RPA implementation

Five key steps to a successful RPA implementation

by | Feb 18, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, Innovation, Technology

Here are some of the essential steps enterprises should keep in mind to ensure a successful RPA implementation.
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The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) adoption in India has picked up pace as enterprises focus on developing automated intelligent process automation bots to support their users and employees round the clock. (See: RPA-led tools helping enterprises sail safely through a storm). Despite the benefits RPA offers, many companies struggle to maximize the value of their RPA implementations. Let’s delve deeper into some of the critical steps to a successful RPA implementation for enterprises.

These steps can also ensure there is no gap between reality and expectations from an RPA initiative.

#1. Define your objectives 

RPA is a game-changing digital transformation initiative, automating several traditional mainframe applications by leveraging AI/ML-based software robots. At the backdrop of the pandemic triggered economic slowdown, businesses are increasingly exploring intelligent automation and RPA for refining quality while controlling costs.

According to McKinsey, RPA can deliver up to 200% ROI in the first year of deployment and 20-25% cost savings. Additionally, it also enables organizations to enhance compliance, become risk-averse and strengthen the customer experience. The mundane and time taking processes turn fast, and users get an opportunity to switch to higher-value work.

However, like every strategic technology investment, RPA investments need to be evaluated based on their potential utility to a particular enterprise or a process.

There is no one size fit all solution! As a first RPA implementation step, the process you select for RPA should be carefully mapped against your end-goals. Before you assign the process execution from your employees to bots, you need to set clear goals around what you want to accomplish from a specific RPA implementation and the financial aspects of the deployment.

#2. Select your processes intelligently

An overarching strategy for process selection and implementation should be in place before you move to RPA. The most critical goal that drives RPA adoption is achieving enterprise efficiency for highly repetitive tasks. RPA tools imitate a human being’s actions by following a rule-based structured approach to accomplishing specific routine tasks, helping employees retrieve a significant proportion of their time.

Hence, as a key step for a successful RPA implementation, the process you select for RPA should be mature, predictable, and stable, high-volume, involve a considerable amount of repetitive human efforts, based on pre-defined data patterns, and evaluated on measurable savings. For instance, data validation, extracting data from PDFs, and employment history verification.

#3. Build an execution team

It is paramount for any automated process that a group of team members is assigned to keep a closer look at all the change-related developments and flag any inconsistencies. This team is often called as Center of Excellence (CoE) team for RPA projects.

Enterprises that do not have the right capabilities and resources or deploy the RPA model for the first time can also support specialized external consultants to facilitate RPA implementations effectively.

#4. Develop a robust change management plan

The success of any RPA initiative is dependent mainly upon how internal employees perceive the change.  Similar to any other digital transformation initiative, RPA is also bound to cause apprehension among impacted employees.

While some team members may follow a cautious approach for any recent change, others may like to debate the relevance of change. Moreover, there could be a fear of job losses, change of roles, the transition to a new team, anxiety around lack of training to supervise any new tool, and more.

A robust change management plan includes addressing these fears and anxieties, upskilling and reskilling impacted teams, setting up a robust governance framework, providing the necessary knowledge to groups about the positive impact that RPA will bring for the business. The technology heads and project leads should encourage people to ask relevant questions and engage them through focus group discussions or one-on-one interactions to understand the objectives behind the RPA implementations.

#5. Make sure to conduct the pilots

Any automation process is a long-term journey and needs sustained efforts for success. Do not expect to gain immediate benefits by deploying software robots. It’s a continuous process and needs several pilots before you ultimately obliterate any process-related obstacles or iron out flaws for a smooth run. It is advisable to have a multiple-phase rollout if the process spans several business operations geographies and impacts people from across teams.

Planning for pilots is one of the essential steps to any successful RPA implementation. Pilot implementations of RPA provide an excellent operating overview of the control frameworks, governance structure, and training to ensure that objectives align with expectations; remove reserves, if any;  and get buy-in from key stakeholders.

MORE FROM BETTER WORLD

India gears up for AI leap in post-Covid-19 era

India gears up for AI leap in post-Covid-19 era

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) are swiftly disrupting almost every aspect of our lives. It is about time that India gears up for AI leap too.

The capabilities of AI, in particular, are being widely tested by global organizations for automating tedious tasks, improving decision-making skills, and providing exceptional experience to their users. AI enables processing of data to provide intelligent insights and identify various prediction models. (See Accenture fortifies AI know-how with Byte Prophecy buy)

With the technology expected to transform several mundane jobs in future, the Indian government too seems to have woken up to the benefits of AI. It is making strong efforts to develop a robust ecosystem around AI, which is also touted to be a technology to watch for in the post-Covid-19 world. The technology has already been leveraged by many countries, including India, to fight the Covid-19 crisis and expediting the search for its treatment or prevention.

A new AI portal is born

Taking a cue from the global governing bodies, India has recently launched a National Artificial Intelligence Portal (http://www.ai.gov.in.) to promote and showcase the local AI-related advancements. The website has been developed by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) in consultation with the National e-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Communications Technology (MeitY).

This digital platform is part of the Indian government’s extensive focus on AI. It is expected to bring all the stakeholders—MeitY, NITI Aayog, Nasscom, and Department of Telecom (DoT), among others, on a single platform. It’s a much-needed initiative that could enable a regular dialogue with businesses and state departments around AI’s potential. This would also encourage private firms to develop innovative applications and new modules.

“India must be a leading country in the development of Artificial Intelligence in the world, leveraging upon its vast Internet-savvy population and data it is creating. India’s AI approach should be of inclusion and empowerment of human beings by supplementing growth and development rather than making human beings less relevant,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & IT, Law & Justice, said, while addressing the delegates at the launch event of website.

India had earlier announced to launch the AI task force to develop strategies around AI. The government had also committed a significant proportion of Rs 3,063 crore Digital India budget toward AI advancement in the country.

Notably, India is not the first country to have launched a state-sponsored AI platform. In 2019, the USA had launched its ai.gov website to highlight AI initiatives taken by the Donald Trump government and federal US agencies. Similarly, countries like Singapore and Australia have already established nationwide programs in their respective countries to harness the potential of AI.

Embracing the new world

In the post-Covid-19 world, the adoption of AI-based solutions is expected to be pervasive. Not only could AI help meet new services demand, but also enable enterprises and governments to be ready for any such future crisis and ensure employee safety.

For instance, AI technology can apprise farmers and respective authorities in advance about crop anomalies by interpreting various algorithms through satellite images or sensors in advance. This can help streamline supply chains and enable farmers to take timely actions to protect their yields, especially during unprecedented times like today. Similarly, by using AI-driven predictive models, the government can also gauge the number of hospital beds required in case of the second or third wave of pandemic outbreaks in the future.

There are many enterprises that are ahead of the curve and scaling-up their conversational chat-bot capabilities to address customer queries efficiently and provide a customized experience. An example is Grofers, a leading e-commerce company in India, which has been able to deliver essential goods to its customers and record their complaints efficiently, even during the lockdown period, by investing heavily in machine learning.

Similarly, Apollo, one of the largest healthcare group in India, took some revolutionary AI measures last year that is helping them address diagnosing Covid-19 patients. It has collaborated with Israel-based company Zebra Medical Vision to integrate a machine-learning solution that evaluates computed tomography (CT) of suspected Covid-19 patients and recommends a necessary course of medical care.

In an interesting development, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) recently unveiled the country’s first AI-enabled chatbot on WhatsApp. The chatbot address queries of stakeholders regarding RIL’s Rs 53,125-crore rights issue, through which the company plans to make its balance sheet debt-free by March 2021.

As social distancing measures and remote working are likely to remain in practice for a long enough time, technology leaders would be keenly looking at AI-based innovations to monitor the health of their employees and adapt their HR strategies in case there are increased risk to lives.

Looks like the AI technology is on an accelerated path to becoming mainstream in India. Let’s hope it helps transform our world into a safer and more prolific.

Aarogya Setu needs to overcome more privacy issues

Aarogya Setu needs to overcome more privacy issues

Aarogya Setu

Dr. Pavan Duggal

Many governments across the globe have launched contact-tracing apps as part of their several measures to contain the Covid-19 spread. These apps use Bluetooth and location-based technologies to identify people who may have been exposed to the pandemic and raises awareness among others. On 2 April 2020, India too launched a homegrown contact tracing app, Aarogya Setu, to fight the Covid-19 spread. While experts agree that the intention behind Covid-19 is good, there has also been criticism around issues related to privacy. Some have even termed the healthcare app as a sophisticated surveillance system.

In an exclusive interaction with Better World’s Jatinder Singh, Dr. Pavan Duggal, one of the top cyber law experts in the country, throws light on the overall issue and explains how the new guidelines around Aarogya Setu are a start in the right direction.

Excerpts from the interview:

Better World: The Government of India has recently made Aarogya Setu app for Android open source. Does this make Aarogya Setu less intrusive and quell the concerns being raised over privacy?

Dr. Duggal: I think making this app open source is a first step towards transparency. However, that alone doesn’t mean that it is now completely secure and transparent. I’ve yet not seen any privacy terms in the privacy module of the app describing how it (Aarogya Setu app) complies with the requirements on cyber security under the Indian IT law. Users are still not sure whether the government is putting the reasonable security practices and procedures in place with respect to their data.

It is also not clear how the app complies with ISO 27001, an information security standard that systematically examines an organization’s information security risks, threat possibilities, vulnerabilities, and impacts. So, still, a lot needs to be done.

Better World: So, in the hindsight, is it that the app was launched hurriedly and the government is now trying to play catch-up?

Dr. Duggal: I think it’s [Aarogya Setu app] a work in progress. The intention of the government is noble. In fact, everyone’s intention is wise and revolves around defeating Corona. However, the earlier approach adopted by the government was neither prudent nor feasible. It was trying to compel smartphone users to download an app, which was insecure and had little attention to privacy. Now, by taking these steps, the government has become sensitive to the criticism it has received and is constructively trying to identify ways to better the Aarogya Setu app.

Better World: The government has also announced the launch of ‘Bug Bounty’ program, which states that anyone who identifies and submits a bug or suggests improvements in the Aarogya Setu app will be rewarded. How will this make the app more secure in future?

Dr. Duggal: Well, this is an implicit diversion from the earlier stand that Aarogya Setu was completely safe and secure. Realistically, no computer system across the world is completely and comprehensively secure. The announcement of the Bug Bounty program is an attempt by the government to track and identify the loopholes in the Aarogya Setu app, which are many. Once the program provides cues to more vulnerabilities, the government will potentially work on addressing those loopholes.

It is important to note that the bug bounty program has no connection with the intrinsic architecture of the Aarogya Setu app. The program just says that here is my program and here is an open source code, please attack and let me know the vulnerabilities. It doesn’t say how I can alter my architecture.

Better World: From a cybersecurity perspective, what should be the next steps that the government should take to make Aarogya Setu truly reliable?

Dr. Duggal: Right now, the challenge is that this app is speaking less and hiding more. When you read those terms and conditions before downloading the app, you know that the app is capturing data every 15 minutes. However, it says that the data will be submitted to the server only when you will be identified as distinct Covid-19 positive. Let’s suppose, you download the app today and you become Covid-19 positive after 18 days. From today, till the next 18 days, the app is collecting data every 15 minutes. But where is the data going? Where will it be stored? Who is accessing it? Nobody has an answer to these questions.

Moreover, if you look at the Aarogya Setu app, it has no end date. That means it is going to continue for a long, long time. Also, it is logical to expect that the government will keep the app active even after winning the first phase of corona. So, I believe that the privacy related issues need to be dealt with separately and independently, specifically in connection with the architecture of the Aarogya Setu.

Huawei refreshes OceanStor Pacific mass storage

Huawei refreshes OceanStor Pacific mass storage

Shenzen, China-headquartered information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure major Huawei has announced the launch of its next-generation flash-based OceanStor Pacific mass storage series.

OceanStor Pacific mass storage

Shang Haifeng, President of Huawei Mass Storage Domain

The refreshed series delivers efficient, cost-effective, and reliable services for artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, videos, and other mass data scenarios. It claims to achieve new architectural, service, and performance boundaries, by leveraging multi-protocol interworking, next-generation elastic EC algorithm, and a series of dedicated hardware. The solution targets telecom carriers, among other industries including finance and manufacturing.

From telecom carriers’ point of view, the refresh for the OceanStor Pacific mass storage series could address their growing high-density storage needs in view of the surge in video and other data-intensive content on their networks.

OceanStor Pacific mass storage

Peter Zhou, President of Huawei Data Storage and Intelligent Vision Product Line,

The upgraded flash-based storage system has been designed in view of meeting the new-age mass data storage needs of enterprises. It enables them to collect, store, and process different types of structured as well as unstructured data. Key application examples are structured data from core services and mass unstructured data from 5G, IoT, and ultra-high density (UHD). Enterprises use AI technologies to analyze and process the massive amounts of data to convert data into knowledge and services, improving production efficiency.

Peter Zhou, President of Huawei Data Storage and Intelligent Vision Product Line, said, “Mass data will play an increasingly important role in enterprise digital transformation. Today, only 2% of global data is stored, and only 10% of the data is being mined for further value. Enterprises are facing insufficient capacity, data silos, and complex management when dealing with mass data. Our OceanStor Pacific Series is designed to answer these pain points, setting a new benchmark for efficient, economical, everlasting mass data storage, and helping us become the trusted choice for mass data.”

The Chinese technology multinational released its first generation of file storage in 2009 and has continuously invested in mass data storage ever since. Huawei says OceanStor storage has been deployed in more than 150 countries for more than 12,000 customers in a variety of sectors, including carriers, finance, government, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation.

Contact tracing apps have room to build more user trust

Contact tracing apps have room to build more user trust

Technology has been indispensable in dealing with disasters with increased efficiency, expediting relief measures, and providing humanitarian support. Now, when the world is reeling under a massive outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19 contact tracing apps have emerged as a key recourse for governments.

These Bluetooth-enabled apps and platforms have the capability of tracking even small movements of people in a bid to secure lives from this dangerously contagious respiratory disease.

India among early movers

Australia, Singapore, Ghana, Israel, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that have already launched their respective coronavirus tracing apps. Many others are working to create similar tools. Apart from individual countries, global internet giants such as Apple and Google are also marshaling their resources to build tools to locate any potential virus carriers.

India launched its coronavirus contact tracing app Aarogya Setu on 2 April 2020. Better World spoke to Dr. Pavan Duggal, one of the top cyber law experts in the country and security and cyber law consultant Anuj Agrawal in this regard. They generally agree with the view that India has made a good start and taken some key steps in the right direction (click here to read full interview of Dr. Duggal).

Dr. Pavan Duggal: Good intentions, but it’s work in progress.

Anuj Agrawal: Data is only for Covid-19 control.

Dr. Duggal is of the opinion that it is a work in progress. “The overall intention of everyone is noble. It’s about defeating coronavirus. The earlier approach adopted by the government was neither prudent nor feasible (launching an app that was insecure and had concerns about privacy). Now, by taking these steps, the government has shown that they are taking criticisms seriously and are constructively trying to identify how to make it better. Making it open source is just a first step toward transparency. By announcing the Bug Bounty program, the government is also encouraging people to come forward and share the app vulnerabilities,” he observes.

Security and cyber law consultant Anuj Agrawal also feels that the new approach is definitely in the right direction. “Initially, many people were skeptical to use this app as they feared that this might put them under the government’s surveillance radar. But the government has made it clear that their intentions are truly wise, and they are concerned about user privacy as well. One also needs to remember that users are incidentally at risk of sharing their data with almost every downloaded application, and here the government has promised that they will only use this information to combat a severe disease,” he emphasizes.

More questions than answers?

The app development efforts globally, for tracing and containing the spread of the virus, are prima facie, laudable. However, critics allege, there is more to these apps than meets the eyes. The big worries are that these apps have started gathering the humongous amount of confidential data of billions of people worldwide, keeping track of their every movement and leaving their crucial information vulnerable to misuse.

Concerns around privacy and security are raising eyebrows and many industry experts have noted that these contact-tracing applications could end up putting sensitive personal information at risk. Some key questions in this regard are: Are these apps efficient to serve the intended purpose? How will the government process user data? What will be done with the data once the pandemic is over? Is there a surety that user data cannot be hacked and used for fraud and identity theft?

Contact tracing apps

Privacy and security concerns

Amnesty International, a UK-based non-governmental human rights organization recently disclosed a critical lacuna in the configuration of Qatar’s Ehteraz contact-tracing app. It says that the bug could be exploited by cyber attackers to access highly sensitive personal information, including the names, national IDs, health status, and location data of more than a million users.

“Currently more than 45 countries have, or plan to, roll out Covid-19 contact tracing apps. Governments around the world, including Australia, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK, are rushing to embrace digital tools which undermine privacy, have not yet been proved to be effective, and could put individuals’ security at risk,” it adds.

Besides, critics say it is not proven that these apps are helping authorities to restrict the outspread of Covid-19. Since the success of such apps is highly dependent on correct responses submitted by an individual user, one cannot be fully sure whether the information shared is veracious.

Moreover, these apps are not designed to work on the basis of sample denominators and require a large population to download and use it for accomplishing effective results.

For instance, Singapore’s TraceTogether, which was initially considered one of the best contact-tracing apps in the world, failed to highlight the revival of Covid-19 cases in many localized areas because only 20% of the country’s population was using it. Most of the smartphone users in Singapore cited data privacy as a major concern which was prohibiting them to use the application.

Clearly, a significant amount of effort is required to address the challenges related to ailing security architectures of such apps to encourage people at large to use them.

India setting an example?

India launched the Aarogya Setu mobile app as part of its efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19. According to the Government of India, the app has already been downloaded by over 114 million users as on 26 May, surpassing any other contact tracing downloads in the world. India has also made the usage of this app compulsory for all its citizens while using public transport or going to offices.

The Aarogya Setu app too has invited criticism from many corners because of its mandatory information collection diktat by seeking continuous Bluetooth access and location data from users. Moreover, incomprehensible terms and conditions escalated fears that the government was trying to take advantage of the Covid-19 situation and use data for other purposes, which could compromise the freedom of individuals.

The Indian government has said that all data will remain anonymous and used only for the purpose of identifying positive Covid-19 cases. However, it could not give satisfactory answers related to the possibility of data theft and proceedings of collected information in the post-pandemic situation.

Facing criticism and backlash, the authorities went back to their boardrooms to address some of the issues. Recently, they have come up with a slew of improvements. Not only has the government rolled back the mandatory directive, but it has also opened the source code of the app’s Android version, thus enabling developers to inspect the source code and suggest modifications. Countries like the UK, Australia, Singapore and Israel also have open-source apps, making them transparent and verifiable.

In a first, the Government of India has also launched a ‘Bug Bounty’ program with the aim of identifying any security loopholes that may be exploited by potential hackers. (Read: Govt opens source code for Aarogya Setu, launches rewards program)

Dr. Duggal, however, adds that in spite of these positive steps, a lot still needs to be done to make this app truly secure. “This app still hides more than it speaks and when you read the terms and conditions, it clearly states that it is capturing data every 15 minutes and only sending the data to the server if the user is found Covid-19 positive. The question is: where does the sensitive personal information go if the user isn’t established as a Covid-19 patient?”

Steps ahead

There is no doubt that digital technologies offer whopping benefits and could play a strong role in identifying and controlling Covid-19 cases. However, none of these benefits could be translated into success if people start fearing these apps and see them as the government’s way of intruding into their private lives.

Throughout the world, we’ve witnessed numerous instances of cyberattacks on government databases. For example, recently, it was widely reported that hackers leaked on the dark web sensitive details of 18 lakh Indian citizens, including Aaadhar card numbers. Well-informed citizens cannot be allured to share crucial information on the pretext of a crisis. They need a strong assurance and concrete plan with respect to the privacy of their data.

Hence, countries need to find a way out to collect data anonymously and store it in a way that it does not get leaked to hackers or marketers.

Authorities also need to update their citizens whether and how these apps are helping them flatten the Covid-19 curve. Else, they will continue to be criticized as tools that could be exploited easily by hackers. To effectively utilize the benefits of technological innovations, governments need to safeguard the privacy of their citizens.

Govt opens source code for Aarogya Setu, launches rewards program

Govt opens source code for Aarogya Setu, launches rewards program

In a press notification released by Press Information Bureau (PIB), the Government of India has made the source code open for its Covid-19 contact tracing app Aarogya Setu. The government has also launched an Aarogya Setu rewards program, called ‘Bug Bounty,’ with the aim of identifying any security loopholes that may be exploited by potential hackers.

The twin announcements could be seen as trust-building exercises to make end users more comfortable with downloading and using the app. The move also comes in the wake of a spate of criticisms of the app on issues related to privacy and security. There are an estimated 114 million users of the app.

The decision to open the app’s source codes is in line with India’s policy on open source software. The source code for the Android version of the application is available for review and collaboration at https://github.com/nic-delhi/AarogyaSetu_Android.git. The iOS version of the application will be released as open source within the next two weeks and the server code will be released subsequently, the PIB release said. Almost 98% of Aarogya Setu Users are on Android platform.

Of the more than 114 million registered users, two-thirds have taken the self-assessment test to evaluate their risk of exposure to Covid-19. The app could not just recommend an affected user to go into self-quarantine but also send alerts to the concerned health authorities in the area. This could lead to very timely and targeted responses by the healthcare officers as well as the local administration (see How smartphones could be Covid-19 testing game changers.)

The process of supporting the open source development will be managed by National Informatics Centre (NIC). All code suggestions will be processed through pull request reviews. Aarogya Setu’s source code has been licensed under Apache License.

Any reuse of the source code with changes to the code requires the developer to carry a notice of change. More details can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions document available at https://www.mygov.in/aarogya-setu-app/.

Through the Bug Bounty program, the government aims to partner with security researchers and Indian developer community to test the security effectiveness of Aarogya Setu and also to improve or enhance its security and build user’s trust. Details of the Bug Bounty Program is available on the innovate portal of MyGov at https://innovate.mygov.in/.

The Aarogya Setu app was launched on 2 April 2020, and is available in 12 languages and on Android, iOS, and KaiOS platforms. The key pillars of Aarogya Setu have been transparency, privacy, and security.

The app has helped identify about 500,000 Bluetooth contacts. So far, the platform has reached out to more than 900,000 users and helped advise them for quarantine, caution or testing. Amongst those who were recommended for testing for Covid-19, it has been found that almost 24% of them have been found Covid-19 positive.

Analytics of Bluetooth contacts and location data has also helped identify potential hotspots with higher probability of COVID cases allowing State Governments and District Administration and Health authorities to take necessary steps for containment of the pandemic, early, which is critical for controlling the spread of the pandemic.

The Aarogya Setu data, fused with historic data, has shown enormous potential in predicting emerging hotspots at sub post office level and around 1,264 emerging hotspots have been identified across India that might otherwise have been missed.

Vodafone Idea’s universal cloud earns it Red Hat award

Vodafone Idea’s universal cloud earns it Red Hat award

An old proverb is that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. In the challenging times of Covid-19, it applies well to the telecom sector at large and Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) in particular. The latest feather in VIL’s cap happens to be the ‘Innovator of the Year’ title. It’s a well-earned accolade that has its roots in Vodafone Idea’s universal cloud deployment announced on 21 October 2019 in a Red Hat release. (The actual work is understood to have started much earlier.)

Vodafone Idea Limited claimed the top honors at the Red Hat Summit 2020, for orchestrating the vision of a single, universal cloud into reality. The telco now owns the largest cloud deployment of its kind in India, linking its IT, network, and third-party applications using open source infrastructure.

The initiative

This cloud initiative, which VIL had kickstarted around 18 months ago, had started bearing fruits even before the pandemic had hit the scene. It had helped VIL transform its network infrastructure by a great measure and made it highly scalable and agile. The pandemic merely tested its limits.

When it did, VIL’s network seems to have responded quite impressively. Not only was it able to accommodate a multifold rise in traffic but also managed to handle the overnight shift in demographic patterns.

It is a known fact that after the pandemic-induced lockdowns, a majority of enterprises rushed to enable their employees to work from home. This amounted to near-zero traffic demand originating from the business clusters while a massive surge in demand happened from residential areas.

Moreover, as communication and entertainment became the lifeline for netizens during lockdowns, VIL’s network experienced a year’s worth of traffic growth within a week of lockdown. With the cloudifaction carried out over the past several months, the telco was able to scale up elegantly enough.

Not surprisingly, the company’s stock rose 86% between 1 April and 20 May, from Rs 3.04 to Rs 5.65 a share. On the day of writing this analysis, the stock traded had last traded at Rs 5.53 a share on the BSE.

The build-up

Vishant Vora

Vishant Vora: Driving cloud transformation

Vodafone Idea says it took on the challenge of transforming its network to make it future ready and building a ‘Universal Network Cloud’ that is workload agnostic from core to edge. The cloud enables Vodafone Idea to better serve its more than 300 million subscribers by simplifying and transforming its IT and telecom network operations. The new platform is deployed across many distributed Vodafone Idea cloud microsites across India, as well as its central IT operations.

Vodafone Idea’s universal cloud initiative was to rapidly transform the 100-plus data centers of the erstwhile Vodafone and Idea entities, through a shared software platform. The Red Hat OpenStack Platform was used to design efficient ‘pods,’ which could be geographically distributed and taken closer to the end- users, helping to reduce latency and enable an optimal user experience.

Better World sees these ‘pods’ as akin to microservices that leverage containerization techniques and could be orchestrated using the open-source Kubernetes container-management system.

Recognition a shot in the arm?

Vodafone Idea considers the Red Hat award to be a recognition of its early adoption of emerging technologies for enterprise and retail customers. The cloud deployment has helped the telco in reducing latency in carrying multiple workloads and optimizing costs.

VIL is now also gung-ho about its future potential, especially with regard to next-generation services like internet of things (IoT) and blockchain.

Vishant Vora, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Idea said, “A distributed universal cloud centrally orchestrated is an ambitious project for us, representing a vision for the telco future where “pods” could be geographically distributed across the country. Our vision is to build a universal cloud that will not only carry the traditional telco workloads but also carry IT and enterprise offerings for our customers. This will also position VIL very well for the nextGen services like IoT, Blockchain etc. These capabilities need to be accommodated with a versatile and scalable platform offering flexibility and control as an organization. We are extremely proud of receiving this prestigious award.”

Chris Wright, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Red Hat, noted, “We want to extend congratulations to Vodafone Idea Limited for receiving the 2020 Red Hat Innovator of the Year award. Vodafone Idea’s journey in building a Universal Cloud, hosting both Network and IT workloads, based on open standards, is truly impressive. By adopting Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Vodafone Idea Limited and its customers can more quickly adapt to changing market conditions. We are proud to be working with Vodafone Idea Limited on this shared vision and we look forward to continuing our work with them as they look to build out additional offerings on this flexible platform.”

As part of Red Hat Innovation Awards each year, a panel of industry expert judges select the top five winning projects from a pool of global nominations. These five projects are selected based on the set of criteria for outstanding and innovative usage of Red Hat solutions. From the five winners, the Red Hat Innovator of the Year is selected by the community through online voting.

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