in the new normal.

This transformation is not just about digitisation of processes. It’s about creating value for citizens and businesses by leveraging new technologies and building a new way of operation based on smarter systems that enable smarter use of data. It’s about harnessing cloud powered technologies like IoT, AI and advanced analytics, bringing about a tangible difference in the way people and businesses work and operate. It’s about improving lives by ushering in societal and economic progress at an unprecedented pace, to stay ahead of the curve.

According to Gartner, hybrid cloud solutions will drive the overall cloud adoption in India. The public cloud services market in India is already on an upward trajectory – reaching $1.8 billion in 2017, up from $1.3 billion in 2016. By 2020, this figure is expected to reach $4.1 billion. While the base may be low today, this growth has the power to transform businesses, governments and cities – paving the way for smarter enterprises, better healthcare, efficient agriculture and better education, among others. Small and large enterprises too are able to improve their ROI significantly because of the efficiency and flexibility it brings. For instance, we have enough case studies to show that technology is truly transforming the supply chain business in ways previously unimagined. Farmers, in different parts of the world, can now connect with potential buyers and get market pricing via text messages to inform production planning. This could significantly change the agriculture sector in India.

No doubt, as per the government’s intention, embracing sophisticated cloud technologies will turn the country’s digital infrastructure into a core utility to every citizen, improve governance and services on demand while leading digital empowerment of people. We can expect this to drive access to high speed internet, unique authentication, citizen participation in the financial space, easy access to common service centres and through the implementation of right policies, a safer cyber space.

However, while the cloud is getting ubiquitous, there is still a long way to go. We need to ensure the country fares well in its overall cloud computing readiness, in terms of privacy laws, cybersecurity laws, and broadband infrastructure. According to the 2018 BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, which ranks countries’ preparedness for the adoption and growth of cloud computing services, India ranks 20th out of 24 in the list primarily because of lack of data protection and privacy rules. Clearly, there is a strong need for policymakers and cloud service providers to come together and build a national framework that addresses these key policy areas.

We are on the right path though, with national initiatives like MeghRaj, aimed at hosting various government applications and services on the cloud. Saving the government from the burden of building additional digital infrastructure, such cloud platforms are helping leaders to adopt better governance through efficient citizen centric services. Working together with private enterprises, there is tremendous scope to ensure the right policies and risk and compliance systems are built in, so we adhere to international standards of data protection and privacy to alleviate typical adoption barriers. This will ensure heightened collaboration within the public-private industry ecosystem and turn the country into a hotbed of innovation, boosting borderless growth, higher productivity, and agility.

Read about how cloud solutions can help businesses move into the ‘Information Age’.