Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said recently that its telecom arm would offer SMEs a combination of Microsoft cloud solutions with connectivity at Rs 1,500 a month – effectively a tenth of the current cost of similar services. It plans to do so by leveraging its upcoming maze of data centres across the country that will run Microsoft’s Azure platform.
Just as “RIL’s entry into the cellular space led to mobile data explosion, its entry into the enterprise market, particularly its offerings to SMEs, will disrupt pricing and increase affordability of enterprise solutions and drive substantial adoption of data growth among small businesses who are currently not using enterprise services,” Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said in a note seen by ET.
RIL, it said, “could decide on pricing once it targets SMEs, and offerings could be a SaaS or ‘softwareas-a-service’ kind of bundle of connectivity with some hosted apps.”
Brokerage Credit Suisse said Jio would also enjoy a first-mover advantage in marketing its cloud services, especially “as it becomes difficult later for an enterprise (availing of such services) to switch its architecture suited for a different cloud services provider.”
Analysts said the likely affordability of enterprise services, coupled with demand for video and data privacy needs, would boost data storage requirements, giving a likely fillip to the data centres business.
RIL has said its upcoming data centres running Microsoft’s Azure platform would arm all Indian businesses with the capacity to speed up their digital transformation and be globally competitive. This is since small businesses would have access to enterprise-grade voice and data services, video conferencing, security solutions, marketing and sales solutions and more productivity tools. More so, since the Jio-Microsoft partnership plans to also develop solutions for all major Indian languages and dialects.
BankAm-Merrill Lynch estimates the overall energy capacity to power data centres in India will grow at 700-800 MW a year in the aftermath of Jio’s upcoming rollout of data centres, especially with the requirement to retain sensitive data in India. A data centre serves as a central location to consolidate a company’s computing resources (read: servers) and data storage and efficiently manage network transport requirements.
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