We believe Cloud Transformation is not just a technology transformation but a complete business transformation

Nirlap Vora

When it comes to execution we engage our Business Advisory and Value Engineering teams to chart a roadmap which brings out tangible outcomes at evert milestone. We bring on board our cloud certified partners to expedite migration. We also run Adoption Programs to enable business users engage better with changes in technology. And with our own SAS Cloud, we offer Single and Complete Ownership and Guaranteed SLA’s for management and day-to-day operations of our customer’s business. To understand how SAS believes in partnering with its customers to drive the transition Nidhi Shail Kujur of Elets News Network (ENN) interacted with Nirlap Vora, Director, Customer Success – SAS India, ASEAN & South Korea.

1) What are the key areas of the BFSI industry that will benefit from cloud integration?

Over the last few years, we are seeing an uptick in the digital transformation amongst banks, financial services and insurance and a key component to this is the cloud compute. Some of the improvements that cloud integration and adoption bring to the Indian BFSI industry include Data security, Application security (website / apps), Data portability and Product interoperability, which were a constant challenge in the on-premise environments. Technologies like serverless and Kubernetes allows BFSI sector to move their workloads to cloud without any hesitations around vendor lock-in. It also amounts to CAPEX cost reduction by utilizing on-demand patterns in cloud. Moreover, the Hybrid cloud adoption is being increasingly seen as the go-to methodology in Indian BFSI sector. The “One-Size-Fits-All” methodology is not relevant anymore due to the elastic nature of the cloud.

While Cloud integration brings in improvements, once adopted completely it also brings in some visible benefits to the Indian BFSI sector:

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·       In terms of lending and the consortium at the brink of reality, blockchain will become the face of lending between multiple finance entities

·       Increasing level of Hyper personalization will involve data accumulations from multiple platforms like – apps, websites, clickstreams as well as identifying householdings from multiple channels

·       Data accommodations from the widely used UPI platforms can now identify spending patterns amongst multiple payment patterns for BFSI subsidiaries

·       Better understand customer experience, make intelligent automated decisions, and embrace the wider fintech ecosystem

2) Do we have enough talent and expertise in India to support the cloud environment?

We do have good talent to support the Cloud environment in India but there are various factors which impact the cloud expertise. One would be the vast talent pool in India that can cater to the cloud environment in terms of devops processes, cloud administration, cloud migration and other architecture areas. Second, extreme technical nature of some of the resources to address the business challenge and thirdly the sanity in transfer of information/ knowledge on the actual business requirement to the cloud architect while functioning in a typical hierarchy in any cloud driven organization which would include a product owner, a scrum master, a cloud architect, a devops architect and a business analyst.

Another area that I think is of utmost importance is training and education which are areas of investment for the industry. As a leader in analytics, beyond launching relevant SaaS products, SAS has invested in building an ecosystem of trained cloud architects and consultants as well as rolled out trainings and education courses to support the growth of the industry.

3) With Analytics, AI, and Cloud Adoption as the primary solution areas, how is SAS capitalizing on the tremendous momentum in these areas?

SAS has been in India for over 20 years delivering value to our customers across the Financial Industry. We believe Cloud Transformation is not just a Technology transformation but a complete Business transformation. And we understand that the economic value of cloud migration is only realized basis a coordinated and collaborative approach jointly executed with our customers. We are driving this basis the following

1) Platform: Fully cloud native, containerized, Unified Platform for Data, Analytics, Reporting, Decisioning, and Business Solutions.

2) Services: Full suite of services from Business Advisory, Technical Advisory, Project Implementation, and Application Support

3) Hosting: SAS offers a fully secure, local cloud hosted, fully managed services across Infra, Network, Database, and Application with assured 99% SLA.

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When it comes to execution, at SAS, we believe in partnering with our customers to drive the transition. We engage our Business Advisory and Value Engineering teams to chart a roadmap which brings out tangible outcomes at evert milestone. We bring on board our cloud certified partners to expedite migration. We also run Adoption Programs to enable business users engage better with changes in technology. And with our own SAS Cloud, we offer Single and Complete Ownership and Guaranteed SLA’s for management and day-to-day operations of our customer’s business.

4)     Briefly tell us about your channel program

SAS continues to see double-digit growth in partner related revenue, and partner satisfaction in the Partner Program which has risen each of the last four years. Our partners bring our software to life, creating innovative new applications to solve business problems, guiding our customers through deployment, and helping them get the most out of SAS for all their analytics needs. SAS partner program is critical for organizational success & the program provides partners with tools and resources needed to consistently be successful and create value for SAS and everyone involved & differentiate in the market uniquely.

SAS partner program provides partners with support across the lifecycle of partner engagement which involves partner recruit, onboard, enable, engage & govern. SAS partner program is uniquely designed to cater to a variety of partner profiles as stated below:

  • Alliance partners: SAS Alliances include relationships with key industry, solution, and specialized implementation partners to develop, market, sell and deliver comprehensive analytics solutions
  • Service Providers: Service providers program provides partners capability to combine their own intellectual property with SAS software in a hosted cloud environment.
  • Ecosystem Partners: Ecosystem partners work with SAS by providing complementary value to the SAS portfolio and greater flexibility in responding to rapidly changing market demands
  • Technology Partners: Technology partners work with SAS to ensure both companies’ solutions are optimized for interoperability in customer environments
  • Resellers: Resellers help SAS to provides greater market coverage & access to untapped market.

5)     What are your growth plans for 2022 and beyond?

SAS is making investments in Multi-cloud, Inter-cloud, and SAS in App Marketplaces. We are not only creating analytics that can be used across any cloud platform, but analytics that can help customers reduce their cost of cloud by automatically optimizing where models are trained and where decisions are made through intelligence that’s pointed at the compute itself.

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Along with Multi-Cloud, we’re investing in Inter-cloud, which is work that allows you to seamlessly move data from one provider to another. SAS in App Marketplaces is related to our efforts of making analytics available everywhere. We want to make it simple for developers to use analytics within the products they are developing to create an ongoing competitive advantage.

We are investing in further advancement of automated and augmented decisions, along with adaptive decisioning. In terms of future investment, we want to be language-agnostic – so it doesn’t matter what technology you’re using to create analytics or which part of your ecosystem you want to incorporate analytics, we’re working toward SAS being able to do that for you. In fact, we’re working to take “language-agnostic” a step further, meaning if someone in Python interacts with SAS API, we want it to feel natural to them – if they are in Python, we want it to feel like Python, if they are in R, we want it to feel like R, and so on. We want SAS to be ubiquitous and natural regardless of the technology you’re using to develop or deploy analytics.

Our long-term investments are all in pursuit of creating a more diverse and inclusive future for the field of analytics. Analytics will continue to be a lucrative, domain-agnostic field that powers decisions. We want our work to broaden participation in the field and ensure that the people benefiting from analytics-driven decisions are also involved in building and creating the technology that powers those decisions. We know everyone needs to be at the “analytics table” for it to reach its maximum potential. In addition to all the strong work we’re doing today, we’re setting rigorous goals for our future selves and continuing to invest in sustainability, innovation, education, data ethics and our Data4Good programs.

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