Looking Ahead 2021: Unlocking the Best of Cloud 

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“In 2021 and beyond, we expect enterprises to continue investing in cloud services. It will however be in a more planned manner than firefighting,” says Puneet Gupta, Managing Director, Marketing & Services, NetApp India, an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk


ET Bureau: How is the cloud demand right now, especially in this post-pandemic market scenario? Have you noticed any significant shifts in the way people are using cloud computing?

Puneet Gupta: A convergence of existing factors were already driving cloud transition which was further accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis: Cloud spending increased by 37% to $29 billion during the first quarter of 2020. Given the current state of pandemic in India, the trend is likely to continue as virtual work environment takes preference. Scalable, secure, reliable, cost-effective off-premises technology services are need of the hour.

In the pandemic-hit world, people are more cautious. With a need for products and services to be available online, demand for cloud has spiked. This growth is here to stay as we see an increased demand and appetite for digital services and cloud-based data management capabilities. According to Gartner, enterprises are set to increase their cloud spending from 9.1% in 2020 to 14.2% in 2024. In a scenario where we see businesses transforming quickly, cloud, coupled with computing capabilities using technologies like AI, will continue to shine.

Given the data deluge, it is critical to implement cloud-based architectures to help retrieve the right data from the right place at the right cost in real-time.

Also Read: How a Right Strategic Partner Adds Value to Digital Transformation

ET Bureau: Many Indian IT leaders are planning a significant hike in 2021 cloud budgets. So, where do you think the Indian cloud market is headed in 2021 and beyond?

Puneet Gupta: We witnessed an accelerated rate of cloud adoption during the pandemic and the cloud-demand is growing continuously. The spike can be attributed to the limitations induced by COVID-19. A lot of businesses had to struggle to merely sustain. Many companies had to shift gears quickly when it came to their digital transformation journeys, to deliver on customer expectations. As a result, the cloud market has seen a sudden growth.

In 2021 and beyond, we expect enterprises to continue investing in cloud services. It will however be in a more planned manner than firefighting. Companies will have data management strategies in place to combat the data deluge. Adopting hybrid multi cloud strategies will be the way forward with companies wanting to access data across locations seamlessly. There will be renewed focus on cloud cost optimization too. Cloud service providers like us are continuously innovating to help our customers unlock the best of cloud.

ET Bureau: How does moving data and analytics capabilities to the cloud help businesses achieve the benefits of scale and functionality?

Puneet Gupta: With organizations focused on mining valuable business insights using information collated from multiple sources, data becomes the new currency. The key enabler for this is data analytics services, fuelled by the scale of cloud.

The increase in data introduces its own set of challenges, both in terms of storing and processing. Leveraging cloud capabilities can help companies not only manage the sudden explosion of data but also derive meaningful value from it in a cost-effective way.

It is also essential for businesses to move their data and analytics capabilities to the cloud. Businesses need to ensure that they have a data fabric or a single pane that provides centralised visibility into all data volumes, irrespective of where the data resides. And this is where the role of an effective hybrid cloud infrastructure kicks in.

ET Bureau: Does shifting to a hybrid model approach help enterprises attain scalability and flexibility to manage public, private, and on-premises resources and gain the agility they need for a competitive advantage?

Puneet Gupta: Yes, adopting a hybrid multi-cloud approach enables organizations to cater to the evolving customer demands, competitive changes, fresh technology innovations, and regulatory modifications. It combines the security, customizability, and control of the private cloud with the scalability and flexibility of public, eliminating vendor lock-in and enabling unparalleled data and application portability. This helps companies to be truly agile.

Also Read: Turning Data Deluge into Actionable Intelligence

ET Bureau: How does NetApp help its partners and customers unlock the full power of the cloud?

Puneet Gupta: At NetApp, we help our customers to develop a robust data fabric to unlock the best of cloud. Cloud is not only a technology but an experience for us. Through alliance with our partners, we deliver innovative solutions to our customers, enabling them to embrace new digital business models. We have the unrivalled advantage of partnering with the major cloud solution providers to help our customers scale with ease.

We work with our partners and customers to amplify initiatives like our Data Visionary Club. We have a progressively evolved Unified Partner Program to strengthen and secure our partners’ market share. Our values include commitment to partner profitability, ease of doing business, and advancing an excellent return on our partnerships. As a direct result of our partners’ input, we make on-going improvements to our portfolio, programs, policies, and processes. Through acquisitions like Jumper and Spot, we are helping our partners offer a wider portfolio of cloud solutions at optimised costs thereby providing them with a competitive advantage.

Puneet Gupta is responsible for the overall business and operations of NetApp in India and the SAARC region. His directive includes growing market share and driving healthy ecosystem growth among both partners and customers in the region. This includes driving the data fabric experience, managing strategic partnerships, and developing hybrid multi-cloud products as well as solutions.

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Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.