Microsoft COO Meetul Patel: We are creating digital services and empowering citizens by making them digitally literate

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Published: January 15, 2018 5:24:57 AM

The management of that application and its optimisation, even the development of new applications can be done on cloud. And the final layer is software-as-a-service, and that’s Office 365 and everything with collaboration.

Meetul Patel, chief operating officer, Microsoft India.

Microsoft is aligned to the vision of Digital India and sees cloud technology playing a key role in India’s accelerated growth. “We have platforms, technologies and solutions that support all three pillars of Digital India—building better digital infrastructure, creating digital citizen services and empowering citizens by making them digital literate,” Meetul Patel, chief operating officer, Microsoft India, tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

How far has the industry progressed in removing the barriers to cloud adoption?

What was first and foremost important was having the local data centres. Any situation where latency and speed was very important or where data sovereignty requirements existed—that was one big barrier. Second, it is important to have applications that leverage the power of the cloud. I think the partner ecosystem that we have been working with to build and take to market those solutions is something that has helped increase its adoption. Third, educating and supporting people’s understanding of what cloud can do and what it can’t do has been something we have been investing in. I think those three things in the last two years have actually helped cloud adoption.

Is the government using cloud in a big way?

I think it is beginning to. We see more cases where there is a discussion on cloud. In education sector, it is beginning to adopt it as well as in other areas in the government domain. Technologies we are going to launch here as well as those we already have will help meet the government’s very specific needs.

What strategies can businesses use to integrate cloud with their existing processes?

The cloud can be looked at in three different ways. First, it’s just basic infrastructure. So if an existing process is being supported by an application, even SAP for that matter, you can put SAP on the cloud, you can put Adobe on Azure, or your own systems on Azure and that’s the infrastructure. The next thing is platform-as-a-service. The management of that application and its optimisation, even the development of new applications can be done on cloud. And the final layer is software-as-a-service, and that’s Office 365 and everything with collaboration. Take, for example, a group working across cities. With Office 365, they can just press a button and go onto Skype. Press another button and they can get into teams. Press another one, get into OneNote, and start working together on a single document or a contract, you know, click over to Kaizala. That can all start happening seamlessly because of the cloud.

What is the Microsoft strategy and innovation around cloud computing?

First, you need an intelligent cloud in the context of that intelligent engine. That cloud has a hyper scale so that it provides the ability to manage costs down for end customers and users. It provides you with the ability to get capacity as needed, wherever you need it so that you can scale up and down your business. So the idea of hyper scale is important. The other thing is that you must have a hybrid option, so that someone can be purely on the public cloud, on premise, in between, and move seamlessly between. To have a full and complete cloud that really gives all the power of the technology, you should have all three. You should have the platform services that give you the basic infrastructure and storage. You should have a platform that is strong that allows you to develop applications, manage applications very efficiently and you need to have very good applications that sit on the cloud and use the power of the cloud, in our case like Office 365, but also our partner ecosystem.

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