ESDS Software to set up new data centers in 5 cities:

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With demand from government and banking customers going up for cloud technology-based solutions, homegrown cloud service provider ESDS Software Solution said it is in the process of massively ramping up its data centers capacity.

According to a senior executive, the Nashik-based firm will be setting up new data centers in five cities and existing three DC locations will see Phase-2 of expansion. 

“We will have operational data centers in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Nashik, and Indore by end of FY21 and then three more DCs will be added at three other cities – Hyderabad, Kolkata and New Delhi,” said CEO and founder Piyush Somani in an interview with TechObserver.in Ankush Kumar. 

Edited Excerpts:

ESDS works with various government organisations, PSUs and enterprises in India. How ready are these organisations for Digital Transformation?

What we have observed in the case of a lot of our customers is going to change the perception of people about government organisations. Many state governments, central government entities and PSU’s have adopted ‘cloud-first’ strategy and many of them are now using SaaS offerings from cloud service providers. We have hundreds of enterprises and banks that have not considered cloud as an option yet and keep on asking the same 10-year-old question about security, but there are these PSU’s or state governments that were spending large amounts on buying hardware and building data centres, but now they are consuming everything on a pay-per-use or pay-per-consume model. 

The world’s second-largest IoT project is happening in India and it is being implemented by a government organisation named EESL, this is to replace 250 million traditional utility meters with smart meters. Government lotteries are now running on the cloud without any interruption and they are fully utilising the scalability of the cloud technology. Close to 30% seaports of India are now running on the cloud and within the next 2 years, we will see complete automation of all ports. 

Chief Ministers of many states are monitoring the key metrics of their state using a dashboard and these dashboards are running on cloud. In the state of Maharashtra, all collector offices have become paperless and the software they are using is on a SaaS model. Maharashtra is the first state in India to come up with a SaaS policy for government departments and PSUs to consume cloud services.

Over the last few years, ESDS strategy has evolved, what are your key focus areas currently?

We started our cloud journey 10 years ago when the cloud was an alien concept. It took us 5 years to repetitively give the same answers to the same question about cloud security. The opinion has gradually shifted towards the cloud. The only other option to keep data safe without the cloud is to keep it offline. Now that cloud is being accepted by most of the business verticals, we have come up with several initiatives to transform our country. 

From the year 2012 onwards, we started putting a lot of focus on banking and government customers. We were very clear in our minds that if a major transformation in India has to be brought, then it can only be through the government and banking sector. We envisioned a mission for our organisation to positively transform the lives of one billion people in India using our cloud-enabled digital technologies. Planting 1 billion trees and connecting 1 billion smart devices with us became the other two missions for us. Today we are extremely proud to say that ESDS has managed to touch lives of 500 million Indians through more than 135 government organisations hosting their data on our cloud and more than 325 banks hosting their CBS solution as well as the channels with us. 

We are continuously coming up with a lot of SaaS and PaaS offerings for government and banking customers. In parallel, we have now come up with IoT, Blockchain, AI and ML solutions for enterprises to improve the efficiency of manufacturing industries. Our focus will continue to be on all the business verticals where we can add value through our existing solutions or where we can innovate and implement solutions for a brighter tomorrow.

There seems to be some kind of uncertainty in the global economy. Do you see any change in the demand?

There is a lack of positive sentiment right now in the market, people are worried about their health and their future. Currently, the only ones experiencing high demand would be online games, videos, and the lottery. We are hoping to see the change in sentiment happening around mid of April. Recovery of Indian companies would start happening from the end of April onwards and by Diwali, we hope to see everything back to normal and then India would be again looking to achieve 7-8% growth. 

When the sentiment of the market is negative, then any small incidence or health scare can ruin the entire market. Coronavirus has killed many businesses that will find it difficult to return to operations once the scare goes away. We, humans, need to look back and analyse if the response given to this virus was the only way to handle it or could we have done some better preparation earlier, knowing that such kind of biological infections have been coming a lot in the last couple of years and they will increase further in years to come. Our wants for luxury and comfort are causing a severe decline in our immunity development against viruses. 

How do you look at India’s data protection bill? Is your organisation ready to meet the compliance?

While the entire world is in the process of implementing some or the other kind of policy, we in India are taking a long time to come up with our policy. Our biggest worry right now is that how the western world will react to our policy, considering that millions of Indians are employed by our tech giants having a major play in the western countries. 

Entire European union and most of the Middle East countries have already implemented their data localization policy. We are also working in multiple African countries where data centers are being built to bring their data back in their country. Though India has always been a soft country with an online positive approach and full of gratitude and empathy for the entire world, there will be some neighbours and some of their supporting countries who want to keep control of our data. The choice is between the long term or a short term benefit of our 1.35 billion citizens. 

What are ESDS plans for FY21?

ESDS has mapped out its future for FY21. We are in the process of setting up data centers in five new cities and our existing three DC locations will see Phase-2 of expansion. We will have operational data centers in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Nashik, and Indore by end of FY21 and then three more DCs will be added at three other cities – Hyderabad, Kolkata, and New Delhi. 

Besides the facilities, we are also anticipating huge growth from IoT solutions that we are implementing for dozens of manufacturing companies. ESDS now has India’s biggest SAP HANA community cloud with more than 160 customers on the SAP HANA Community Cloud and moving forward we are expecting this to cross 500 customers in the next 2 years. 

We are already No.1 in India for Government Community Cloud and the Banking Community Cloud as we have 135 large government customers and 350 banking customers hosted on these community clouds. Digital Transformation of the entire nation is our mission in the coming five years. We hope to leave a strong and very positive impact on the entire country in this decade.

How government business is doing for ESDS?

We’ve positioned ourselves as No.1 in India due to our unique patented cloud technology, which has been accepted by 135 government organizations in India. The central government had started a process to empanel cloud service providers in the year 2014 and ESDS was amongst the first few organizations to get empanelled. We supported this move from the government and it helped us to win business from central government and dozens of states that started giving business to CSP’s empanelled with MietY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology). 

SDS alone has helped 135 government organisations to save large investments on hardware that would have become obsolete in the coming years. Cloud has helped various government organisations in India to quickly roll-out their digital plans and make a positive impact on the lives of Indian people. We at ESDS feel extremely proud to be a part of this digital transformation of the world’s largest democracy. We are anticipating to take the tally from half a billion people to 1 billion people in India in the next five years, that will connect to our cloud-enabled services and get benefitted.

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