In an exclusive interview, Jyoti Gazmer loops Saurabh Saxena, Country Director, Micro Focus India securing the veteran words on company’s current focus, their helm towards AI&ML, and their strategic business strategies post-merger with HPE software business. Edited Nub.
- AI & ML, these technologies are familiar terms for the tech industry by and large. What are the strategies that companies are adopting to cater to current market demand by integrating these evolving technologies?
AI & ML is fundamentally changing how businesses operate across various sectors including IT, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation etc. With the advancement in various technologies, companies can now automate their business processes, transform customer experiences and differentiate customer offerings. Large companies are able to manage their bottom-line – thanks to the arrival of AI & ML.
While enterprise adoption of such technologies is still in its nascent stage, the scale of opportunity demands more C-level discussions within any business. Executives should consider deploying ML and other tools in a systematic way across core business process and enterprise operations to support data-driven decision-making. Likewise, AI could drive new offerings and business models that could help enterprises in becoming an AI-fueled organization – it will likely be more than a strategy for success.
AI is taking the centre stage – new products are being embedded with virtual assistants, while chatbots are answering customer questions – on everything from your online office supplier’s site to your web hosting service provider’s support page. Meanwhile, large companies are integrating AI as an intelligent layer across their entire tech stack, mostly due to it’s better than human-level performance and the ability to automate and predict based on high volumes of data. Companies are also trying to figure out how to generalize techniques developed for their products, in order to attract the wider business market.
2. Micro Focus’ merger with HPE Software business was a milestone for both the companies. How has the journey been so far?
Post-merger, Micro Focus could see a clear and significant market opportunity coming in the form of digital transformation. We recognized that we didn’t have the breadth of portfolio nor depth of domain expertise in some critical areas to deliver a holistic set of solutions for our customers. This acquisition of HPE Software’s assets helped fill some of those critical gaps. For instance, predictive analytics was an area that we knew would be critical to our customers as they transition to a digital enterprise, and there were obvious assets we could tap into.
By bridging the old and the new, customers would be in a much stronger position to run and transform their business – and do it on their own terms – to achieve lasting success. Today, as the world’s seventh-largest pure-play software company with a laser focus on helping our customers innovate faster with less risk, we make sure to deliver on the promise of digital transformation – often a combination of enhanced differentiation, growth and scale, profitability, customer satisfaction and speed-to-market.
The primary change was to marshal the broad and deep resources now available to focus on solving one core, over-archiving problem for our customers. To the end, we have shifted our weight to delivering solutions that touch the four critical elements of digital transformation:
- Enterprise DevOps —Solutions that unleash the power of DevOps across the hybrid IT landscape, bringing innovative ideas to life to securely deliver high-quality software and services faster.
- Hybrid IT Management — Solutions that allows customers to optimize existing investments in applications and infrastructure, while also taking advantage of the cloud, to realize the benefits of a mixed (hybrid) infrastructure.
- Predictive Analytics — Solutions that leverage machine learning to transform unlimited volumes of data into accurate, actionable, automated insights to ultimately make predictions and influence business outcomes quickly and efficiently.
- Security, Risk, and Governance — Solutions that protect an organization’s most-valuable assets – identities, applications and data – to protect an organization from expensive breaches, fines, sanctions and lost shareholder value.
3. What is the major role of Micro Focus in the field of Predictive Analytics?
Analytics is key to customer retention and business growth – from descriptive to predictive. Today, companies of all industries and size use predictive analytics to understand stored business data on consumer actions or business processes. It helps companies better understand future behavior and make decisions based on hard data, instead of gut feelings.
Micro Focus offers the information management tools you need to leverage your most valuable business asset—your data—so you can find customer insight, protect your organization and drive new revenue opportunities. We help leverage ML to transform enormous data into accurate, actionable, automated insights at the speed of business. Not only this, Predictive analytics adds depth to Micro Focus’ Security, Risk & Governance portfolio and aligns with the company’s strategy to help customers quickly and accurately validate and assess risk as they transform their businesses digitally.
Micro Focus provide their customer with the following solutions in the field of Customer Behavior Analytics, Cognitive Search and Knowledge Discovery, IoT Analytics and Security Analytics:
- Vertica – It provides a powerful analytics platform based on columnar storage. At its base, Vertica is a SQL database that was purpose-built for advanced analytics against big data.
- IDOL – It helps capitalize on virtually any unstructured data asset with unified search and analytics for uncovering trends, patterns and relationships across video, image, audio and text
4. Do you have any plans of expanding your R&D Centre except for Bengaluru? How crucial is the Indian Market for Micro Focus?
India has a large pool of talent and we see tremendous potential in the R&D space, especially when we talk about IT. Apart from the country’s huge talent pool, its growing start-up ecosystem and cost efficiency are the other factors that have spurred the move of setting up various captive technology centres in the country. It allows scientists, technologists and researchers to develop new methods, techniques and knowledge points to enhance the quantity and quality of output with the same resources. Talking about our India centre expansion, we have no plans as of now but we look forward to it.
5. Can you elaborate on Micro Focus’ position in the digital transformation of sectors like Banking, etc.?
In India, we have varied verticals when it comes to digital transformation – public and banking are the key sectors for Micro Focus. Today, top 5 Indian IT Service Providers use our Hybrid IT solutions to monitor and manage both, the legacy and the modern infrastructures and workloads; 9 out of 10 largest banks in India use Micro Focus IT Operations Management solutions; 7 of the 8 largest Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) use our Monitoring Solutions to manage their IT operations; More than 80% of Maharatnas use our Monitoring Solutions (at present, there are seven Maharatna companies); Top Power Utilities in India use Micro Focus monitoring solutions to ensure service availability; Top 4 telcos in India use our solutions for their application and infrastructure services delivery; 50% of PSU banks applications are secured by Fortify
Micro Focus is a market leader in distributed COBOL technology. Today, various corporates are looking for complete sets of solutions that can help them achieve greater speed and agility supported by a high level of protection and an advanced analytics ecosystem. Through a concerted effort (M&A and R&D), we are now able to deliver on this promise.
6. Micro Focus’ offerings specifically, for the Hybrid IT Management
Cloud is transforming the way organizations consume computer services. In the past you had to have local systems and servers to run various applications, but with cloud they are managed by an external provider thereby making information easily available to corporates. Adoption of cloud has created a complex hybrid IT environment that are disrupting many processes in IT organizations and contributing to intense networking of any corporate – it seamlessly combines public cloud, private cloud and traditional IT while maximizing the performance, cost and agility of the services that one could deliver by accelerating delivery of applications and services to an enterprise.
At Micro Focus, we help customers extend their existing investments while embracing new technologies in a world of Hybrid IT. We aim at providing customers with a portfolio of enterprise-grade scalable solutions with built-in analytics. We also help organizations run ITOps at the speed of DevOps, delivering services on demand and generating operational and business insights, all while helping corporates address security, compliance and governance requirements
7. What is Micro Focus’ growth strategy for 2019? Any latest announcements that you want to highlight?
Micro Focus aims at enabling organizations to help them transform their business by offering business-critical tools needed to build, operate, secure and analyze within the enterprise. The requirement is to ensure the enterprise has the capabilities to master hybrid IT with new agility—bridging traditional and transformational IT services from mainframe to mobile, and from corporate to cloud. To embrace the future does not mean we have to replace the past. Hence, Micro Focus helps customers manage the complexity in hybrid IT in three essential steps:
- Ensuring continuous delivery by embracing existing IT as the new capabilities is adopted,
- Increasing IT efficiency by automating routine tasks using preconfigured workflows
- Fueling creativity & innovation by employing flexible technologies that evolve with your needs
We would like to highlight the following announcements made this year:
- Micro Focus acquired Interset, a worldwide leader in security analytics software that provides highly intelligent and accurate cyber-threat protection
- We announced strategic direction: Digital Transformation and the four focus areas (DevOps, Hybrid IT Management, Risk, Security & Governance and Predictive Analytics)
- We launched a new partner portal to streamline pipeline development, boost opportunities to achieve predictable revenue and help close business for partners
8. India is making progress with its major emphasis on building Smart Cities. How is Micro Focus contributing to this mammoth initiative?
The rising innovation in technology and advancement in analytics has the potential of helping citizens live a smart and well-organized urban life. Living in a smart city means leveraging services which are productive and efficient thereby helping citizens cooperate with the local government bodies in a seamless manner. As a country, we have reached a stage where the existing technology tools are getting upgraded and innovated to create impactful surveillance, efficient movement of traffic and protecting our every day. The 100 smart city mission by the Government adheres to this idea itself – the goal is to accommodate the growing urban population and provide a smart way of life to the citizens with the aid of major infrastructural changes.
Micro Focus is also committed to the government’s extraordinary initiatives like Digital India, Smart Cities etc. Few of the mission-critical applications from Government of India and Indian Railways leverage our solutions. Also, 70% of Indian cities nominated for the Smart City Projects use Micro Focus to ensure service availability, performance and security. Micro Focus’ take on digital transformation plays well with what requires making a complex environment in a smart city, infrastructure. Every region defines the smart agenda slightly differently and focuses their efforts on varying aspects, from Internet connectivity to transportation.
9. You hold a pivotal role in the company. Any anecdotes you would like to share about your journey?
It’s been an exciting and interesting journey in the last 19 years and has given me the opportunity to learn & grow professionally. I have had the opportunity to lead the spin-merge of HPE Software & Micro Focus in India as one of the largest pure-play software organizations focusing on building, selling & supporting Enterprise Software. One of my key learnings has been to put our customers at the core of all we do whether they are internal or external. I recollect an interesting meeting with the CIO of a large Indian financial services provider where I was pitching in on the breadth & depth of Micro Focus portfolio and that they were leveraging Micro Focus offering in the areas of Enterprise DevOps, Hybrid IT Management and Security, Risk & Governance as a proof point. The CIO chipped in & mentioned that they were also long-time COBOL customers of Micro Focus; reminding me that Micro Focus delivers innovation that bridges the old and new enabling customers like them to protect existing investments and exploit new innovation. I was humbled by the fact that one of our key differentiators was that we are easy to do business with and a reliable partner for long term.
10. Lastly, what key tech predictions do you prognosticate for the Indian Market in 2019
Constant change in technology has dramatically affected the delivery speed in most industries like IT, manufacturing, healthcare, etc. When you watch an industry closely, it becomes possible to identify trends and where things are likely headed. Here are some key tech predictions that could change the Indian Market in 2019:
- Steady incline of IT teams embracing a more pragmatic and considered approach to industrial-scale IT delivery
- Transitioning from running to growing the business
- IT leaders will look to smarter software and new ways of working to streamline IT delivery across already stretched resources
- The Rise of Haas and IaaS: In 2019, we will be able to recognize fundamental insecurity in our cloud strategy
- Organizations will see the GDPR as a business opportunity rather than a disruption
- A major transition in the field of DevSecOpz