Cloud Adoption Has Increased Despite Challenges In India Market: ServiceNow

Edgar Dias, Managing Director at ServiceNow India, in a conversation with BW CIO, talks about the growing market of enterprise software and the role that ServiceNow plays in enabling its customers to replace unstructured work patterns with intelligent automation to drive productivity across verticals. Excerpts:

Edgar Dias, MD, ServiceNow India

BW CIO: How well developed is the Indian enterprise software market?

Edgar: Today, in India, everyone is talking about digital and embracing technologies. It is driven a lot by the disruption happening across industries such as BFSI getting disrupted with fintech and logistics industry with GST. Every industry is being disrupted in its own way through even e-commerce or some other technology. 

Traditionally, the first phase of dealing with the change was moving a lot of the applications to the cloud. Going back a year or two, there was an euphoria in India about moving to the cloud. Therefore, now enterprises have got a fair amount of infrastructure moved to the cloud. Some of the industries have not embraced that with as much maturity, not because of regulation but because of the way they interpret it. But that is only an example of one phase. Whereas, some industries have also invested in the best of switches, routers, firewalls and hardware but on the process side, we feel that the maturity level of investment has not been appropriate. People have invested in ticketing solutions but they have not been able to derive much of the meaningful outcome or value out of these investments.

BW CIO: What is the progress rate of cloud adoption in India right now?

Edgar: My view is that two years earlier, people were just talking but today we are seeing majority of customers who have embraced it in a hybrid perspective. We are seeing a lot of application setups that have already got migrated into cloud. For instance, you can look at emails, or a bunch of critical applications that we are working with operators in India which are Cloud Service Operators. We are seeing a strong adoption by customers across sectors who have embraced the cloud. Initially they did hosting but now they do applications that are on the cloud.  They do it for cloud burst and for strategic purposes. I think that adoption has definitely picked up over the last couple of recent months.

BW CIO: What are the challenges that you have seen customers face most commonly? 

Edgar: I think one of the challenges that people have in this approach is actually the entire reason why people have moved to the Cloud. It is because they are trying to get the economies of scale of the Cloud. But the challenge that people are facing today is that if you just host these applications on the Cloud, you also want to manage the lifecycle of these applications that you are hosting. It is because, for example you create an instance an Amazon, you are billed per second for the utilization of CPU, of storage, etc. Now what you want to ensure is that you are using these resources optimally and you are also able to manage the entire lifecycle, right from the time of user requests for this to the provisioning to the retirement of it because at the end of the day it is for a limited project. 

The adoption has increased. One of the challenges that people face is to drive the entire adoption, how you can track, report back and measure and allocate the consumption of Cloud resources that are today on public cloud to specific requesters and project groups. Today, we have a solution at ServiceNow which is a technology called ‘Cloud Lifecycle Management’. The fundamental challenge that it addresses is around shadow IT. We provide the entire service request mechanism through a portal, the approval process for it, as well as the configuration of an instance on a Cloud operator can all get automated. 

BW CIO: Is there a difference between how SMEs and large enterprises are dealing with the changing scenarios and challenges associated?

Edgar: The scale is definitely different in SMEs and large enterprises but the problems are the same. The SMEs today have a growing understanding that this is a necessary change cycle. But, I think the approach that they could take is working with a bunch of people who are offering services and manage security service offerings. SMEs could consume services from managed services operators who are offering this as a service without having SMEs having to invest it on premises themselves. 

BW CIO: What are the three prime focus areas of ServiceNow in India?

Edgar: The three main areas that we are focused on in India are from our technology standpoint. One is obviously the entire IT Operations space because customers are really looking at their infrastructure gets more and more digital. Second is around Customer Service Management (CRM) and I think it is universal requirement. After you buy a product the experience that you have is not as wonderful as what you would expect. The reason that this problem exists is because companies have got multiple silo system. The executives handling the calls in call centers who are technicians, for them to get a context of the problem and context of the customer and why he is calling takes time and causes a certain degree of frustration. The third is the area of security because that is a burning topic as far as India is concerned. 

BW CIO: What are ServiceNow’s enhanced customer experience solutions to combat this very commonly faced issue?

Edgar: Typically, the first thing that comes to mind after hearing customer experience is CRM. Our view is that a CRM just provides the existing information to the customer but hardly solves their problem. The issue lies in data not being restricted to one platform but a bunch of systems at the back that have got different levels of information.

For example, let’s take a case of a data center operator having a customer who is hosted in his data centers. Here you typically have to deal with information sharing across multiple systems which are disjointed and that takes time. At times, the person who takes the call is not able to explain to the customer what the rationale for the problem is and says, ‘I will come back to you’. Now we know he either sends a mail to the other team or opens a ticket on another system. So the back-end experience is so disjointed and horrendously bad that a customer basically doesn’t get an answer as to what is the resolution. 

What ServiceNow does is, we tie together all these back-end systems and provide common interface to the agent who is picking up the call. Now because the agent has a system integrated with the ERP, CRM, monitoring tools, asset management tools, etc, when the agent gets a call then he knows what assets he has. He knows what the SLA to him is and even when the outage has happened because the information from monitoring tools has come to him directly. He can proactively tell the customer that he knows what outage has happened and it is being worked on and can answer lot of queries that the customer has without having to say, ‘Please hold on, I will get back to you”. 


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