“‘Driving innovation’ is our key priority with our R&D teams continuously developing new and enhanced technological solutions to help our customers smoothly embrace this change. For example, with our commitment to ingrain these emerging technologies into our solutions, we launched new solutions in our industry-leading server and storage solutions that were enabled with AI and ML. This will help our customers to turn data into intelligent insights in real-time, helping them deliver better business outcomes”, asserts Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies, India in a conversation with Poulami Chakraborty of BW SmartCities. Excerpts below
Recently Dell Technologies has opened 5 AI experience centers across APAC. Would you be able to elaborate more on how will this AI Experience Centres prove beneficial for the industry and users? What future developments are in line in this context in the times to come?
The Indian market has showcased an increased affinity towards realizing the importance of new-age technologies like AI. Interestingly, as per a research conducted by Dell technologies called Digital Transformation Index 2018, 61% of these Indian respondents shared that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be their top technology investment preference as compared to only 40% saying this globally. Hence, we can clearly see that Indian businesses are not just aware, but they are preparing themselves to be future-ready.
We at Dell Technologies also understand this and therefore, we keep upgrading and innovating our solutions/offerings based on these dynamic customer needs. To help businesses prepare for the AI future, we recently partnered with Intel to launch AI experience zones in various countries in APJ region namely India, Australia, Korea, Singapore and Japan. In India, the AI Experience Zone will be launched in Bangalore.
These zones offer visitors a space which is dedicated to knowledge sharing in the form of immersive AI experience. Aimed at providing businesses access to Dell Technologies AI expertise and technologies with emphasis on simplified AI deployment, visitors will be able to attend master class training and AI expert engagements. They will also have the collaboration opportunities which will be available onsite. This facility is for those organizations which are looking to thrive in this data-driven environment and want to kick-start their AI initiatives to deliver better business outcomes.
Having been operating in Indian market for quite some time now, how do you assess the adoption of technologies like AI, IoT, Blockchains in Indian market? What strategies are you having to accelerate the adoption of modern technologies in the Indian market?
Over the past few years, there has been no shortage of technological innovations with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing and Blockchain being at the forefront of all boardroom discussions. Globally, there has been a huge uptake of these technologies and this shift has also made it increasingly important for humans and machines to work together as a cohesive workforce. The way the industry is moving ahead, the new-age technologies like AI, Blockchain and IoT will play a critical role in deriving actionable insights from the data. From an India market perspective, there is a large opportunity which is yet to unfold in front of us. Due to the increased talks around the importance of Digitization, Indian businesses have already started thinking about their digital transformation journey. As per Digital Transformation Index 2018 by Dell Technologies, 34% of businesses now are categorized as Digital Adopters (a 5% rise on 2016). The report also highlighted that 98% of Indian businesses plan to invest in these powerful technologies within the next 1-3 years (as compared to 91% globally).
Hence, ‘Driving innovation’ is our key priority with our R&D teams continuously developing new and enhanced technological solutions to help our customers smoothly embrace this change. For example, with our commitment to ingrain these emerging technologies into our solutions, we launched new solutions in our industry-leading server and storage solutions that were enabled with AI and ML. This will help our customers to turn data into intelligent insights in real-time, helping them deliver better business outcomes.
Dell Technologies has been a leader in India’s Enterprise storage Market. Please share with us the trends of tech-adaptation among Indian enterprises? Is there a challenge you notice too?
Due to the Indian government’s digital push, there has been an increase in the data generated in the country, forcing organizations to modernize their IT infrastructure. Businesses across verticals are putting their storage capabilities to test to derive value from their data. One trend that is taking precedence is related to the adoption of a multi-cloud strategy. We believe that organizations should have a data-first mindset and realize the need to have their data in different clouds. The other trend is related to the way the emerging technologies like AI, ML and Edge computing etc. are being used to mine data and gain insights from it.
At Dell Technologies, we are carefully analyzing these trends. We have embedded a cloud- theme to all our storage solutions to fulfil data reduction and system efficiency requirements of consumers. Moreover, with our latest announcement of Dell Technologies Cloud, we aim to accelerate the multi-cloud journey of our customers.
On another note, I’m happy to share that Dell Technologies has maintained its undisputed leadership in the Indian enterprise storage systems market with 24.7% by vendor revenue according to IDC. The company has continued its leadership for the fourth consecutive quarter in CY 2018.
What is your view on the Data Protection Bill?
Data is the new oil and most of the organizations are now taking it up as their most valuable asset. According to a survey by Dell Technologies, there was 130% increase in data growth from 2016-2018 and the total amount of data being managed by Indian firms grew from 2.79 PB in 2016 to 6.43PB in 2018. This clearly shows that data is everywhere and because of the large extent exposure, at times it becomes vulnerable and needs to be protected from various kinds of threats.
With right to privacy being fundamental to all, in my opinion, the Data Protection Bill is the need of the hour and it highlights how India is taking a step towards building a better and more secure environment for its consumers. With the advent of EU’s GDPR compliance, data privacy is now better defined. Individuals should be the master of their personal data and the bill grants them certain rights, such as the right to confirmation and access, right to correction, right to data portability and the right to be forgotten, thus enhancing the requirement of the data protection bill. We recognize India’s concerns regarding privacy and security and with the explosion of data and subsequent cyber threats, the bill will surely turn out to be a game-changer.
Is India 5G ready? Your views?
The rollout of 5G services in India is estimated to have an impact of $1 trillion on the economy. For Digital India to become a reality, the country will need to take the next evolutionary leap towards 5G. However, we believe that we need to re-design and re-engineer technologies built with a cloud-native core, to drive the networks and their architecture. Without basic infrastructure foundation, such as standard servers, open application programming interfaces (APIs), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies, 5G cannot take off.
Therefore, I would say that we are 5G aware but we still have a long way ahead of us to be 5G ready. There is still a lot that needs to be achieved, right from developing a robust telecom infrastructure and backhaul spectrum to associated bandwidth and a well-defined data protection law. In my opinion, the government of India is making progressive efforts to foster a vibrant 5G ecosystem by ensuring that there will be no spectrum shortage with 5G.
Kindly share with us your vision about the Digital India Mission of Government of India. What plans of expansion and new business foray is Dell Technologies having for the coming 5 years?
We are seeing a huge potential specifically in the government and public sector on the back of investment being made in Digital India. We have been partnering with the government through our solutions and diverse product portfolio, ranging from edge to core to cloud, to foster the dream of a Digital India. For instance, the entire GST network and Central Board of Excise and Customs infrastructure is built on our stack. Moreover, Dell Technologies has also powered the entire Aadhaar system, which is a unique identity provided to each citizen of the country and we feel proud to touch the lives of close to 1 billion citizens of India. We have also been closely working with the leading banks in the country to aid the digitization process for them. For example, we partnered with SBI to help them consolidate 25,000 branches by their data centers.
Moreover, we have partnered with several state governments to implement smart city projects like the city-wide garbage tracking and monitoring solution in Mohali, the RFID based solid waste management in Jabalpur, the E-classroom project in Indore and the storage and compute for city-wide solutions in Ahmedabad.
Talking about our expansion plan in India, every organization in India who needs to transform itself digitally have to undergo a path that will lead through a transformation of its IT, empowerment of its workforce, and a recognition of needing to secure digital assets. So, we plan to provide more advanced and secure technology and IT solutions to our customers, be it the government bodies or other businesses and continue to be the preferred partner for digital journeys.
What are the prime challenges that Dell Technologies faces while operating in the Indian market?
With the ever-changing market dynamics, we are always pushing ourselves to address the upcoming challenges. Over a period of time, the needs of our customers have transformed drastically. The primary trend that we have witnessed is that customers are now looking at fewer number of suppliers rather than depending on a host of suppliers to solve their problems.
Therefore, at Dell Technologies, with our strategically aligned businesses under one umbrella, we are able to convert these hurdles into opportunities and provide them with the unique combination of capabilities and solutions that help them unleash the true potential of their data capital, thereby growing their business. With the power of 7 strategically aligned businesses, under one umbrella, we have end-to-end solutions, from edge to core to cloud, customized to address these evolving needs of our customers.