Article: Born in the Cloud

Buzz word today in the country is undoubtedly the term called ‘Start-up’. Young and energetic, fueled by their ideas, are flocking together to put their thoughts into reality. Hundreds of examples can be quoted as evidence who are real and successful. Considering the recent names doing rounds, TinyOwl, FreshMenu, Practo, Hiree are a few who stand out, but there are thousands who have flourished in this tech enabled start-up era. We call them ‘Tech Start-ups’ since the backbone/heart of their service offering is presented as a tech solution in the form of an App/Application. A phenomena which was uncommon during most part of last decade, has witnessed unprecedented surge with individuals/groups stepping out of their day job to follow their entrepreneurial dreams. Students are no different here as they are right in the front seat to follow their dream of giving life to their ideas. All in all, while we are witnessing an outburst of devise in the current decade, there seems to an established culture of planting a start-up in most part of Urban India. In addition, there is significant focus and push by the government in nurturing the ecosystem and contribute to ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The trends are many and outcomes are multifold. What stands out to me is the emergence of a trifecta effect of ‘Devices’, ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Services’. We are witnessing a clear culmination of these three areas each complementing one another. ‘Connectivity’ is the heart of this phenomena which bridges ‘Devices’ and ‘Services’. For a tech powered start-up, ‘Connectivity’ functions as the pulse or heartbeat of their business. Today, for a start-up, ‘Cloud’ clearly provides the operating ground, where there is unlimited compute and choice. Scale and economics are key levers, which decide the direction in which the business is heading.

Let us rewind to same time a decade back. For a technology powered start-up, putting together infrastructure of any scale was a daunting task. Hosters provided space, power and hardware, while the overhead of infrastructure management, scale and ensuring availability of base foundation formed the bulk of operating expenses. In addition, every aspect of what a hoster provided, had a sealing despite having the required capital. For a start-up, while a big ask comes in the form of Capital investment, operating expenses were no less. Whether the defined infrastructure was optimally kept busy or underutilized, operating expenses were not metered. Today, businesses are born at the click of a button and they are up and running the next hour. They are truly ‘Born in the Cloud’ where they have choice, freedom and does address economics at scale. New Services are born each day and we also witness service acquisitions if and when differentiated solutions are found to be complimentary or extension to the core service of a business.

Public Cloud has taken off and is considered to be the new tarmac for businesses to leap forward. India has seen Microsoft announce the commencement of a Public Cloud offering (Data Centers) and others in the foray are following suite. Building Data Centers and offering unlimited compute and related services requires significant investments and global public cloud vendors are putting India on the global map. While it has just begun with Microsoft, got to wait and watch on who will set their foot on this trail. End of the day, this a big boon for any business who rely on technology/compute infrastructure. On the other hand, this development is definitely a wake-up call to Govt. and financial services industry who are bound by regulatory and compliance.

With the surge in # of businesses sprouting across the country, the question that comes up is of feasibility and economics. For a start-up, the scale and economics go hand in hand. No one should consider or embrace cloud because it is cheap. I read a Gartner article which positions # of myths people have on Public Cloud and businesses embracing cloud because it is cheap is considered one of them. The article goes onto indicate that a CXO who considers cloud to be cheap and hence has adopted will soon realize that it was a career limiting decision. Well! While cloud is definitely economical considering GTM, other tenets like ‘Hyper Scale’, ‘Elasticity’, ‘Availability backed by SLAs’ etc overshadow just the cost. Hence the need of the hour is to look at cloud holistically and consider tenets which favor the operating model of a business beyond simply the cost.

Considering the trifecta effect (Devices’, ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Services) indicated earlier, ‘Service’ enablement is key and ‘Cloud’ has a critical role to play here. This is a huge opportunity for tech powered start-ups/businesses to leap frog into the minds of ‘Consumers’. Public Cloud momentum has just begun and here to stay as a host for life.

Magic of software and power of cloud will host businesses to offer services which otherwise required significant capital investments. While device adoption scales newer heights, public cloud adoption has definitely taken off. Businesses are looking at cloud as a vehicle to leap frog and garner attention. Today, for any tech powered business, ‘Cloud’ is an integral part of the overall landing strategy.  It is time to get ‘Cloud Ready’.

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