Technology today is considered as much a productive resource in an emerging economy like India, as land, labour and capital. According to Oracle India MD Shailender Kumar, in a lot of government projects cloud can help remove barriers to costly technology, opening opportunities for new services and products. “I would like to say that, as a nation, the cloud is the force-multiplier that India must embrace with purpose and clarity,” he told Sudhir Chowdhary at Oracle CloudWorld in Mumbai last week. Excerpts:
What kind of role do you see
Oracle playing in the Digital India initiative?
We are quite excited about the government initiatives. Digital India, Make in India, Startup India, Skill India or others have generated a lot of positivity and awareness. We are investing to support this programme. We announced our new campus in Bangalore with $400 million investment. It will accommodate 10,000 employees including developers and this supports the ‘Make in India’ initiative since our developers will be creating Oracle software in India for the world. Then we will be setting up incubation centres across our nine offices which will house substantial software and technology capabilities, tools, and training to help launch new technology startups and make them successful. The third is on Skills India and we announced that we will train more than 500,000 students each year through Oracle Academy.
Additionally, we are talking to about 9 or 10 cities for smart city implementations. These are in varied areas like health management, traffic management, travel management and more. We have also developed prototypes with some of our public sector partners.
We also announced the Oracle Cloud at Customer solution—a set of breakthrough services that gives regulated industries full control over their data and allows them to meet all data sovereignty and data residency requirements; enables workload portability between on-premises and cloud; provides a path to easily move Oracle and non-Oracle workloads between on-premises and the cloud and mitigates risk while still providing access to the latest cloud innovations.
What kind of challenges/roadblocks do you think India will face in the process of digitisation?
The first one will be skills. There is a big skills gap. According to industry data, only 6% of the population understands IT or digital. And if we want to have a digital India, we need to ensure people have the skill set to utilise and leverage it. And that’s the reason we started focusing very, very heavily on skills development. The second
challenge could be time for executing these plans.
What is Oracle’s perspective on the technology uptake of governments?
Very high. Cloud computing services in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 22% during 2015-2020. Increased government spending on National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) and various e-governance portals, growing acceptance of cloud services among private enterprises including SMEs is expected to drive market growth. Department of electronics and IT in India launched Meghraj, a national cloud initiative to help the government leverage cloud computing for effective delivery of e-services. The government’s AppStore will host both cloud and non-cloud enabled applications that can easily be customised to meet the needs of different organisations. Also, the government has set up CloudVault—storage as a service. So, clearly there is a big opportunity for the government to
modernise their IT to serve citizens, businesses and their own employees better. We are really excited with this opportunity.
What do you think is the role of cloud in governance?
Technology today is considered as much a productive resource in an emerging economy like India, as land, labour and capital. To support inclusive growth and grow the GDP, technology can play a role. Cloud computing gives governments an opportunity to re-imagine technology as an affordable, operational expense. The easy and pervasive availability of enterprise technology delivered via cloud can fuel improved G2C or G2B interactions, business growth in large and small organisations and enable small businesses to compete with large enterprises.
Major government IT organisations of developed nations (US, Canada, UK, Japan, Australia, South Korea) have defined their cloud strategy and are determined to run centralised government clouds.