Digital is today most critical: Puneet Chandok, president, commercial business, AISPL, AWS India & South Asia

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November 30, 2020 1:00 AM

“We are committed to investing in India, and putting the power of AWS Cloud directly in the hands of customers, partners, and developers,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview.

Puneet Chandok, president, Commercial Business, AISPL, AWS India & South Asia

There is a perfect storm of digitisation taking place across businesses of all sizes,” says Puneet Chandok, president, Commercial Business, AISPL, AWS India & South Asia. According to him, the speed to digitise is much faster than ever before and AWS wants to be a big part of that journey to help India move forward across segments. In early November, Amazon Web Services announced plans to launch the AWS Asia Pacific (Hyderabad) Region by mid-2022. This will be the second AWS Region in India; AWS Asia Pacific (Mumbai) region was launched in the middle of 2016. “We are committed to investing in India, and putting the power of AWS Cloud directly in the hands of customers, partners, and developers,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:

Do you think cloud technology, especially during Covid-19, can be a force for change?

Covid-19 is a massive human tragedy that has impacted communities around us. We’re doing everything to help to the best of our ability. We are at an inflection point and there is a perfect storm of digitisation taking place across businesses of all sizes. Let me break this into two parts: First, it is how businesses are responding to Covid-19 and second, it is the role of cloud and AWS and how it can be a force for change. As I speak to customers across enterprises, digital businesses, and SMBs, there’s a realisation that companies that are thinking about technology and cloud are going to come out of this much stronger. The other realisation, is that digital is no longer an optional thing to do. Today, it’s probably the most critical and in some cases, the only channel for them to reach their customers. We’ve seen digital roadmaps that were going into quarters and years now built and deployed in days and weeks.

What are some of the unique trends that you have seen with regard to cloud adoption in India?

The speed to digitise is much faster than ever before. There’s also an interesting shift in consumer behaviour towards digital channels. From households to entertainment in India, there’s a 10 to 50% uptick in digital channel adoption, which has significant implications for businesses and cloud adoption.

We’ve seen two sets of businesses, and how they’re using the cloud. The first is businesses where there is a need for massive scale and growth today, which are e-commerce, ed-tech, and health-tech. They are now adopting cloud more because they need to scale much faster than before. The second is where businesses have slowed down for obvious reasons. The cloud helped them because when businesses are slowing down, they are not spending as much on technology, as they would if their business was booming.

Where does the largest opportunity lie for cloud offerings for AWS in the new normal?

India has never been an opportunity-constrained market for technology. It’s always been a supply constrained, high quality, customer obsessed, technology-supply constrained market. In the new normal, we’re now seeing an even faster adoption of technology which creates opportunities. We work with enterprises who are migrating or have migrated mission critical workloads such as SAP. L&T Infotech, Brigade Group, Supermax—all of these companies are migrating some of their core technical complex workloads such as their ERP systems and SAP onto the cloud.

Vistara is running many of its core workloads on AWS Cloud, and is using data differently to analyse it and evaluate patterns of travel and route profitability.

Some of the largest unicorns and startups in India such as Druva, Zomato, Freshworks, Dream 11, and Swiggy are built on AWS. Amongst SMBs, Chai Point and Havmor, a 75-year-old ice cream company in India are using AWS.

There are three things that we are trying to do that are beyond business operations. One, is that we are really passionate about small and medium businesses in India. Jeff Bezos was in India earlier this year, where he announced a pledge of digitising 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India by 2025. AWS is going to play a big role in that pledge.

Second, we serve customers across enterprises, digital businesses, startups, and SMBs. We want to connect this ecosystem to bring enterprises and startups together, and get digital businesses to work with SMBs and ISVs.

Third, we continue to invest in India, across offices, building teams, infrastructure, capacity, and bringing more services to India.

How has AWS been growing its footprint in India?

We are committed to investing in India, and putting the power of AWS Cloud directly in the hands of customers, partners, and developers. The intent is to first deliver impact at scale that really moves the country, reinvent how technology gets built and delivered, and finally, reimagine how customers experience technology. We created something called an AWS Digital Suite, which are simple solutions to help SMEs on payroll and customer management, and are taking some ISV solutions to them as part of this.

This is the perfect storm of digitisation for India. AWS wants to be a big part of that journey to help India move forward across segments, and bring the best of AWS to developers, builders, and businesses in India.

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