Amid this pandemic, every organisation’s immediate focus has been to enable a secure work from home (WFH) environment for employees. DaaS — Desktop as a Service has turned out to be the key to executing a workplace transformation to secure and support its workforce’s need for communication and collaboration. In computing, DaaS is a virtual desktop infrastructure designed on the public cloud with an end-to-end service wrapper, allowing organisations to provide their workforce with a virtual computing environment across devices and locations on demand.
However, such a transformation of enabling WFH comes with key concerns, i.e. ensuring data security, seamless access to data and enterprise applications, and communication and collaboration tools. In such cases, DaaS is a simple, cost-effective, and secure way to adopt remote working that is easy to deploy and can be scaled on-demand. According to a recent report, Gartner forecasted DaaS to be the fastest-growing part of the wider public cloud market this year and expects it to significantly grow to a $2.5 billion market in 2022.
To better understand the cloud and desktop virtualisation market and its challenges, we got in touch with Ananda Mukerji, the Chairman and Founder of Anunta. While speaking about the importance of DaaS in the current era, he mentioned how it plays a strong role in benefitting SMBs at large.
“I would like to mention here that there is a perception that DaaS can only work for large organisations that have skilled IT teams. But that is a misconception, and in fact, many DaaS products are tailored for organisations big and small,” said Mukerji.
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AIM: How has the cloud and desktop virtualisation market in India matured compared to global markets this year?
Ananda: The demand for cloud technology has been growing for several years now, but the pandemic was an inflexion point where adopting cloud moved from good-to-have to absolute necessity. According to Gartner, DaaS is expected to grow globally by 95% in 2020. As most organisations adopt remote working, DaaS is emerging as a long-term solution for organisations to allow their workforce to work from anywhere securely. India is among the leading DaaS markets, where we have seen an increase in the rate of adoption for desktop virtualisation led by banking and insurance, ITeS and retail sectors.
For CIOs and IT heads both in India and globally, the focus in 2021 will be on business continuity, remote working, and workforce collaboration technologies. The VDI market is expected to further expand, and we foresee greater adoption of scalable remote desktop solutions to bring down CAPEX and achieve greater business efficiency. The focus would be on providing a highly flexible and agile work environment to users across locations and devices, further pushing the remote work culture trend.
AIM: What are the challenges with DaaS, and how can Anunta help organisations address these challenges?
Ananda: The key challenge for any organisation lies in migrating their traditional environment to cloud and implementing and managing these cloud solutions. As a specialised DaaS provider, our proposition to enterprises is a fully managed desktop solution that requires zero IT intervention in designing, implementing, and managing. From the cost perspective, we provide DaaS on a pay-per-use model, and customers need to pay only for what they consume. This makes it very attractive for enterprises and small businesses who want to use their capital efficiently. As a result of this, VDI/DaaS has suddenly moved from being a niche or specialised technology to mainstream technology.
AIM: What is the probability of small and medium businesses using DaaS? How are Anunta’s products and offerings helping the Indian market?
Ananda: It would be safe to say that one of the key drivers of Indian demand for cloud technology will be adoption by the SMB sector. According to the NASSCOM report, SMB’s will account for 28-30% of the Indian cloud market by 2025. The pandemic has increased cloud adoption by SMBs, as they seek asset-light solutions and business continuity. 63% of surveyed SMBs are already using cloud while best in class SMBs that adopted cloud have been able to drive a 25-30% productivity improvement and 15-20% reduction in operational costs. Driven by the pandemic, VDI/DaaS adoption has witnessed a near 100% increase in 2020, and this trend is expected to continue in 2021 as well.
We are a specialised IT company focusing on managed cloud desktops and digital workspaces. With more than a decade in the space, we have successfully deployed close to 500,000 remote desktops on various cloud platforms across complex use cases. Our clients include leading Indian companies across many industries, including BFSI, manufacturing, ITeS and aviation. We have close working relationships with leading cloud and technology providers like Microsoft, VMWare, Citrix, AWS and are recognised as an industry expert in VDI/DaaS design, implementation, and management.
AIM: Which verticals are playing a critical role in increasing the DaaS market in India?
Ananda: Over the years, the financial, banking and insurance sectors have been the early adopters of desktop virtualisation technologies. However, today companies across a wide swathe of industries have adopted and continue to adopt VDI technologies both on-premises and on the cloud. We continue to see many opportunities for growth of DaaS in the large enterprise sector and foresee a new wave of growth from India’s SMB segment. This is driven by their need to move to the latest technologies to stay competitive and the attraction of asset-light pay-as-you-go models.
AIM: What are Anunta’s India growth plans?
Ananda: Anunta’s focus has historically been on large enterprises, and that segment continues to show strong growth as their desktop transformation process has just started. We are also looking actively at the SMB market where businesses struggle with similar challenges as large enterprises, in managing IT infrastructure but may not have the required skills to deal with it.
We have recently soft-launched a DaaS offering (DesktopReady) in the US market targeted at small and mid-size businesses — a fully managed Windows 10 desktop hosted on Azure cloud. It takes away many complexities that are involved in migrating to the cloud. It is suitable for organisations that do not have the necessary IT skills to set up and manage a virtual work environment. Our product can be easily purchased online through our portal and can be set-up in minutes. We are testing the product in the Indian market as well.
As part of their digital workplace transformation strategies, we expect to see more organisations, adopting a workforce environment that allows a significant part of their employees and partners to work remotely. Our goal is to provide these companies with a comprehensive set of products and services that enables them to transform their end-user computing environment to a highly flexible, secure, and cost-effective one.