Building cloud solutions with global potential from India, says Google Cloud India Head

The cloud service provider's collaborations with Indian platforms are already showing results. According to Bikram Singh Bedi, Managing Director - Google Cloud, Google Cloud's tie-up with ONDC has led to the creation of an open-source onboarding accelerator.

Building cloud solutions with global potential from India, says Google Cloud India Head

Tuesday October 10, 2023,

7 min Read

As one of the leading global cloud services providers, GoogleCloud has experienced substantial growth in recent years. India ranks among one of Google Cloud’s largest and most crucial markets. And it is developing solutions tailored to the Indian market, which can potentially have a global footprint. 

Bikram Singh Bedi, Managing Director - Google Cloud, India Region, is bullish about India’s growing cloud ecosystem.

India’s public cloud services market is expected to reach $17.8 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 23.4% for 2022-27, according to International Data Corporation.

For Google, the large public cloud market offers the perfect ecosystem to build and test its solutions.

"The work we are doing in ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce), payments, and networks with telcos, much of it originates here but is scalable to the rest of the world," Bedi tells YourStory.

Startups are at the core of the company's plans in India.

Apart from access to credits—worth $300,000 for AI startups—Google Cloud also offers skilling and mentorship programmes.

Its collaborations with local platforms are already showing results. According to the managing director, Google Cloud's tie-up with ONDC has led to the creation of an open-source onboarding accelerator.

"Instead of developing a first-party product, we opted to open-source it, engaging closely with the community and ONDC. We've experienced significant traction, working with partners like SellerApp and Magicpin—who are now working with us very closely, and helping customers on board, in partnership with us," he said.

Edited excerpts:

YourStory (YS): How has Google Cloud’s growth evolved within the Indian market, especially with the pandemic expediting cloud adoption?

Bikram Singh Bedi (BSB): All of us are aware that COVID acted as the best CIO for the cloud. Unfortunate circumstances, but yes, it significantly accelerated adoption. As we've progressed through these two to three years, what has transpired is that customers have begun to understand that the cloud is not just about having a good technology partner. It's actually about embracing a business transformation product, and this is where Google Cloud has distinguished itself.

We aren't just your technology partner providing a reasonable tech stack. At Google Cloud, we help you on your journey of business transformation and accelerate that process. 

This particular aspect has resonated very well with our customers, and it's a key reason we continue to see the momentum we have. All the customers who have chosen to partner with us are witnessing substantial results in their business transformation.

Let’s look at an example like Apollo, which has moved its 24/7 platform to Google Cloud. It is building an AI-based clinical intelligence engine with us, which will assist doctors in determining the next steps after evaluating a patient, marking a significant leap in productivity for doctors and enhancing their ability to handle patient load while providing valuable advice. Moreover, the work that we are doing with Mahindra, Flipkart, Federal Bank, and HDFC is all focused on business impact. 

We continue to see the growth momentum with Google Cloud, on the back of essentially business transformation, we are helping our customers with.

YS: What are India's long-term cloud prospects, and how will Google support the ecosystem?

BSB: India is a very important market, not only for Google Cloud but for Google overall. It stands as one of the largest markets outside the US and holds significant value for us.

Our investments in this market extend beyond Google Cloud; they include Google as a whole. We were one of the first to set up multi-regions. We initiated this in Mumbai and subsequently in Delhi. We believe in the potential to support public sector workloads by being geographically proximate, providing customers with resilient options across seismic and geographic zones.

We've significantly enhanced our GTM team in India and hired a large cloud engineering team. We have dev centres for cloud engineering, running out of multiple locations. We continue to work with our partners to build solutions that are first in India and then perhaps can be taken to the world.

Google has a research team in India, involved in areas like internet languages, agriculture and ONDC. These teams closely collaborate with cloud engineering and GTM teams, ensuring a holistic customer experience.

YS: In which sectors is cloud adoption gaining momentum in India?

BSB: Cloud adoption is across the board. In retail, for instance, the ONDC story emphasises the immense commerce potential in India—a global-scale opportunity. 

In banking and financial services, the payment potential is massive. Focusing on the cloud aspect, we are working with ecosystem providers like banks to build assets driving widespread payment adoption. A major challenge here is that ecosystem growth outpaces the scalability of supporting infrastructure.

Telecom is experiencing a big boom, especially in the 5G space. We are closely working with Indian telecom providers to innovate and offer services in conjunction with 5G advancements.

In manufacturing, we closely collaborate with Mahindra, where we are looking at their R&D centres and seeing how GenAI can be used to enhance predictability and achieve optimal outcomes.

In the public sector, we are seeing a huge play. Governments at the central, state, or ministry levels, along with PSUs, are looking to move to the cloud in a significant way. It’s less about infrastructure replacement and more about helping with significant business outcomes.

YS: How does GenAI influence cloud adoption, and what steps is Google taking to assist businesses leveraging Cloud and Gen AI?

BSB: GenAI is accelerating cloud adoption. We are seeing use cases across industries—hundreds and thousands of use cases. These include both horizontal cases, like customer service, and vertical cases such as anti-money laundering solutions in financial services or enhancing user experience in retail. 

Across diverse industries, use cases are prevalent. With the kind of computing power that is needed, doing this outside of the cloud is going to be perhaps quite challenging and expensive. So, Generative AI is accelerating the adoption of cloud because most of these use cases are cloud-relevant.

Bard is our consumer platform and Vertex AI is the enterprise GenAI platform. In building an enterprise GenAI platform, security is a paramount consideration. It must be as secure as any other application, allowing red teaming and penetration testing. Additionally, data privacy is fundamental; your data should exclusively serve to train your models and not public ones.

In the enterprise space, a customer has a snapshot of the model available for their use, ensuring data privacy. They use their data to train it, and they have trained it, they freeze the model for their use. This approach safeguards that your competition can't leverage a model trained with your data, a crucial aspect of enterprise operations.

While we have our proprietary models, within the Vertex AI platform, we've also established a model garden, like a marketplace. It houses Google models and open-source third-party models, granting customers the flexibility to select their preferred model.

YS: How is Google Cloud collaborating with startups in India?

BSB: A lot is happening in the startup space with Google Cloud. We run innovative programmes offering credits. If you are an AI startup, we are offering credits up to $300,000. 

It's beyond just credits; mentoring is a crucial aspect. It's about making sure that not just Google Cloud, but a lot of Google's capabilities are brought to the forefront in terms of mentoring—taking you through your journey as a startup.

At Google, we run an accelerator programme in the country with periodic batches, providing significant leverage to startups. Our startup school focuses on mentoring early-stage startups, helping them in their initial journey by leveraging various aspects of Google to facilitate growth and transformation.

Another crucial aspect pertains to skills development. Building skills within the market is a priority. We maintain a significant developer relations team, dedicated to enhancing the skill set prevalent in the market for not only Google Cloud but also other Google products such as Android. Developer relations play a vital role in our go-to-market strategy, helping us to scale up skills effectively.

Additionally, we've partnered with industry bodies to implement skill development initiatives and platforms. In collaboration with NASSCOM, we are training 100,000 people.

Focusing on security is a critical aspect alongside Generative AI, Data, and Cloud. We signed an MoU with CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team,) to offer 100,000 scholarships.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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