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ESDS looking to go beyond India in post-COVID world: Piyush Somani

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Despite pandemic creating a huge challenge for many organisations, the financial year 2020 has been a good year for ESDS and now the home-grown firm is all set to explore the massive opportunity that the cloud companies may have in the post-covid world, said a senior executive.

“The pandemic has brought huge learning and a fantastic opportunity for cloud companies in the market where the annual revenue is higher than the annual turnover,” founder Piyush Somani said, adding that his company is opened to upcoming opportunities in Indian as well as the foreign market.

“We have not restricted our business to cloud or data centers but, have evolved with cutting-edge technologies like , AI, and ML delivering advanced technology solutions to the business world. We have created a separate subsidiary SPOCHUB that offers multiple software solutions delivering 35 different SAS offerings. These offerings are either from ESDS or from our partners,” he said in an exclusive interview with Tech Observer.

Edited Excerpts:

What has been the impact of the pandemic on India's local technology players?

The concept of Atmanirbhar Bharat accelerated during the pandemic since transporting materials and medicines from foreign countries to India was a tedious task. This led to the scarcity of medicines, electronic items, and finished products. We realized if something similar happens in the future i.e. if the pandemic of the larger magnitude strikes where you are not able to connect with the rest of the world; survival without the gadgets, services, and products will be tough. So, during the pandemic people realized collaborating with Indian companies is crucial to surviving out of these tough times.

We have witnessed the semiconductor manufacturing industries not being set up in India, since its establishment cost would be around 45000 crore rupees. Besides, the Indian government or the state governments don't offer any special benefits to set up the manufacturing plant in India. We had the perception that manufacturing plants need 45000 troops but, here's a transformation where a massive amount of startups have flourished. These startups managed by IITians are coming up with small manufacturing units in India. These manufacturing plants are receiving a huge response from investors and customers. Similarly, in the cloud space entrepreneurs have established enterprises to serve Indian organizations.

The Indian government, Banking organizations are looking to collaborate with Indian companies. They say, “Since you are an Indian company, we would like to work with you. We wish to ensure that our data remains in India. We want to host our data on the Indian data centers.” Thus, the demand for “Made in India” software products is rising. Indian companies are looking to partner with the Indian software and applications developed and designed for Indian customers.

That's where the demand for CRM and ERP solutions is growing. Now, people are looking forward to IoT, AI, and ML technologies being developed in India. We believed India can never come at par with the U.S or Japan but, it looks like within the next 3 or 4 years India probably will offer cutting-edge technologies that would be even better than what foreign countries have delivered.

What role do you see technology playing for the efficient role out of covid vaccine across the country?

For the COVID vaccine roll out the speed is not enough since it's been almost 50 days now and we've just managed to reach six to seven million doses till now. The factory manufacturing the vaccine can produce vaccines compared to the role out. There is a need to enhance efficiency.

Technology can speed up the spread of the vaccine. Besides, the dashboard enables easier tracking of patients who are vaccinated or are yet to be vaccinated. Dron-based technology can be used to deliver the doses to a remote place from a centralized location. But, to implement the drone-based system approvals will be needed since the system does not get approvals from the central government.

With approvals in place for specialized drones, a faster role out of vaccine can be ensured in the remote place. Centralized dashboards will enable monitoring of people to be vaccinated in a specific location. For the massive roll-out of vaccines across the nation, the dashboard plays a crucial role in analyzing the people vaccinated, to be vaccinated, symptoms related to the vaccine, etc

For SMBs, is a cost factor, how we can make their digital journey affordable?

Cost is just a perception since the SMBs are constantly looking to control their costs i.e they are hunting for ways to save the cost they are paying. They lack the approach to implementing an autonomous or automated system enabling the SMBs to enhance the revenue. If the software solution can help SMBs improve the earnings by 20%, then investing 2% or 3% of the revenue earned would be a better choice. This is the perception transformation SMBs need to have.

We have witnessed a huge number of companies enhancing their growth graph enormously by implementing autonomous or CRM solutions. ESDS has garnered a large number of customers by integrating an autonomous solution in the system. Before implementing the autonomous solution, we were not able to determine additional services our customers were consuming. The system has helped us identify the gap areas where the customers should have been to us. The system has helped ESDS spot the inefficiencies and accordingly sent the bill to the customer with evidence.

This has helped us improve our revenue. In a factory where 200 workers are working but, there is no track of who is working and who is not; the autonomous solution can help the SMBs to get the efficiencies in place. This will enable to reduce the number of workers in a factory thus saving cost. Also, the SMBs will be able to manage a large number of tasks done by the 200 workers. Enhancing efficiency by 30% or 40% will help to improve the revenue graph. Technology adds a lot more value to the bottom line and the top line.

How do you look at Budget 2021? Is there anything that we could have done more to make India Atmanirbhar?

Budget 2020 has been a very good reforming budget. The businessmen have liked the budget but, there might be a few edits in the future. There are business verticals and organizations which need a complete digital transformation. Considering defence, 90% of the current service providers in the defence industry might be out of business in the next five years. Five years down the line, these service providers will find it difficult to get the business from the defence vertical because there would be new vendors with cutting-edge technologies in the market.

These vendors might bring digital solutions for a complete transformation of the defence organization. In the future, we will see pilots operating and monitoring the actions sitting in the office. The drones flying over the enemy territory, the edge data center controlling these drones are all digital solutions we will come across in the future. In the next budget, we expect the government to reduce the traditional way of allocating budget to the defence and design a five-year road map for digital solutions in defence. The same budget can be allocated to digital defence and traditional defence to bring digital technologies.

Recently, the government has allocated a budget for AI and ML while in the last budget, the government allocated the budget to quantum computing. The government has assigned thousands of crores to AI and ML i.e. a portion of the budget is allocated to digital transformation. Five years down the line, if our neighbouring countries have digitally transformed their defence; we cannot instruct the soldiers or the pilots with the fighter planes to fight the wars on the field. Since every nation would want to save the life of each soldier, future wars will be fought between machines. We need to prepare our defence industry, to fight with the machines of our enemies.

In the post-covid-world, what are going to be key IT factors for businesses and the ?

The most important thing post- is Digital Transformation. With this massive acceleration, the change we expected to witness in the next 20 years will probably be seen in the next 7-8 years. Before COVID-19, Digital Transformation was an alternative for the decision-makers who were cost centric. In the present scenario, the focus of the decision-makers has shifted from the cost to Digital Transformation.

Earlier the businesses transformed their companies digitally conditioned they were offered highly discounted rates post negotiation. Today, business owners have realized that Digital Transformation is the key mantra to survive in the competitive world. The public sector organizations took a long time for G2G Digital Transformation. Currently, the massive scale of Digital Transformation is accelerating the G2C level of Digital Transformation. Three years down the line, we will experience a 360° transparency in the system enhancing India's position as a non-corrupt country.

How has been the last year for ESDS and what are your plans for the next financial year?

The financial year 2020 overall has been a good year for ESDS. But, we see the post-COVID era has brought a fantastic opportunity for cloud companies in the market where the annual revenue is higher than the annual turnover. ESDS is open to upcoming opportunities in the Indian as well as the foreign market.

We have not restricted our business to cloud or data centres but, have evolved with cutting-edge technologies like IoT, AI, and ML delivering advanced technology solutions to the business world. We have created a separate subsidiary SPOCHUB that offers multiple software solutions delivering 35 different SAS offerings. These offerings are either from ESDS or from our partners.

ESDS has already played a crucial role to transform the nation digitally with 380+ banks hosted on our intelligent cloud platform, 225 government organizations, and 200+ companies listed in the BSE and NSE. Through all the customers ESDS is serving today, we have managed to connect 50% of India's population to our digital solutions on our data centers and cloud platform. Since the next 3 to 4 years will be crucial to transform the nation digitally, we firmly believe an opportunity lost will never come back, ESDS has to lead the digital transformation journey of India.

To compete with the neighbouring countries, we need to integrate technologies better than foreign countries. Since the future will be more about machines competing with machines, we need to have excel in the technological space. If we don't embrace digital technologies, we might suffer from shortcomings and will be vulnerable in the future. ESDS will play a crucial role in making India a digitally advanced country and we anticipate becoming a multibillion-dollar company in the next 5 years. We promise to leave a legacy behind for the next generation to follow.

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