IT department’s role will be... more about bringing together business and IT governance

The Times of India | Mar 29, 2012

Lionel Lim, President Asia Pacific, CA Technologies, believes that innovation at all levels in India will be driven by cost-effective IT infrastructure, with high emphasis on the cloud revolution. Excerpts from his interview

How do you define cost-effective IT solutions with respect to Indian companies? Cost-effective IT solutions are technologies that increase efficiency of physical and virtual environments by optimally utilising IT resources , enabling one to reduce costs. As the world becomes smarter and more interconnected, companies need agility to respond to new opportunities and market demands.

The key is the ability to realise the benefits of business service innovation through a common platform that endows IT with unprecedented speed, innovation, cost/risk efficiencies and performance . Also, by leveraging virtualisation , companies can keep up with business demands; make the information infrastructure more reliable, save energy, space and administrative time.

It is important to note that cost effective does not mean cheap, but eventually help organisations reduce cost, drive revenue and manage risk. While India is known to be a price-sensitive market, mature organisations are taking a more holistic view when selecting a technology partner rather than relying on immediate total cost of ownership (TCO).

How the current IT trends in India has changed over time with respect to users and solutions providers? Today, consumers are driving how businesses deliver services and products. The best way to stay relevant to your customers, while improving the bottom line, the top line, or both is to constantly innovate.

Businesses are moving from simply managing and maintaining IT to delivering business services and are constantly looking for a value roadmap towards business service innovation. Innovations may serve a company internally, so that its operations become more productive and/or more cost-effective , or externally, by providing innovative services that increase customer satisfaction.

The key is the ability to realise the benefits of business service innovation through a common platform that endows IT with unprecedented speed, innovation, cost/risk efficiencies and performance.

What is the market potential for cost-effective IT solutions in India? The benefits that cloud brings to enterprises are increasing its uptake in Asia Pacific. In India, the manufacturing, pharmaceutical , healthcare and education sectors are showing enormous interest in cloud technology.

According to Zinnov Management Consulting, cloud computing is expected to grow nearly ten times to $1.084 billion by 2015 from the current $110 million in India, as large enterprises like banks, manufacturing and telecom companies and SMEs look to drive IT efficiency with lower costs.

What is their significance for Indian SMEs? IT adoption by the SME sector will give them competitive edge. Business spending on IT can be quite significant at typically around 3-4 % of turnover, but they can extend to 9-10 % depending on the investment cycle. SMEs need to be more aware of new technologies and their benefits.

Many SMEs today are mature enough to understand that IT is not core to their business and they see business sense in consuming those services from a trusted service provider.

What role can the government play in uplifting the Indian IT industry?

The Government of India has a very strong focus on delivery of services via electronic means. The government launched the National eGovernance Plan in the year 2006 to provide various public services to the citizen through internet.

Such initiatives have directly benefited the IT industry by giving it the opportunity to come up with innovative solutions as well as to spread its outreach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

Today the IT Industry has come up with some really costeffective and innovative solutions such as virtualisation, cloud, security , service management and energy management.

With the government's focus on faster service delivery in the areas of healthcare, education and public distribution systems, our solutions in the areas of service management , security management, project and portfolio management will help ensure that services are delivered to citizens at the levels promised, and at the same time ensure adequate security controls.

The Government can also take certain capacity building initiatives internally so as to acquaint its functionaries with the latest technology solutions. This will help in faster adoption of these technologies and encourage the IT Industry as a whole.

In order to tap into the cost and time efficiencies and agility in providing services, our solutions in the areas of automation, virtualisation and cloud can greatly help the government to rapidly deploy services and effectively achieve desired outcomes. Kindly describe some particularly beneficial cost-effective IT solutions.

CA ARCserve D2D on Demand, which is a hybrid software-as-a-service (SaaS) data protection and disaster recovery solution is one such. It enables small businesses to fulfil the demands of backup windows and also protects the integrity and availability of critical systems, applications and information.

Unlike solutions that only offer local protection or backup directly to the cloud, CA ARCserve D2D on Demand combines the on-premise resources for fast backup and bare-metal recovery capabilities with Windows Azure cloud storage with the aim to secure offsite protection and archiving of critical files.

This hybrid approach makes sure that SMEs successfully protect their growing volume of data within the budget.

Another one is Nimsoft, which enable organisations to adopt new technologies, such as virtualisation and cloud, while minimising the risk of performance degradation. Recently HCL Technologies has integrated Nimsoft Monitor into HCL MyCloud Watch, a hybrid cloud monitoring offering that provides cost-effective , unified monitoring of client infrastructure and services.

We also provide best-in-class cloud security with Arcot's products for advanced authentication and fraud prevention, complementary to CA's Siteminder portfolio of identity and access management offerings, giving customers the option of delivering authentication via software versus hardware tokens .

We provide a wide-variety of solutions that are cost-effective , spanning industry verticals. For instance , we have helped a serviceprovider drive additional revenue by simply applying technology that assists them deliver new cloud services faster.

What is the future of cost-effective IT solutions in India? The innovation that cloud computing offers will raise IT's value proposition from being a mere enabler of an organisation's competitive strategy to becoming the source of its competitive advantage. This change will give CIOs the opportunity to play a more strategic role in execution of corporate goals.

As businesses start to tap into public clouds, IT organisations will need to shift focus from serving as an infrastructure owner and operator to that of an IT supply chain manager. This will entail managing service delivery from both internal and external sources.

Increasingly, the IT department's role will be less about hands-on technology management and more about bringing together business and IT governance. At the same time, non-technical executives and managers will become more deeply involved in technology.