Sramana Mitra: It’s very similar to the strategy that you’re following, but with a very different segment. You’re working in the $50 million to $500 million segment. They are working in the very small business segment. Their end customer is the 5 to 10 people company. A lot of what he is interested in doing is having these vertical value-added resellers build on top of his ERP.
You’re seeing the verticalized cloud trend everywhere. The only way to get to that is through these partner networks.
It’s very interesting to see the parallel of these two companies in very different segments off the market but with very similar thought process. Do you want to add anything else?
Himanshu Palsule: The one thing that comes to mind is that cloud is not this generic technology platform that just works. Especially when you’re a global player, scaling from Nigeria to Bangalore to Australia, the local legislation and politics and availability of cloud resources greatly impact the adoption and acceptability of the cloud. It’s up to vendors like us to not just penetrate those markets, but also to educate those markets on the value of the cloud.
I think it was six months ago when we came up with the Cloud First initiative for the Asian and Middle Eastern market. We saw over 70% increase in our total cloud users. Not only is it a business model change, I think it’s also a cultural change. If ever you’re interested in talking about the global scale of cloud, I would be more than glad to share some of the war stories that we went through. Gartner puts us in the visionary quadrant but the price of doing that is some hard knocks that you have to take as you start taking this cloud idea international.
Sramana Mitra: Tell me more about some of the highlights of where you’re going with this. What are the key issues?
Himanshu Palsule: The first issue is, obviously, awareness. Not every country is on the same level of awareness. In an RFP process, the cloud question comes up. Then when you say yes, they really like to understand what it means. As you know, there’s probably too much that has been written by too many people on the cloud that ends up confusing people.
The second is legislative needs. You cannot have a customer in Germany and host his data in the UK. Even Canada and the US have limitations on how data is secured and stored. Cloud vendors don’t have the same geographic footprint. The whole continent of South Africa has largely been ignored until recently as a massive market for cloud adoption.
The advice I would give if somebody has started a cloud company and is looking for global expansion is, pay close attention to local legislation, local politics, and local bandwidth ability before extending your services. Oftentimes, I’ve seen companies get started and then have to retrench.
Sramana Mitra: It was great talking with you. Thank you.