For 32-year-old Indian resident Yogesh Shah, Founder & Director of iResearch Services, migrating to cloud computing was the best business decision he's made since starting his $2 million Pune-based research company six years ago.
His firm, which gathers business intelligence on industries for global clients like Forrester and IDC, initially struggled with crashed servers, missing emails and corrupted files – a nightmare for its 150-workforce dealing with data spanning 100 countries and in more than 30 languages.
"Email connectivity, VoIP, file sharing, web meetings and a robust IT infrastructure is the lifeblood of our business," said Shah.
Since the move into cloud, he has never looked back. "It has transformed my business and my work life. Productivity is up, costs down and iResearch Services is cruising," he said, noting that in-house fire-fighting time is down 20 percent and email storage and backup cost down 15 percent with cloud computing.
For the 50 million or so startups and small businesses in India, much like Shah's, cloud computing is set to be a game changer.
The cloud – which essentially is a network of remote servers – enables companies to store, manage and process data and use programs through a web-based interface. Data and programs stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere through various devices with web connectivity, which is an advantage for small companies who don't have a huge IT budget.
"If I had to buy some of the cloud solutions like intranet, helpdesk, file sharing etc… from different vendors, I would have to shell out an extra $20,000 at least. Not to mention the headache of third-party support and time costs," Shah said.
According to IDC, the cloud market in India stood at $688 million in 2012, a figure that's expected to rise to $3.5 billion by 2016. An IDC survey of 473 respondents, 200 of which were small organizations, showed a huge willingness to adopt the cloud technology.
"The eco-system is ready in terms of consumer awareness and the growth of digital mobility with smart phones, tablets and internet access. Going forward we see cloud computing growing rapidly "said Jaideep Mehta, country general manager of IDC India.
Already, the number of small businesses in India using Google Apps, a cloud hosting service, has grown 70 percent in the past year.
"Historically, small companies had poor tech choices – they could either use expensive software designed for large companies or inexpensive software lacking functionality. Today, cloud is leveling the playing field," said Ricky Kapur, managing director of Google Enterprise Asia.