Alibaba Cloud: Synergizing Value with Channel Ecosystem

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When it comes to enterprise or SME community, cloud technologies are playing an important role towards enabling greater customer satisfaction or stretching operational and functional flexibility for the organization. This is opening up great opportunities in front of the channel community and Alibaba Cloud is fast emerging as a great option on the cloud side.

The company is working on a unique strategy to engage with channel community and take its innovative cloud solutions in the enterprise and SME market.

Dr. Alex Li, General Manager, Alibaba Cloud India interacts with Zia Askari from about the company’s current cloud strategy and its future plans.

          Dr. Alex Li, Alibaba Cloud India

How does Alibaba group look at capturing the cloud opportunities in India’s SME and Enterprise market?

The main aim of Alibaba Cloud has been to empower enterprises of different sizes to tap into opportunities in the digital age. With digital transformation poised to add close to USD 154 billion to India’s GDP, this is a great opportunity for us to do business in India.

We entered this market with a unique positioning. Our strong expertise in e-commerce, logistics and fintech have helped us develop cloud solutions which can add value to our current as well as prospective customers. Alibaba has a significant presence, with 49 availability zones across 18 economic centres globally.

We set up our first data centre in Mumbai in January this year to fulfil the growing demand for cloud computing services among the fast-increasing number of Indian small and medium size businesses in the region. Going forward, we plan to continue to invest in infrastructure, to meet the growing needs of local clients. Additionally, we are also looking at investing in talent.

Is cloud security still an area of concern for CIOs and CTOs? How do you ensure that your cloud solutions deliver secured access?

For Alibaba, protecting the privacy of our consumers is our highest priority. We strictly comply with all applicable laws in every market that we operate in. Our security standards have been recognized by a number of international organizations.

Alibaba Cloud is the world’s first cloud provider to complete the assessment for the Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalogue (C5) set out by the Federal Office for Information Security in Germany with the additional requirements. The British Standards Institute (BSI) awarded Alibaba Cloud the world’s first gold certification for cloud security. Additionally, we have also achieved the Singapore MultiTier Cloud Security (MTCS) Level 3 standard and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

How can channel partners benefit by associating with Alibaba?

Our channel partners form an important part of our ecosystem in India. We recently launched a channel distribution program in India in order to suit the needs of the market. The distribution program encourages partners to bring in-depth technical knowledge to customers and builds an open ecosystem among sales, technology and service partners.

Under this strategy, we aim to build specialised teams that will focus on various market segments and sectors, to provide customers with a single alignment to partners in order to promote business growth. We are positive that our distribution program will be instrumental in building a strong, collaborative partner ecosystem, thereby boosting our growth in India.

One such example of our strong partnership is the association with HCL Infosystems, which is now one of our major value added distributors. Through working with different partners, we aim to bring our high quality products and services to customers in India to help them embrace the opportunities of digital transformation. We also announced our commitment to train 1,000 sales and technology personnel in India by March 2019.

What are some of the challenges while operating in this segment? How can you overcome these challenges?

Technology is an important growth driver for businesses across verticals. With its growing popularity, most organisations are going the digital way. According to Gartner, the IT spending in India is projected to reach a total of USD 87.1 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.2 percent from 2017. While cloud computing has become a focus area for most establishments, there are certain challenges which come with the adoption of cloud-based applications such as security, scale and costs among others.

Organisations in India, with their insurmountable workloads, are on the lookout for cloud adoption models to best suit their needs. Alibaba Cloud is best suited to help these companies mitigate such challenges. Our strategy of adding value to our services along with developing new capabilities in emerging technologies differentiates us from other players in the market.

What are some of the promising segments today as far as cloud adoption is concerned? Elaborate on the kind of growth you are looking at from the cloud segment in India?

According to International Data Corp (IDC), the estimated public cloud spending in the country is currently $2.12 billion, placing India third in the list of countries in Asia Pacific excluding Japan. India is a unique market with growth in cloud computing emerging from across various sectors and regions within the country. Verticals like retail, public sector, entertainment and small and medium enterprises (SME) segments are rapidly adopting cloud to meet their digital transformation needs.

Our strategy for India has been designed keeping in mind the varied needs arising from the country, be it finance and entertainment from Mumbai, public sector and retail from New Delhi or technology from Bangalore. In line with this, we have partnered and continue to partner with players across verticals in order to help them embrace the power of cloud.

We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB). The MoU envisages leveraging Alibaba’s Cloud and Smart City technologies for sustainable farming, integrated traffic management, smart city management, small and medium enterprises and even skill development programs.

We have also partnered with DLF Shopping Malls as the technology enabler in their journey to transform the retail sector in India. Alibaba Cloud with its leadership in big data, artificial intelligence and high-powered computing capabilities, will enable DLF Shopping Malls with new-age cutting edge technologies and retail solution stacks to enhance their digital transformation journey.

We have also been working with Reliance Entertainment, who wanted not only a cloud provider with a global reach but also a strong team to support the launch of their biggest game with WWE which was deployed in 155 countries including China, last year through Alibaba Cloud.

Some of the flagship products developed by Alibaba Cloud’s digital transformation experience include Image Search, Intelligent Service Robot and Apsara Stack along with tailored solutions for driving transformation across the business value chain of all our customers.

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