Data protection modernization

Fueling DX through data protection modernization

by | Mar 20, 2021 | IT Security

The traditional workplace models have been thrown out of the gear and made it imperative for businesses to modernize their data protection strategies and move their workloads from data centers to the cloud.
Share to lead the transformation

In the age of hyper-competition and elevated uncertainty, digital transformation (DX) has become a top boardroom agenda for organizations. However, amidst this rush of transformation and adaptation, a wide array of challenges have also sprung up. One of the significant constraints impacting the digital transformation initiatives is growing data loss incidents witnessed by organizations. This calls for immediate measures around data protection modernization.

According to a recent Data Protection Report 2021 by backup and disaster recovery firm Veeam, most data backups are susceptible to failure. This puts many businesses at severe risk of data loss and cyber attacks as they plan their digital transformation journey.

The dispersed workforce environment has shifted everything on the cloud. The traditional workplace models have thrown out of the gear and pushed businesses to modernize their data protection strategies and move their workloads from data centers to the cloud. The failure to revive their data backup efforts can jeopardize their growth prospects and significantly affect their goodwill.

The Veeam report asserts that more than half (58%) of backup recoveries fail, and about 14% of the data are not even backed up in organizational ecosystems. Based on the inputs gathered from 3000 IT decision-makers in global enterprises, the report says that IT leaders are examining ways to immediately solve their critical data protection needs. (See: Technology trends for businesses in 2020)

Exposed digital deficiencies of unprepared organizations

The DX strategy aims to enhance the organizational ecosystem where data play a crucial role in delivering an exceptional user experience and outsmart the competition. And if the information itself is susceptible to attacks or lacks good recovery tools, enterprise DX initiatives are doomed for failure.

Due to the abrupt external pressure and sudden changes required to maintain business continuity, many CIOs and enterprises didn’t get enough opportunities to plan their digital transformations seamlessly. According to the Veeam report, 91 percent of the survey respondents mentioned an unprecedented increase in cloud services used during the pandemic.

The inadequate data protection modernization efforts posed significant pressure on IT systems, and IT heads that are already laden with a rapidly evolving IT landscape comprising a mix of traditional on-premise infrastructure.

“In response to the COVID-19, we have seen organizations accelerating DX initiatives by years and months to remain in business. However, the way data is managed and protected continues to undermine them. Businesses are being held back by legacy IT and outdated data protection capabilities, as well as the time and money invested in responding to the most urgent challenges posed by COVID-19. Until these inadequacies are addressed, the genuine transformation will continue to evade organizations,” says Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam.

Best way forward

In their bid to data protection modernization, many organizations are increasingly looking at integrating data protection as a service (DPaaS) to minimize their dependency on in-house infrastructure and resources. The backup solutions are moving from on-premise to the cloud.

As part of modernizing data backup strategy, it is a good practice for enterprises with distributed workforce across locations to move their data backups to cloud ecosystems.

Solutions such as Backup-as-a-service are also becoming an appealing alternative since they allow organizations to invest only as per their need, ensure data availability for different time spans as per their need, and remove the dependency on the on-premise resources.

MORE FROM BETTER WORLD

Why it’s time to regulate social media platforms now?

Why it’s time to regulate social media platforms now?

In the last two decades, social media platforms have gotten too big  and powerful but have mostly shrugged responsibility. Moreover, the big ones are literally without competition in their respective markets. There is no close direct competitor to a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, et al.

In this sense, social media platforms have become analogous to governments that are either free of any opposition or have a very weak opposition to contend with. Isn’t that what we call nonconductive to democracy?

Indeed. Be it Facebook, WhatsApp, or Google, they keep changing privacy policies. Sometimes these changes are to meet the regulatory requirements of the markets they operate in but often these changes are also at their wills (I chose not to use whims here) and fancies. Mostly, these changes are to suit their commercial interests, period.

Arm-twisting users to accept new privacy rules

Take the most recent and glaring instance of WhatsApp, for example. In early 2021, the Facebook-owned social messaging behemoth decided to issue a new privacy-policy diktat to its more than 500 million users in India to take it (the new privacy policy) or leave it (use of the WhatsApp app). After the government didn’t approve of its new privacy policy, WhatsApp did a climbdown from its earlier stand. It has postponed the exit of those users who have not accepted its policy for now.

WhatsApp argues against the government’s new guidelines (see article) on the pretext of servicing the ‘privacy interest’ of its users. At the same time, it tries forcing a privacy policy on users that they don’t approve of, by making a blatant misuse of its dominant position in the social messaging market segment. (It may be noted that Telegram is a distant second to WhatsApp globally as well as in India).

See also: Ironic that WhatsApp breaches privacy but wants govt to practice it.

Sumant ParimalSumant Parimal, Chief Analyst at 5Jewels Research and a keen IT industry observer agrees, “When they (social media companies) want, they impose any kind of term and conditions on users while even compromising privacy of users, but when Indian government asks for something then they are citing privacy as reason for not complying.”

So, what recourse do users have against such misuse of power by these platforms? There is no social-media appellate who could step in to safeguard the democratic interests of netizens. They are left with no other choice but to approach real-world courts and governments, who sometimes do step in and intervene.

Has regulation become a need of the changed times?

There is a thin line between democracy and anarchy, just as there is a thin line between freedom of speech and indecency of speech.

Social media is a platform that espouses the tenets of democracy and freedom of speech but where these cherished values can easily be sucked by dungeons of anarchy and indecent speech.

Worse, social media–and more so the social messaging platforms—can be misused by criminals and terrorists for perpetuating their respective agendas. Tech media is often replete with news of various cybercrimes ranging from digital frauds and cyber stalking to ransomware attacks.

Is government-led regulation of social media platforms needed?

Let’s be fair—the average internet user faces a perennial dilemma whenever the topic crops up. Netizens tend to see government interventions as a double-edged sword, which can cut both ways. There have been numerous instances in the past when netizens have opposed steps taken by governments to regulate the internet.

There are obvious reasons for users to be distrustful of both the government and the internet companies when it comes to protecting their freedom of speech and expression, particularly on social media platforms.

While the average utopian users will quite likely be fine with an intervention that rids social media platforms of obscenity, violence, and disharmonies of all kinds, they may not like any intrusive policing and patrolling of their social walls and communities.

Alas, internet is no longer the global village it was conceived to be!

Nevertheless, with the right regulatory mechanisms in place, it can be made a lot better than what it is today.

Verified accounts are a good way to autoregulate

Anshuman TiwariAnshuman Tiwari, a well-known process transformation professional, podcaster, and YouTuber has summed it up aptly, “So there is this chaos around the banning of some social media services in India. While we can debate the interest and logic in doing this, there is a huge opportunity to sort this mess. All social media should be ‘verified.’ Verified accounts will behave better. And the trolls will be careful. Essentially, what you can’t say in real life and get away with should also be not said online.”

A lot of people will lose a lot of ‘followers’ though, he quips.

A good thing is that amidst all the recent social-media din and commotion in the wake of the Intermediary Guidelines issued earlier by Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY), there has been some positive development on the front. Most significantly, Twitter has recently said it will enable a system for users to verify their Twitter accounts. It noted on its official website, “Starting May 20, 2021, we’ll begin rolling out verification applications to everyone. If you don’t see it in your Account Settings tab right away, don’t worry! Everyone should be able to apply soon.”

It is a well-known fact that getting an account ‘verified’ on Twitter has historically been one of the most arduous and hard-to-achieve tasks for a common Twitterati.

Multi-stakeholder regulation can infuse trust

When it comes to the wider impact of social media, there are multiple stakeholders at play. These include the general users, the government, the opposition, public figures, businesses, academia, judiciary, and the social media platforms themselves, among others.

So, a panel that comprises representations from several of these stakeholder groups should ideally be allowed to monitor, judge, and moderate the social media platforms. Such a measure would help alleviate the apprehensions that the new rules and regulations may be misused by a government in power.

It would also ensure that social media has not just power, but also shoulders the responsibility that is required of an internet intermediary in today’s context. With up to half of India’s eligible population (less than 13/14 years of age) likely to be on one social media platform or the other, there indeed is a need to ensure that these platforms are not used by elements that are detrimental to the society and the nation.

Indeed, when too much power, direct or indirect, gets concentrated in any institution or platform, it is important to put the right set of checks and balances in place.

By issuing the intermediary guidelines, the government has done well to put the necessary checks in place. What it needs to do now is to balance it all by constituting a multi-stakeholder mechanism (panel) to monitor any potential breach and recommend any corrective measures or punitive actions to the concerned government authorities.

This way, the panel itself works like an intermediary between the government and the social media companies as well as between the users and the government or the social media companies.

Ironic that WhatsApp breaches privacy but wants govt to practice it!

Ironic that WhatsApp breaches privacy but wants govt to practice it!

Deepak KumarThe deadline to comply with the “Intermediary Guidelines” issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) ended on 25 May 2021 for Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and others. For most of the part, the guidelines are not hard to comply with. To its credit, the government has given the intermediaries significant amount of time to take the necessary actions.

However, none of the major social media majors at whom the guidelines were aimed at, have bothered to fully comply. It looks like they were hoping for the deadline to be extended, which didn’t happen in this particular case.

Twitter has not commented. Facebook said it “aims to comply,” and also wants to discuss some “issues which need more engagement.” Google said it has a “long history” of compliance.

WhatsApp has responded by filing a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against the guidelines using the ‘privacy’ pretext. It is ironic that the social messaging major has used the ‘privacy’ argument to oppose the guidelines, especially when it has been widely accused by users as a usurper of users’ privacy rights.

Its argument is particularly in the context of rule to “enable identification of the first originator of the information” for certain types of messages. It says that enabling this feature would break its “end-to-end encryption” and undermine people’s right to ‘privacy.’

Sometime after the beginning of this year, WhatsApp started notifying its users that it had updated its privacy policy and the users could either accept the new policy or quit using WhatsApp by 8 February 2021. Later, it extended the deadline to accept the new privacy policy by 15 May.

Better World had done a quick survey with 565 users, in which only around 18% user said the change didn’t bother them at all. Of the remaining 82%, 37% users considered the new privacy policy a serious breach of their privacy, while 45% said they it was not good, though they could live with it.

To see the survey details, read: Better World User Survey on WhatsApp Privacy Policy.

Interestingly, the survey also showed a majority of users had no qualms in leaving WhatsApp on privacy issue. Around 18% of respondents said they had already quit WhatsApp as the only app, while another 25% said they planned to do so within a week’s time and yet another 29% said they planned to quit in a month’s time.

The key alternatives to WhatsApp are Telegram and Signal, albeit they have significantly less number of users when compared with WhatsApp. For instance, Telegram is estimated to have around 500 million users as against 2 billion WhatsApp users globally. In India, WhatsApp has around 530 million users, as per industry estimates. (It goes without saying that other social messaging platforms will also need to comply with the new guidelines as much as WhatsApp.)

Rules that intermediaries are required to comply with

The rules were published on 25 February 2021 by Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY)

  • Due diligence to followed by intermediaries: the rules prescribe due diligence that must be followed by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. in case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbor provisions will not apply to them.
  • There will be two categories of social media intermediaries, namely, social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries, based on the number of users on the social media platform. The rules require the significant social media intermediaries to follow certain additional due diligence.
  • Grievance redressal mechanism: The intermediaries should establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims. intermediaries shall appoint a grievance officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance officer shall acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days from its receipt.
  • Ensuring online safety and dignity of users, especially women users: Intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes individuals in full or partial nudity or is in the nature of impersonation, etc. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.
  • Additional due diligence to be followed by significant social media intermediary:
    • Appoint a chief compliance officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India.
    • Appoint a nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
    • Appoint a resident grievance officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
    • Publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.
    • Enable identification of the first originator of the information that is required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years. Intermediary shall not be required to disclose the contents of any message or any other information to the first originator.
    • Have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app or both.
    • Provided an appropriate mechanism for users to verify their accounts and provided with demonstrable and visible mark of verification.
    • Provide users an opportunity to be heard in cases where intermediaries remove or disable user access to any information on their own accord. A prior intimation shall be communicated to the user who has shared that information with a notice explaining the grounds and reasons for such action. Users must be provided an adequate and reasonable opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary.
  • Removal of unlawful information: An intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the Appropriate Govt. or its agencies through authorized officer should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries etc.
5G is a missing cog in digital transformation wheel

5G is a missing cog in digital transformation wheel

In the last one year, the new remote-working normal has accelerated the adoption of most of the ‘digital-transformation-enabling technologies’ in a big way. There has been a lone notable exception though—5G! Like cloud, analytics, and mobility, 5G has been hailed as a foundational technology block for constructing the superstructure for enabling digital transformation. However, while investments in cloud and big data/analytics have swelled, 5G streams have dried up even before they could be formed.

For example, NASSCOM pegs the cloud computing market in India at $2.2 billion and expects it to clock a growth of 30% year-on-year. All major public-cloud service providers, including Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Amazon Web Services have established strong presence in India.

5G, on the other hand, is yet to be launched, as the commercial licenses are not yet in place. Auctions for 5G spectrum have got delayed and there are little chance that they will be held this calendar year. Early this month, on 4 May 2021, the Department of Telecom (DoT) approved of 5G trials to be conducted over a six-month period. This implies that the trials will not get completed before October–November this year, so auctions will get pushed to 2022.

(See: Tipping point for 5G networks likely in 2023, says Report)

(Also: India needs a coherent industry approach for 5G success)

5G is digital transformation’s missing pillar

Until 5G is licensed and deployed, digital transformation (DX) projects in India, whether at enterprises or in the government, will remain bereft of a key building block. A slew of next-generation digital applications, especially those involving internet of things (IoT),  can realize their true potential only with the advent of 5G.

The DoT press release had rightly noted, “The objectives of conducting 5G trials include testing 5G spectrum propagation characteristics especially in the Indian context; model tuning and evaluation of chosen equipment and vendors; testing of indigenous technology; testing of applications (such as tele-medicine, tele-education, augmented/virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring, etc.); and to test 5G phones and devices.”

“5G technology is expected to deliver improved user experience in terms of data download rates (expected to be 10 times that of 4G), up to three times greater spectrum efficiency, and ultra-low latency to enable Industry 4.0. Applications are across a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, education, health, transport, traffic management, smart cities, smart homes, and multiple applications of internet of things (IoT),” the release had added.

IoT platforms await a 5G push

In April 2021, Airtel had launched its ‘Airtel IoT’ integrated platform that enables enterprises to harness the power of IoT and be ready for the emerging era of connected things. Airtel counts some key customers that have been using Airtel’s IoT solutions. These include MG Motor, Pine Labs, Paytm, Kirloskar, BSES, Genus, and Kent, which are spread across industry sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, automobiles, BFSI, and utilities.

Close on the heels of the launch of Airtel IoT, Vodafone–Idea too launched its IoT solutions for enterprises in April itself.

While these platforms will be functional even in the absence of 5G networks, their true digital transformation (DX) potential will be unlocked only after the advent of 5G.

Shibabrata Mondal, Founder and CEO, Wizergos

Shibabrata Mondal, Founder and CEO, Wizergos

In Focus

Shibabrata  Mondal, Founder and CEO

Wizergos

Low-code, no-code is poised to be a digital transformation catalyst.

Enterprises globally and in India have to contend with pressures to deliver products and services with speed to account for rapidly evolving customer requirements and ensure business resiliency at all times. The “low-code, no-code” theme has never been more dominant especially since the onset of the current pandemic. It would not be an exaggeration to mention that a direct fallout of the pandemic has been an acceleration of digital transformation initiatives, which is where most of the action in enterprises lies currently.

Wizergos has developed its low-code platform to cater to enterprises’ rapid development needs in the wake of the ongoing rush for digital transformation.

Better World conducted an email interview with Shibabrata Mondal, Founder and CEO, Wizergos, to gauge the present and future potential of the low-code paradigm and how organizations can use it optimally.

Excerpts of the interview:

Better World: Of late, there has been a lot of buzz in the industry for low-code/no-code application development platforms. Please explain why organizations should explore these platforms for app development.

Shibabrata Mondal: To explain the evolution and value of low-code/no-code platforms, I believe it is pertinent for us to go back in time and consider the history of computer science in general and software development specifically. There has always been an effort to provide tools and systems to enable developing high quality, complex, and enterprise-grade software while considering the business requirements of agility and ease of use.

So, the progression from machine language, micro code to C/C++ to Java/Python, or the various development frameworks was necessitated with the aim to make software development easier, more accessible, more robust and error free at the same time. Similarly, the concepts of libraries/packages, or the more recently introduced microservices and APIs are also advancements in the same direction. To me, low-code/no-code is but a natural extension of this movement. These platforms allow developers with no programming experience and even business users to build and publish applications using a web-based drag and drop kind of experience.

In such projects, enterprises are building some custom applications for enhanced user experience and management or automating some business processes. These are also projects where the requirements and functionalities would be controlled by the business teams. And by nature these would need quick updates as new products or services are introduced or changes are set in motion in processes or regulatory environments. So, these solutions have to be architected such that they are not only built rapidly and go to market quickly, but also changes can be done in matter of hours and days instead of weeks and months. Speed, agility, and quicker time to market are tenets of the value proposition of low-code/ no-code platforms that the tech buyer community must actively consider.

Better World: In this low-code/no-code evolution, how is Wizergos positioned to help organizations? Please help us understand Wizergos’ origin and vision. 

Shibabrata Mondal, Founder and CEO, Wizergos

Wizergos is a low-code application platform company.
Shibabrata is an IT industry veteran with around 23 years of experience in product development, software engineering, and entrepreneurship. He started Wizergos in 2015 with the aim of democratizing product and digital innovation through low-code platforms.
Prior to starting Wizergos, he was the Global Director, Software Engineering for HGST (a Western Digital Company) where he was managing the product development (Dataplane) team and pre-sales in India. He has also worked with Cisco in the San Franciso Bay Area for over six years where he was involved in product development and in companies such as Wipro and Atlas Software Technologies.
He is an engineering graduate from the IIT, Kharagpur,a premier engineering institute in India.

Shibabrata Mondal: We started Wizergos Low-Code Platform with three key theses that we placed our bets on. First, increasingly enterprise software development activities will be carried out for digital transformation projects, with requirements driven by business teams, tighter time to market requirements, and the need for rapid changes to address evolving needs in the market and business. These need a different architectural approach and traditional software development methods and tools will not be able to serve these needs effectively. Second, going forward, enterprise software needs to be available in a multitude of channels where the customers are more likely to be present. Low-code platforms would be required to natively make multi-device, multi-touchpoint, multi-modal applications. For instance, web and mobile apps, along with capabilities embedded in wearable devices, popular chat platforms (like WhatsApp, FB messenger), voice, and email. Lastly, we observed that enterprises are experimenting with new technologies like AI/ML and AR/VR and are not successful in developing multiple enterprise-grade, production ready use cases. Here too we posited that a platform approach is needed to bring these technologies to production use cases.

With these theses as our guide, we have built the Wizergos Low-Code Platform, and continue to focus our efforts in augmenting it. Our focus is on working with clients on projects where all or some of these points are coming together to build a business case for low-code platforms.

Better World: What is the current business traction for Wizergos in India and globally? Which customer segments and use cases are you working with?

Shibabrata Mondal: Two years ago, we spent time exploring and co-creating applications for a select number of use cases to prove the value of our platform. Since then, I am pleased, we have grown with a steady business traction and projects. One of our largest and most successful projects is with ICICI Lombard where we have leveraged our low-code platform to process over one million support workflows for customers every month (in their contact center set up) and significantly increased First-Call-Resolution rates for its Customer Service teams. This has ensured our sustained engagement with them for several new use cases.  We have also empowered Fidelis Insurance (UK), and a market research firm and ITC for market research applications over WhatsApp. Additionally, we have also developed mobile applications for several product engineering companies using our Low-Code platform.

We believe that Wizergos Low-Code Platform is a horizontal solution and will find application in multiple industries. Currently, we are focusing on the BFSI sector considering the volume and quality of digital transformation projects in this sector, combined with relatively higher technology maturity of BFSI companies that enables them to explore emerging technologies such as low-code/ no-code.

Better World: Going forward, how do you see the Low-code/no-code industry as a whole evolving (w.r.t. customer adoption, challenges, and so on)?

Shibabrata Mondal: I think adoption of low-code platforms will accelerate in the near to mid-term, as more success stories are seen and IT leaders realize some distinct advantages of using these platforms, viz. low maintenance, quicker enhancements to their software capabilities leading to faster time to market, robustness of applications, and so on.

Additionally, with the realization of early successes, organizations will plan low-code expansion drives for a slew of their DX initiatives across several business functions. This view is supported by research conducted by leading firms. The worldwide Low-Code development technologies market is slated to be worth USD13.8 billion in 2021 (registering around 22.6% annual growth), as per a Gartner report. In the same vein, Gartner predicts that by 2023, over 50% of medium to large enterprises will have adopted a low-code application platform as one of their strategic application platforms.

One of the challenges I see is for enterprises to figure use cases for low-code and no-code because, although we are putting all the platforms together as a category currently, they are quite different from each other in terms of what use cases they were designed for and where each one excels. Going forward there might be sub-categories created to help the enterprises make the right decisions. Additionally, organizations also need support to evaluate the appropriate low-code/ no-code platform vendors to engage with.

Better World: Could you please highlight some key priorities for Wizergos to tap the opportunities/address customer challenges moving ahead?

Shibabrata Mondal: Having executed several deep enterprise projects with larger established enterprises has made us more confident of our theories and vision and propelled us for our next wave of growth.

Our immediate priority is a focused approach towards expanding our business in select industry verticals – we intend to leverage our expertise and initial traction to build further inroads into insurance, banking, and financial services companies. It is also our responsibility as an industry stakeholder to help spread awareness about the value of low-code platforms, as we have noticed that low-code platforms can be very confusing for IT leaders and so decision making can be slow. To support the decision-making process of the tech leaders, we are working on a compendium of use cases and success stories to help them make the right decisions. As a key pillar of our GTM strategy, partner expansion is another priority area for us going ahead in the near to mid-term.

To read more InFocus interviews, click here. 

Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer, ESDS Software

Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer, ESDS Software

In Focus

Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer

ESDS Software Solution

With cloud at the foundation, AI is the de facto emerging tech.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continue to govern the global economic situation and forcing businesses to adopt digital ways to achieve greater resilience, enterprises are swiftly moving to cloud services, resulting in a stratospheric demand for data center space.

In a recent interaction with Jatinder Singh of Better World, Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer of ESDS Software Solution, a Nashik-based managed service provider and data center company, outlines the latest data center trends, the company’s focus areas, and new opportunities presented by digital transformation acceleration.

Excerpts of the interview:

Better World: The last twelve months of enforced shutdowns and social distancing measures have silenced digital transformation critics. With a few exceptions, digital transformation is the only way for most businesses to get successful.  In this context, what are the new opportunities that you see in this digital-only environment?

Rajeev Papneja: ESDS is a cloud company, which is now evolving into a digital transformation catalyst. When we say digital transformation, what is happening is that it is no more just a cloud. Cloud is just one essential part of digital transformation. The emerging technologies at the top (such as artificial intelligence) and new business models create a new business way in these challenging times.

During the pandemic, we saw that people want to work more with Indian companies. There is a change in mindset, mainly because India could better navigate the crisis than many countries. Many Indian companies were dependent upon Europe for their data centers and China for manufacturing. As the COVID-19 situation worsened, they witnessed massive upheaval in their supply chains.  When the supply chain got troubled, they realized it is better to work with Indian companies because, from a supply chain standpoint, our country is better shaped now as the government started promoting indigenous manufacturing setups.

While COVID-19 presented numerous challenges for organizations of all scales, they also unboxed an era of new opportunities for many new-age thinking companies willing to experiment and refresh themselves to meet new-age consumer demands.

Many startups are emerging, and customers are now willing to work with them because of this mindset shift. SaaS and IaaS are picking big time, and many of the companies are moving to the cloud for the first time to support their growing digital businesses. This has created new opportunities for us.

Like many other modern companies, ESDS has transformed itself to meet the new-age demands and help its customers win in these challenging times.

Today, we have more than 35 to 40 software offerings for our customers in different sectors. They will keep on growing as we are seeing more demand for SaaS now. Of course, the Infrastructure will keep growing because people have realized that all these big companies who have their own data centers went into so much trouble during the lockdown. People are not going to the offices, data centers and need to adhere to the social distancing guidelines for an indefinite period.  This has made enterprises realize that it is better to be with commercial data centers in India.

Better World: How do you see the role of AI and machine learning evolving in smartening up data centers?

Rajeev Papneja: Artificial intelligence is becoming the de facto emerging technology while cloud computing forms the basis. If you look at machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and quantum computing, you will see that they are powered by cloud technology. So, fortunately, we were in that space, and our foundation has been solid. At present, the enterprise ecosystem is moving into a very different environment, where a standalone data center cannot provide everything. So, for example, you might want to have, let’s say, vertical auto-scaling for a specific workload and Microsoft 365 for your productivity needs. That is not something that we offer directly. So, you are directly or indirectly working with multiple technology partners for their unique offerings. Similarly, for specific workloads, we are working with Google Cloud or Amazon cloud. 

Rajeev Papneja, Chief Growth Officer, ESDS Software Solution

Rajeev brings to the table vision, purpose, relentless passion for technology, and life of spirituality. He has over 24 years of extensive technology, systems, and software experience on an international scale, including more than a decade of senior management experience in the United States.

He has worked as a senior consultant at major corporations like United Parcel Services, Ernst & Young, Dun & Bradstreet, to name a few, before becoming an entrepreneur.

His longest tenure was with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the largest drug manufacturer in the world with its current headquarters in New York, where he spent more than eight years providing enterprise class technology solutions and setting up financial processes.

Awards

  • GEM of India
  • Bharat Gaurav
  • Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Excellence Award

Education

  • Doctorate in Business Administration, Frederick Taylor International University, Arizona, USA, 2001 – 2004
  • Masters in Computer Science, KTHM College, Nashik, 1994-96

So, we have entered a different era, where you will see that it will not be about just working with one data center.

Artificial intelligence or machine learning, or all these newer technologies, have forced themselves into the system of any enterprise ecosystem that you look at today. The only way for enterprises to survive today is by transforming their business models, understanding their customers’ needs, and providing exceptional experiences. These technologies are enabling enterprises to make that change.

As we advance and AI and ML, robotics will play a crucial role because of companies’ continuous pressure to strengthen processes and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Better World: Who are your major clients in India?

Rajeev Papneja: Today, ESDS is serving more than 225 governmental PSU customers, the most significant initiatives of the prime minister, and our governments, for example, the Ministry of road transport, right. All the tools we are paying for today across the new range are different from our data center. If we talk about the world’s largest smart meter project, Energy Efficiency Services Limited is replacing 250 million smart meters, all running from our data center.

The banking sector is a big focus area for us. We are working with over 400 banks, many of which are small cooperative banks. We are constantly launching new SaaS and PaaS offerings for government and banking clients. We are integrating technologies such as AI and ML in our data center offerings. None of our customer’s security is ever compromised.

Better World: That’s an exciting statement from you that none of your customers, especially in banking, have ever witnessed a data security breach. How have you been able to secure your customer’s sensitive data consistently?

Rajeev Papneja: Most of the time, you see the security compromises happening in banks. They are on-premise databases. We need to understand security because it is challenging to attack something you don’t know. And that is what cloud technology gives you. You don’t know where your data when you don’t know where your information is; how will you attack something?

Second, the most significant vulnerability today is an insider threat. Most of the threats you would have seen, or the data leaks that have happened are their sheer size.  For us, it is only zero and one. We don’t know what is there. It doesn’t make sense to us.

All these big government customers are utilizing our security operation center (SoC) as a service (SoC), all the cooperative banks are using our SoC as a service. We also have our tools that are used by many of the nationalized banks. For example, our VTMScan tool, which is a complete web scanning tool. It scans all forms of online threats and vulnerabilities.

With ransomware attacks happening with zero-day attacks happening, we use advanced AI-ML based science to deliver actionable intelligence to ensure speedy mitigation for security incidents. Another offering is eNlight WAF, a specially engineered intelligent cloud hosted web application firewall helping businesses filter incoming and outgoing internet traffic and block threats such as injection, cross site scripting and other attacks.

We’ve also launched SPOCHUB, which is a plug-and-play platform providing industry-specific offerings On Click. It enables the ISVs to display their offerings across the Globe with an “Omni Channel Proposition.”

Overall, we’ve at least 10 to 12 integrated tools that are combined. And of course, human intelligence, as I saw, is how we run our security operations. All the services offered within SoC are a service and subscription-based model. They follow an OPEX model rather than CAPEX by cutting down unsolicited costs.

Better World: Which are some of the most significant trends that you foresee, both from a data center perspective and an overall technology perspective, in the post-Covid environment?

Rajeev Papneja: One thing is for sure that people have embraced the cloud entirely. As we progress, software as a service is going to be very, very big. Going by the various market reports, in the next four years, the market for Infrastructure as a service will be $5 billion.

The market for multi-cloud management services is $10 billion. This, this is I’m only talking about India. If you look at security services, that is also around $2 to $3 billion. The digital transformation industry itself is $700 billion. It encompasses all the different applications that will help these industries evolve their business models to make their processes better, such as collaboration tools. We are currently seeing that people immediately flocked to VDI technologies, to web VPN, to CRM applications to Enterprise Resource Planning, and collaboration tools in digital transformation. These are widely accepted. And people have started moving to the cloud. As we advance, you will see that people will start exploring how we can make our business models, something like, you know, they call it everything as a service takes a so I’ll give you a small example, that there is this company, right? It’s from it’s changing the mindset from selling a product to selling a service.

Whatever mindset or analytics on historical data you could do before COVID does not work in the post COVID era. It has an entirely different perspective. But the good news is, all businesses have the same starting point today. No matter where they were in their journey, they are forced to have an identical starting point. Now whoever takes benefit of this digital transformation they are going to be successful.

Better World: What are your outside India expansion plans for 2021 and beyond?

Rajeev Papneja: Right now, we are already present in the UK. We have two web hosting companies in the UK. We are serving more than 20,000 web hosting customers in the UK. We have a small presence in the US which we never focused on earlier. We will be focusing on the US, also started in the Middle East. We have an office in Dubai we have in Bahrain. We are working on specific opportunities in Bahrain, Dubai, Oman, Egypt, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Utopia. So, there are around 17 countries that we are focusing on. We have already built a data center for unique customer needs. So, what we are seeing is that you know, these countries are where India used to be eight years back. So, for example, if you look at Dubai, they have just started their cloud journey.

Still, companies prefer to use on-premise IT infrastructure. Now, we want to leverage our expertise, whatever we have done in the last eight years for India. We want to make sure that these upcoming countries starting with technology can feel empowered with our unique offerings and technology.

Wipro ropes in Subha Tatavarti as its new CTO

Wipro ropes in Subha Tatavarti as its new CTO

Subha Tatavarti CTO

Subha Tatavarti, CTO, Wipro

Indian IT services Major Wipro has appointed Subha Tatavarti as its chief technology officer (CTO).  Subha Tatavarti’s career spans over two decades across domains such as enterprise infrastructure, security, data science, and edge platforms. She lives in the Bay Area in San Francisco, the USA, and has earlier led technology initiatives for online payments processor firm PayPal and retail giant Walmart.

In her decade-long stint at PayPal between 2010 and 2020, Subha led product, cloud and platforms, and data and analytics divisions. At Paypal, her portfolio of products included machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data ALM. Besides, she has also worked at CliMetrics, Inc. (as cofounder and director), Abbott Laboratories, Fannie Mae, and BearingPoint.

KR Sanjiv, the former CTO of Wipro, was superannuated on 31 Dec 2020.

Part of the organization’s structural revamp

In her new role at Wipro, Subha Tatavarti will be leading service transformation, robotics, Silicon Valley Innovation Center (SVIC), Technovation Center, open innovation, and applied research.

Subha Tatavarti’s appointment at Wipro is a part of the tech major’s recent structural revamp, implemented in January this year. As part of the structural reshuffle, Thierry Delaporte, the newly appointed Wipro CEO, announced the streamline of its business units, service lines, and geographies to fast-track the company’s growth amidst tough competition with other IT services majors – TCS, Infosys, and HCL.

Wipro had also recently announced several other leadership appointments, including Pierre Bruno as the CEO of Europe, Tomoaki Takeuchi as managing director for Japan, and Stephanie Trautman as the Chief Growth Officer.

Looking for new growth areas

Even though Wipro is behind in its revenue growth as compared to its peers TCS and Infosys, the company is expected to make a strong comeback in the next two to three years due to its strategic investments to strengthen remote working capacities and IT infrastructure modernization in 2020.

With over 190000 strong employee base across six continents, Wipro acquired several firms in 2020 in customer experience solutions, IT solutions, system design, and cloud domains. (See: With Encore buy, Wipro eyes DX edge in fintech and Wipro to acquire Capco).

Wipro posted a 20.8 percent YoY rise in net profit at Rs 2,966.70 crore for the Q3 (December 2020) quarter compared with Rs 2,455.80 crore in the same quarter in 2019.

For other C-Track movements, click here.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.