Comprehending SaaS Apps can help CIOs add unique value to business: CEO, CtrlS



According to Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder and CEO of CtrlS Datacenters, for a CIO to deliver value to his organization, he would have to develop a thorough understanding of the cloud ecosystem and the interesting services that have come up because of SaaS.

Courtesy : ET CIO

Cloud has redefined the business-IT alignment. According to Sridhar Pinnapureddy, Founder and CEO of CtrlS Datacenters, for a CIO to deliver value to his organization, he would have to develop a thorough understanding of the cloud ecosystem and the interesting services that have come up because of SaaS.

The fast growing Indian data centre market, expected to touch $ 4.5 billion by 2018, is attracting several global colocation players. Is CtrlS feeling the heat?

The current volumes in the colocation market in India are not that huge so as to attract the big guys. However, as the market expands, they will eventually come. Global players no doubt have deep pockets but establishing colocation infrastructure in India is a huge development risk that I don’t see them taking.

They are not going to build facilities from ground-up but would instead consume existing colocation facilities available in India, which bodes well for our business. Colocation services in India have evolved and are at par with the best in the world. Our data centres, for instance, are more energy efficient than data centres anywhere in the world.

Parameters such as reliability and scalability are no longer differentiators for data centres. In such a scenario what value proposition do you offer to CIOs?

It’s true that all data centre players have pretty much achieved the scale and reliability. Information security is one piece where the industry is still not fully mature, and there is a lot of potential for service providers to deliver. This is where CtrS has made a lot of investments. We have established a state-of-the-art SOC that is compliant with RBI guidelines. The most important differentiation that we offer to CIOs, therefore, is that we are able to solve their problems from an infrastructure standpoint by providing provide industry-specific services. For instance, complying with security guidelines is a big industry problem for banks.

We solve that. Similarly, insurance companies have to manage and secure 30-35 applications, which is a herculean task. CtrlS steps in and manages and secures all the apps backed by SLAs that no other player offers.
But then why are you cutting down on your customer base? Is it a conscious thought-out business strategy to have fewer customers?

When new public service cloud players entered the market, we accepted that some of our existing customers could be serviced better by them. So, we decided to either shift such customers to our new platform ‘Cloud4C’ (CtrlS’s new offering to address the specific needs of companies in a specific industry vertical in a specific geography) or allow them to leave us and go. We have set up a specific division that is currently actively counselling and migrating customers.

Our customer base has reduced from 3000 to 900, which will further shrink to 400 in the next three years. Our goal is to have only those customers who need industrial services and want their business problems solved instead of demanding just compute power. In fact, this we formulated this strategy two years before public cloud players entered into India.
So where does the government vertical fit in your overall scheme of things? After all, going digital is a big focus of the current government.

We are seeing several progressive things happening in the government sector. Traditionally we haven’t focused on this vertical. Its share in our overall revenue is just 10 percent. However, things are changing now and it’s getting easier and transparent to do business with the government. So, this year, for the first time, we will have a sales team for the government.
As cloud makes further inroads, more than 80 percent of the corporate data centres will get shut down by 2025. Against this backdrop, what’s the best way for CIOs to deliver value to business?

Apart from some large enterprises retaining their data centres, there won’t be any fresh investments going in to setting up new ones. For CIOs, it’s a transformation they will have to quickly understand. They have the expertise of IT and all they need to do is to develop a thorough understanding of the cloud ecosystem and the interesting services that have come up because of SaaS.

There are hundreds of SaaS applications in the market that can add unique value to their businesses. These are lowest-cost apps and mostly one has to pay based on results. Now that a CIO has plenty of time, he should understand all such SaaS apps. This could help him in launching new products, enhancing productivity, cutting cost, reducing inventory timelines from 60 to 20 days etc. Imagine the value a CIO can add to his enterprise’s balance sheets by following this strategy.
What should the government do to boost the data centre market in India?

With its government’s support, Singapore has become the data centre capital of entire Asia Pacific. Although it is smaller than Hyderabad, the data centres there are 10 times bigger than all of India’s data centres combined. The Indian government needs to follow suit. We need more landing station and it would be good if the government supports players in this space in some way. Then there are issues around land, building, and construction that need to be eased. We should not have import duties on servers. In today’s scenario, servers have become essential commodities.

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