We work as a Partner with the CIO in Building the Digital Roadmap of their Organizations

T Lakshmi Narayana, Vice President - Operations & Governance, Pi DATACENTERS
T Lakshmi Narayana, Vice President – Operations & Governance, Pi DATACENTERS

Resiliency in operations with complete security compliance is driving the investments in IT transformation. With changing landscapes and diverse demands across businesses, the off-guard digital territory broach the tussle between traditional and cloud-driven data driven enterprises. Disrupting the datacenters space in the indigenous Indian market, Pi Datacenters is well-established to address the pain-points of CIOs and cater innovate and mature cloud and datacenter solutions to the last-mile of customers business need and roadmap. Evading knee-jerk, the home-grown company is leveraging industry specific plug-and-play solutions for customers across Manufacturing, IT-ITES, Government, BFSI, Health Care, Education and e-Tail.

In a recent rendezvous with T Lakshmi Narayana, Vice President – Operations & Governance, Pi DATACENTERS underlined on the business ecosystem of datacenters in India and also restated the company’s ambitious and stratagem approach towards India’s data-driven digital revolution. Edited Excerpts.

Just after ISO Certifications, the company has lately bagged the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Compliance certificate? How do these compliances spell the stature of the company in terms safety, security and service.

With efficient and cost effective healthcare being the need of the hour globally, India has lately emerged as the hub of “healthcare tourism”. We are seeing Indian healthcare enterprises stepping up the stream and so are the global players setting their shops in India.

We already being ISO certified to global standards in terms of Quality Management , Information Security , Business Continuity , IT Service Management , Environment Management, our HIPAA compliance would drive in confidence to the healthcare enterprise community with global footprints, to partner us and leverage our enterprise cloud and datacenter services, meeting the stringent privacy compliance parameters.

We cognize the fault-finding of safety, security and quality of services for customers and put perennial efforts to improve the procedures. Securities (Digital & Physical), technical and administrative safeguards for our customers are top agenda to us.

We have ensured that the customer data is protected and the environments are taken care of seamlessly. Our datacenter environment has been built to meet rigorous global standards and compliance, which are business critical for our patrons.

Compliance to the same reflects in the certifications achieved.

Which sectors are primarily been targeted by the company and current offerings to these targeted sectors? 

While our strategy pans across all enterprise and government industry verticals we are focusing on healthcare and education industries where we see very limited inroad of digitization. With India gaining prominence as a hub for affordable healthcare and education for the global audience, we foresee a massive surge of data in this domain. We see ourselves just rightly positioned to absorb this surge and give the respective industries and their customers a secured seamless experience.

Our industry specific solutions are plug-and-play for our customers across Manufacturing, IT-ITES, Government, BFSI, Health Care, Education and e-Tail. 

What are pain points for CIOs in datacenters and how Pi DATACENTERS can address them? 

One of the key challenges we see today’s CIO are trying to fend is to zero-in on the solution that is best fit for their organisation to feed their future data center demands.

CIOs are struggling to keep abreast with the pace of technology obsolesce. This may lead to their organisation lagging behind in the race of being the market leader in their respective domains. It’s unviable for a CIO to keep pumping dollars on regular basis to upgrade its enterprise IT environment and be one step up.

CIOs are also struggling in figuring out what stays on site and what gets on to cloud or outsourced to datacenter/cloud service provider.

Another pain point that comes back to bite harder is the lack of up to date skilled resources due to competency and resource gaps.

The dearth of varied opportunities to practice skills or upskill, eventually leads to employee dissatisfaction and attrition.

There are more than one considerations, like location, existing technology adoption, service capabilities, scalability, so on and so forth, which can go into selecting a datacenter service provider.

Knowing that not every application/data need to go on cloud or third party hosting, we work as a partner to the CIO of our customers in building the digital roadmap of their organisations. As a datacenter and cloud provider we have been able to handhold the CIOs to a hybrid model to start with, instead of adopting a knee jerk approach. This has helped our customers to innovate and mature at an easy pace in line with their business need and roadmap.

We also understand the immediate and long term benefits that customers would derive in smart adopting the wave of cloud and third party hosting. We help the CIOs leverage that optimally.

We help them to identify services that can remain in house, while delivering the best performance at optimum cost, for services that can be moved to cloud.

What are the expectations of enterprises from Data Centers and the solutions offered to address the demands? 

Enterprises today demand smart and intelligent datacenters with inbuilt features like scalability, flexibility, reliability, integrity and security to support their growth cycles. High availability of infrastructure elements to avoid downtimes is of significance for the enterprises to ensure resilience.

Our modular data center build, ensures to keep our customers out of the worry of space crunch. With our UPTIME certified TIER IV architecture, we ensure 99.99 % uptime for enterprises. We also enable a flexibility to shift between TIERs basis our customers’ requirements.

Enterprises are aiming to make their applications available on a real time basis to their customers and have a quicker time to market. Features like self-service and automated provisioning would avoid any possible delays in provisioning of datacenters and making it up and running on a click, would derive high competitive value to enterprises today.

We at Pi, enable high level of automation, self-service and a strong layer of managed services, that suits the dynamic nature of the industry to deliver the best fit results to end users.

Enterprises do not expect the data center providers to offer the pre-fabricated solution bundles to them, but would call for solutions thought of, personalised and implemented for their organizational needs.

In line with the above , we focus on enterprise class cloud solutions around Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service ( DRaaS ) and Industry specific solutions riding on our cloud platform, where architecture is built grounds up basis varied industry framework.

Support eco-system for services provided is an unsaid requirement from all enterprises today.

With IoT and Big Data taking the center stage in the industry today, our services around IoT and Analytics as a Service would help enterprises in real time decision making and analytics of their data banks in the right way, at the right time.

With the world going green, organizations would prefer datacenters with optimum utilization of power, resources and eco-friendly operational models.

Strategic choice of Vijayawada as our location has ensured high levels of optimization in terms of infra and power. Our optimized use of electrical and cooling design enhanced power efficiency of our datacenter.

We have built our datacenter keeping in mind the technology and infrastructural demands posed by the industry. This demand driven datacenter build makes our presence strongly felt in the industry today as we have just the right set of solutions for enterprises of any ticket size.

The company flaunts a massive 10 acres state-of-the-art data centre facility at Mangalagiri. How has the company managed to streamline knowledge, skill, as well as technological supports from the indigenous ecosystem? 

Organizations are built on the pillars of human capital. To pool the right human resources is as vital as raising the capital. For an organization like us, which puts quality and innovation ahead of everything else, it is all the more important to get the right set of enablers.

Mangalagiri is situated in a geography known to be an educational hub with several institutions producing great number of high quality technical graduates since years. People from this location have panned out across India and overseas, contributing to the growth curves of numerous Indian and multinational giants globally.

We have seen significant interest from multiple such tech savvies, as they get to work on cutting edge technologies, yet stay closer to their roots and have a significantly contributing role in supporting the wave of Digital India, through indigenous venture like Pi. This creates a satisfying and happy work environment for all our employees.

Hence, we did not have to face as such a challenge in streamlining the right set of knowledge and skill support for us. We have been able to create very strong tech “A Team” of technology subject matter experts and an equally strong bench to back fill.

Because of our nature to innovate, we have been able to build a highly nimble on feet and flexible skill management process to tap skills from both traditional and non-traditional sources of our society/industry. Our resource bank is looking healthy for today and good to feed at least next decade to come.

The technology eco-system was hardened with internal expertise partnering global leaders in cloud technologies across network, storage and compute. Our “PiCloud” platform is the fusion of in house innovation with contributions from our technology partners. In addition we do significant amount of R & D at our innovation hub, “Pi Labs” where our internal expert teams work hand in hand with our global partners. The sand box environment ensures the right product readiness for our customers. 

How the company witnesses the Indian datacenter industry if compared to the global market? 

Indian datacenter market is catching up at a fast pace viz a viz it’s already matured global counterparts. The lag in adoption is balanced with the fact that we get to on board the latest and greatest of technologies avoiding the long transformation cycles. Digitization wave already hitting the Indian shores is giving us a head start.

The market would keep growing, giving a long runway and scope of opportunity for service providers to innovate and grow along with the growing industry.

Indian market demands perfection in output while being highly cost conscious. The market challenges the status quo, paving path for innovation and risk taking at all levels.

The adoption cycles are long in the Indian industry. Providers are challenged to give the best solutions at the most economical costs. TCO rules the show while the quality is not compromised on.

The recipe to success lies in how well the service providers are able strike a balance between cost of operation and cost of customer acquisition. Innovation is key.

India is a big market with unique demands, how do you customize your solutions in regards to diverse market needs? 

Flexibility is the essence of Indian market. Realizing the same, we have made customizability and the scalability the crux of our portfolio. Our modular infrastructures, greatly scalable and automation high PiCloud platform are instances for the same.

We Pi are breaking the cost – quality paradox of quality solutions at inflated costs, by creating the right synergy between uncompromised quality, best fit solutions and the cost angle of it. Our low TCO model is just right for the cost sensitive Indian market. This is going to be an industry benchmark in itself in days to come.

The expectations from the service providers to build on the latest of technologies are taken care of Pi. We are working hand in hand with global technology leaders in hardening and bettering our solution stack as a religion preached.

The Indian market also demands personalized and high touch customer service, which is addressed through our customer centric model of running the business.

Our strategy of adopting the industry specific solutions model, have made it easy for customers from varied industry verticals to go plug and play

We believe in partnering customers in understanding their current environments and advocating the best fit solutions which is just right for them, in the market they are operating in. “One shoe fits all” didn’t find a place in our GTM. 

What are the key market strategies to foray into the Indian market and any further strategic expansion plans?

GTM Pi is focused on bridging the gap between the need of the hour of Digital India and global standards. The best thing about Pi is that we are not an offshore entity who forayed into the Indian market. Instead, we are India out next generation enterprise, who has taken the lead to disrupt the status quo.

We are living up to the expectation by firstly disrupting the myth that top of the league infrastructure and cost effective solutions don’t go hand in hand.

Our industry specific solutions and enterprise class cloud solutions, specific to the varied needs of key verticals like Manufacturing, IT-ITES, Government, BFSI, Health Care, Education and e-Tail, adds to our GTM strategy.

While our traditional colocation and managed hosting services acts as foot at the door, our flagship to the market is our enterprise class cloud services and “As A Service“, on demand, portfolio around DR, Storage and Backup riding on our stable PiCloud platform.

We primarily focus on enabling a simple, seamless and secure shift from native infrastructures to enterprise cloud, for our customer. We ensure our customers are in full control of their IPs and derive higher scale in performance at optimised cost.

There has been quite a bit of excitement in our alliance network, while collaborating on a co-sell – co-deliver model with us. Last few quarters we have singed on dotted lines for few strategic partnerships with Indian and Global partner both in the domain of technology and services

We foresee ourselves to be the backbone in enabling seamless data storage and delivering it to the last mile, in executing the diverse Digital India initiatives like smart cities and citizen programs into multiple verticals.

We are geared up to host City/State & Central Governments on multiple fronts to support e-governance models proposed as a part of Digital India Initiative.

With an extensive expansion plan on the cards, we would be making our presence felt, in terms of, service a-la-cart, continuous innovation and geography coverage.

SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and the cloud), are the affluent acronym which is changing the dynamics of businesses and IT infrastructures. As a data center service provider what challenges or advantages does this cloud-driven, computing & storage infrastructures propel for the industry?

SMAC today is the way of life for industries. They are changing the dynamics in aspects starting from the way businesses are conducted to the underlying support layers of IT infrastructure and services.

The traction these trends are realizing today would shape the industry behaviour leading to a renaissance in the technology space. The essence of SMAC is to empower the end customer at all forefronts and revolves around data which is the key asset for any enterprise.

Owing to tremendous data generation, these trends result in, the spectrum of services to enable them; need not be mere data keeping, processing and analysing but a self-sufficient and smart environment with scalable data keeping, agile processing and real-time analysing, which would help enterprises and their end customers stay ahead of curve.

The dynamic infrastructural needs demand for intelligent and smart eco-systems. Automation and software driven work flows and architectures which enable a scale to fit environment are the need of the hour.

With trends evolving each day, constant innovation would be the essence expected out of industry. Security concerns are major in the current virtual, data-driven entities. They would challenge the status quo each day and demand smarter and safer environments.

With the unique infrastructural and implementation specifications across industry verticals, industry and application specific solutions would lead the show.

Enterprises with real time analytical capabilities would drive in more value and cost optimisation back into their business. With speed being the essence, sensor enabled industrial analytics is taking the world by storm.

Challenges in effective real time data capturing, storing, analysing and making them available for consumption would make the difference in enabling quick and informed decision making. While cognizing the benefits would be an easier move, adoption to these trends would be a vital challenge in the industry.

This advocates the role of service providers to move beyond the obvious and partner the customers in improving their performance, efficiency and agility in all aspects and cope with the ever evolving technology trends at all levels.

While the ever evolving and never ending developments in these trends would drive a constant disruption and innovation in the industry, it becomes a challenge for the providers to keep up to the pace without being obsolete at any point. The investments in technology/hardware should be intelligently made, for baggage carried is no brownie point for any provider but remains a big bottle neck.

What is the USP of the company and how it poises to be upfront from its competitors?

Pi differentiates itself from the existing datacenter providers in array of aspects varying from class of core data center infrastructure to the quality of services. Quality of service and professionalism backed by stringent Service Level Agreements are making our forte firmly felt in the industry.

Our ground up modular architecture relieves customers from the worries of space crunch and enables a scale at will capability supporting their growth curves.

The cost optimization both in terms of infra and power driven by strategic choice of Vijayawada (Mangalagiri) as our primary location enables us to pass on the cost benefits and operational ease to our customers.

By striking the right balance between cost benefits and the world class services, we strongly assert to lower customers’ TCO significantly. Our fully automated and customisable workflows lets the customers provision their enterprise cloud on our self-provisioning platform.

The intelligently built infrastructure is scalable between the TIER levels. Customers can leverage our Uptime certified TIER IV environment for their mission critical applications and infra, while their non-mission critical applications and infra can leverage our TIER III environment, resulting to cost optimisation and operational excellence.

We are also creating a niche in working with our customers sitting at their side of the table, rather on the other side. That’s giving the trust factor the much need shot in the arm. Our customers know that we don’t engage to sell, but to contribute in them attaining business excellence.

What key trends do you expect in the datacenters industry by 2020 and how is the company reckoning to befit the transformations?

The datacenter market is prone to grow multiple folds in the years to come, inviting huge investments across the globe. With real time data driven industry as the key stake holder, the data center market would take leaps towards being much beyond the regular bricks and mortars facilities and develop to be the smart and intelligent enablers.

As a result, software infrastructure quotient in a datacenter would continue to increase over years.

Our datacenter at all levels is software driven, making it an intelligent Software Driven Data Center (SDDC) with substantial flexibility built in. Our adoption to the trends of tomorrow like SDN is an instance of our readiness for the transformations to take place.

We not only implement top of the league and up to date technologies but also implement them in novel approaches, setting new standards for the industry ourselves.

The space crunch and scalability issues would be other major challenges posed to the industry. Our modular infrastructure lets customers free of this worry and supports them in their growth.

We as an organization realize the challenges posed by the ever evolving technologies. This helped us implement solutions that would help us course the path in accordance to any trend changes seamlessly without much hassle technically as well as in infrastructural terms.

To keep up to the pace of the industry and with an eye to innovation, we have come up with our trailblazing research and development center “Pi Labs”, where we stage and implement our product innovation strategies. We as an organization invest in this innovation hub, for tomorrow to take the transformations upfront and to lead some of them as well.

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Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.