The adoption of cloud technology is proceeding at different paces in different parts of the world. One of the problems with convincing businesses in developed countries like the US and the EU to outsource their business processes online is that they already have legacy systems in place that are getting the job done. Cloud companies therefore have to provide a cost benefit analysis and demonstrate in clear terms how a shift to cloud technologies will save costs and improve efficiency.
In developing countries like India however, cloud services can leapfrog legacy IT infrastructure in much the same way that mobile phones have leapfrogged copper wire services. Without any existing baggage, businesses in India can start using the cloud from scratch. This is especially important in an environment where access to capital is not as easily obtained as it is in the United States. There are many barriers to being an entrepreneur in India. The environment is not as friendly and the culture of striking out on your own is not encouraged. At the very least, the cloud can remove one additional stumbling block in the path of budding startups.
Nonetheless, the cloud faces unique challenges in developing countries – foremost of which is the problem of non-reliable infrastructure. One of the benefits of the cloud is continuous uptime. But power outages and equipment failures are routine in India and this poses a problem for any cloud company aiming to market its services. In addition, broadband penetration – while growing rapidly – is still a problem. The rural areas for example have almost none of it.
Because of this, the primary adopters of the cloud are likely to be large companies in urban areas. Current cloud providers in India are the big names we’re already familiar with. Google Apps for example is one of the most well-known SaaS providers. Other companies such as HP and IBM also offer cloud services to businesses of all sizes.
These companies have adopted unique measures to meet the distinctive Indian conditions with regards to the Internet and the cloud. IBM for example has installed solar panels on their building to compensate for the irregular power supply. Just another example of a newer technology bypassing an older one. What is indisputable though is that the potential for the growth of the cloud is enormous. It is estimated that the cloud market doubled in size between 2009 and 2011. Companies that get their foot in the door early on will most certainly be in a strong position later down the line both due to the experience as well as having a firm presence in the mind share of Indian businesses.
To start off with, the primary growth area in the cloud computing industry will be private clouds as large companies contact vendors like IBM to outsource their business processes online. The ingredients are all in place for the market to explode further – a tech savvy urban crowd, increasing broadband penetration, and robust economic growth. It may not be easy, but cloud companies looking to expand their markets will reap rich dividends if they invest resources in developing countries like India.