Nikhil Rathi, President and CEO, Web Werks India explains how the company’s investments into data center and infrastructure for Co-location and Cloud is helping it to meet the most demanding requirements from clients belonging to various industries
What’s your assessment of the current scenario and the lessons learned?
COVID-19 has affected almost every nation across the globe and continues to expand. While health professionals, researchers, scientists, and governments are scrambling to deal with this situation and bring public and social life back to normalcy, WHO has declared that this pandemic is here to stay, at least until a vaccine to combat the disease is developed.
Hence with extended lockdowns and social distancing norms, the pandemic is now defining a new normal in public life; and individuals, professionals, businesses and governments are obligated to adapt to these situations challenged by uncertainties and find solutions to deal with the same. While larger organizations were somewhat prepared and found ways to ensure business continuity, SME’s comprising of manufacturing and other services were completely caught by surprise also leading to permanent shut downs.
The initial phases were marked by their foiled efforts to circumvent the problem. While the IT System Integrator (SI) channels endeavoured to assist SME’s into moving to the cloud, these firms were reluctant due to lack of knowledge and the fear of losing control of their data. However, through pitches and demonstrations, the company has been able to create an understanding of this digital infrastructure and gain confidence on its benefits, which has resulted in a smooth ride for both the firm and the channel.
How well are you prepared to handle such unprecedented situations? What are some of the best practices followed?
In addition to operational data centers in Mumbai and Pune, Web Werks launched a data center in Delhi NCR in November last year. This worked as a boon to the company. The robust hardware of a data center supported by uninterrupted connectivity is critical for cloud adoption. Thus, our investments into our data centers and the most connected ecosystem in the country paid rich dividends, as we now offer the best infrastructure for Co-location and Cloud. Ensuring uptime and strict compliance to the security parameters help us meet the most demanding requirements from clients belonging to variety of industries.
During this period of total lockdown, how are you ensuring 24×7 support and service to your customers and in the process, helping them maintain continuity of their business operations?
We have adhered to government norms and practised social distancing while also ensuring personal safety and hygiene of employees and proper sanitization of equipment. In fact, Web Werks implemented a strict lockdown a week before the government announced a curfew on 22nd March.
Data centers have several essential functions, which cannot be managed remotely and requires availability of professionals 24×7. Hence, a set of employees have been stationed and lodged in the data center. Adequate precautionary measures such as health monitoring, temperature checks, and hygiene measures have been adhered to. Masks were stocked in advance and sanitizers are available in every bay. In addition to this, commonly used places and things such as toilets, cafeteria’s, door knobs, etc. are sanitized regularly.
There has been a surge in data center and cloud requirements, with firms now using data centers as disaster recovery locations in different geographic locations but within the boundaries of data localisation. Capacity demands have been increasing dramatically. To address the doubling and tripling of bandwidth with six to ten times an increase in target utilization, telecom lines have been upgraded. Also, we have assisted customers, who partially moved into the cloud or the data center earlier, to move their office infrastructures into the data center and co-locate their data.
Highlight some of the challenges being faced while providing support or service to the customers during this period
Since most of our help desk support has moved to remote working, we are not having much of challenge. However, co-ordinating with employees within the data center for remote hand-on support sometimes faces a delay by a few minutes unlike regular working days where team members communicate across the table. Our clients though have been very supportive and their co-operation has helped us ride through these issues. In case of email and telephonic support, we are all up to the mark, or at times even better.
What all support have you received from your OEM’s / Vendors that are not only helping in smooth functioning of your business, but also living up to the changing customer expectations?We have had challenges as far as the availability of hardware is concerned, as there was no movement of goods. However, a stock of our own components resulted in better utilisation and ensured we meet uptime as committed to our clients.
How will the IT Channel industry evolve post the COVID-19 crisis?
Cloud services will now become an essential part of client offerings. Proposals will include disaster recovery and business continuity plans as the next logical extension. Security of data will no longer be confined only to office spaces but will be extended as an omnipresent subject i.e. data will always be secure no matter where an employee accesses it from.
Please outline your growth roadmap and GTM strategy post COVID-19? Where do you think OEMs/ vendors will help your organisation in achieving the desired growth results?
We are now working at launching more cloud services with specific industry focus or niche such as government cloud, as we are already a MEITY empanelled communication service provider, along with banking cloud, automotive cloud, retail cloud, SAP HANA cloud, Tally cloud, etc. to name a few. These would be targeted to specific industry verticals and clusters, where each industry specific compliance requirements can be met. Channel would be the key driver and connect between the company and the SME clients.