My colleague Manish Bahl is wrapping up a report on midmarket IT budgets and spending trends in India for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which runs from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. I analyzed the survey data for collaboration-related trends and noticed something interesting: 68% of the Indian midmarket firms (those with 400 to 2,500 employees) surveyed have already adopted or are planning to adopt software-as-a-service (SaaS) for collaboration in the next one to two years (see Figure 1). In fact, collaboration-as-a-service (CaaS) tops all categories by a considerable margin.
This data reinforces the key findings from my recently published blog post highlighting the growing importance of cloud collaboration services in Asia Pacific. While the popularity of CaaS is growing across all industries, it’s interesting to note that traditionally cloud-wary verticals, such as financial services and insurance and the public sector (including education and healthcare), are starting to warm up to cloud-based collaboration services: 80% and 67%, respectively, of the surveyed midmarket organizations in those verticals are either already using or planning to adopt CaaS over the next one to two years.
The results also confirm that private cloud is emerging as the preferred consumption model for CaaS, as cited by 45% of the surveyed midmarket organizations. Given the perceived risks associated with public cloud-based services in areas like data/network security and confidentiality, private cloud models for CaaS make sense. The key drivers for cloud collaboration adoption by Indian midmarket organizations are:
- Connecting a growing, globally dispersed workforce. Globalization has helped organizations expand beyond national borders. But it has also given rise to a large number of geographically distributed teams that must be brought together on a reliable, integrated communications platform that is easy to use, always on, and accessible to all, even from remote locations.
- Improving cost efficiency and savings. Given the budgetary constraints of midmarket organizations in India, cost-effective cloud-based alternatives are often easier to justify than traditional on-premise solutions. The relatively low existing investments in legacy communication and collaboration infrastructure make the transition to cloud a financially viable option for Indian midmarket organizations.
- The availability of packaged cloud solutions to address midmarket requirements. Generally, thecommunication and collaboration needs of midmarket organizations are relatively less complex and do not require a high degree of customization. Hence, packaged cloud collaboration solutions available from various technology vendors and service providers that are designed to address the specific communication needs of different work profiles fit well with the requirements of this segment.
The aim of India’s National Telecom Policy 2012 is to provide affordable, reliable broadband on demand to rural and urban India by 2015. Because the majority of midmarket organizations in India are based in tier two and tier three cities, improvements to the existing broadband network will boost the adoption of cloud-based collaboration services. However, most organizations will continue to operate in a hybrid environment over at least the next three to five years as they gradually increase their reliance on cloud-based solutions. To ensure the success of your cloud collaboration project, carefully identify and evaluate the security and business risks when moving critical communications workloads, such as email and document sharing, outside your organization’s network perimeter.