by Shubhra Rishi

Make in India: RightCloudz

Dec 14, 20149 mins
BudgetingBusinessCloud Computing

In the continuously evolving cloud industry, where new offerings are available almost daily, research data that is a quarter old can place an enterprise customer at a disadvantage. Not if you are using RightCloudz, says its founders.

In the midst of established players such as Gartner, Forrester, and IDCs of the world is one cloud intelligence agency whose single-handed mission is to empower and enable cloud customers to make the right vendor choices when buying cloud-based assets and services. Rightcloudz is an Indian startup, founded in early 2013 by a group of cloud experts—Vikas Mathur, Subhranshu Banerjee, Sreehari Narasipur, and Archana Nukal. CIO Magazine spoke to two of its co-founders, Vikas Mathur and Subhranshu Banerjee, on what sets them apart from the other big giants, their goals, and their view on the government’s Make in India initiative.

You’re an Indian born entity. What sets you apart from other research agencies such as Forrester and Gartner?

As an Indian startup, one of our biggest advantages is that we have a very close view of the IT requirements of the fast growing economies like India and other countries in the APAC region. As these economies grow and the companies expand their business, the cloud continues to be a very strategic requirement for them. Our complete, dedicated focus on the cloud and cloud- based services gives us that distinct advantage of being in the right place at the right time.

While Forrester and Gartner have very strong capabilities and are well respected in the industry, our big advantage as a startup is that we are very nimble and quick to react to the changes in the industry. Thus we are able to monitor and update our cloud intelligence at a very fast pace. In a continuously evolving cloud industry, where new offerings and updates are available almost daily, even a quarter-old data can place an enterprise customer at a disadvantage. We believe that the currency of our data, our ability to incorporate changes as they happen, and make them visible to the customers, gives us an edge over the larger research firms.

Interestingly, many fast-growing companies around the world have similar business requirements as far as cloud procurement is concerned, and being in India, we are in a unique position to present our advanced evaluation capabilities to them in a very cost-effective manner, compared to well-established players.

What is Rightcloudz’s unique differentiator?

RightCloudz has several unique differentiators from the customer perspective – most important of which is the capability to provide customized evaluations and rankings of cloud services based on the customer’s business priorities using an online, interactive application.

Another key differentiator is our ability to let customers generate on-demand, in-depth, customized vendor evaluation reports that they can use as an input to their procurement process. These reports include many additional perspectives on the evaluation, rankings, using combinations of high priority requirements, and information on strengths/limitations of the top ranked vendors for the customer’s scenario – each of which the customer would find very difficult to create on their own.

These unique offerings are made possible by several technology differentiators – chief among them being our cloud Intelligence. This is an ever extensible, growing knowledge base of up-to-date, fine-grained data about cloud vendors and their services. This knowledge base provides us the basis for objectively and consistently scoring vendor services in a manner in which they can be compared and ranked using hundreds of cloud service parameters.

Finally, our patent-pending evaluation and ranking engine uses customer-specified business and technical priorities, and the information in the knowledge base to create customized evaluations for the cloud scenarios that the customer is interested in.

For now, we are focusing on IaaS, the fastest growing area in the cloud services. As the industry grows and matures, we will be extending these unique offerings to PaaS and SaaS areas as well since cloud customers will start expecting customized evaluations for those services too.

Your specialization lies in cloud computing. What are some of your customer offerings?

All our customer offerings are focused around customized cloud vendor evaluation and ranking. Our ongoing Beta program includes the following offerings:

RankCloudz Online (free during the Beta period)

This is an online application which lets the cloud customer do self-service cloud evaluations by defining their business priorities within the context of a cloud scenario. Customers can instantly visualize the ranked ordered of the most suitable vendors and can also see quantifiably how the vendors have fared on each parameter.

Customized Vendor Evaluation Reports (free during the Beta period)

As registered RankCloudz Online users, customers can also generate in-depth customized vendor evaluation reports which can be very useful in completing a well-rounded, objective evaluation of the most suitable vendors for the customer’s scenario

Professional Cloud Services

We also provide professional services that can help a customer with other aspects of their journey to the cloud. Some of our service offerings include Cloud Readiness Assessment, Cloud ROI Assessment, Cloud evaluation for complex scenarios, and Cloud migration assistance.

What according to you are some of the cloud trends that customers are likely to adopt in 2015?

First, we expect cloud growth to continue at a very rapid pace in 2015 and beyond. As the end-user expectations from the cloud grow, we expect to see a many-fold jump in the number and the types of services available. While this is great for customers since they will have more choices, we also expect that it will become increasingly difficult to select the best vendor services from a multitude of similar-sounding services for very specific needs that an end-user organization may have.

Here are some specific trends that we expect to see in 2015:

1. IaaS services will become commoditized and may see some consolidation. From an end-user perspective, focus will likely shift to PaaS and SaaS services.

 2. Hybrid cloud deployment and cloud inter-operability will become more important as customers will start migrating more and more of their business-critical applications to the cloud. 3. Cloud vendors will significantly improve their capabilities and SLAs around Governance and Regulatory Compliance to increase cloud adoption by organizations in healthcare, financial services, and other data sensitive organizations. 4. As SaaS offerings mature and become cost-effective, it will become the platform of choice for many organizations – especially SMEs, since it won’t be worthwhile to run their own datacenters for applications like email, HR, ERP, etc. 

What do you think are some of the factors responsible for selecting one cloud vendor over another? Is price an important factor?

Just like any other procurement decision an enterprise makes, there are several factors that need to be considered when selecting a cloud vendor. The importance and the priority of each factor may change from company to company and even for different cloud scenarios within the same company. Clearly, price is an important factor for most organizations, but other factors like high availability, security, and ease of use are equally, if not more important for some organizations.

Many cloud customers are struggling with questions like “Is Azure more secure than AWS?” or “Is IBM better than Rackspace for storage and backup? If so, how much better?” Question like this cannot be answered by considering only price, but factors like data protection capabilities, integration with existing infrastructure, storage mechanisms, security infrastructure, high availability SLAs, disaster recovery, and other relevant factors may also need to be considered.

RightCloudz provides online capabilities using which customers start with one of the pre-defined cloud scenarios that closely represents the one they are considering for buying cloud services. Each of the pre-defined scenarios includes relevant business and technical requirements and the customer can simply define priorities based on their business needs. They can also specify high priority requirements which are used in the customized report to give the customer additional evaluation perspectives around the requirements most important to them.

What do you think about the government’s Make in India initiative? Don’t you think intellectual property in software is as important as hardware made in India?

We strongly believe that the Make in India initiative will give the right impetus to the economy and will help create a great environment for startups like us to thrive. With the increasing focus on encouraging new investments, innovations, and entrepreneurship, the right elements for increasing industrial output and efficiency are being created. This is bound to have a positive impact on all the sectors – including IT and specifically software.

Due to the positive business climate being created, we are also seeing a renewed interest by global investors in Indian startups. Recent acquisitions of the Little Eye Labs by Facebook and Impermium by Google come to mind. As such, we expect significant increase in funding available to startups – especially those in technology areas strategic to the industry. We also expect accelerators activity to pick up significantly and expect global VCs to fund several new Indian ventures as this initiative picks up steam in 2015.

In addition to investment and funding, the Make in India initiative is also encouraging many among the Indian diaspora worldwide to return to India and help create new businesses here. We expect that this will result in some great talent with global experience available to startups like ours and to the industry in general.

It is our view that IP in software and software processes is as important as IP in hardware. In fact, in the next few years, we expect that IP in software will probably become more important than in hardware since software is where high value innovations are likely to take place. Hardware manufacturers worldwide are struggling with low margins whereas software and software services are seeing tremendous growth due to increasing pervasiveness of technologies like cloud. Since the margins in software are expected to remain high, we expect the number of software innovations to also continue their rapid growth. Clearly, India and Indian startups stand to benefit from this since we have the right talent and technology expertise to build innovative software for global customers.

It is also good to note that the IP regime in India is well connected with those in the world and initial IP filing here give the inventors world-wide protection. In fact, RightCloudz has also completed the preliminary filing of our RankCloudz IP in India and we soon expect to follow it up with other innovations as we grow our business.