New Delhi: India’s beleaguered information technology (IT) industry has received a vote of confidence from Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. since 2014, and the man universally acknowledged to have turned around the $85.32 billion company.
In India for a series of meetings and conferences across Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai, Nadella said in an interview that he thinks India’s IT sector is well positioned with generous prospects for both the Flipkarts of this world as well as the systems integrators.
A day after Microsoft signed an agreement with Flipkart whereby the latter will use Microsoft Azure as its exclusive public cloud computing platform, Nadella is clearly a man in a hurry. On Tuesday, he discussed how Microsoft could work with the government for better opportunities in areas such as rural health and employment with minister for communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, a day after he shared a platform with Nandan Nilekani, former chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and co-founder of Infosys Ltd.
At the core of his meetings has been the company’s cloud platform, Nadella’s focus area and one in which the company posted 93% growth in the last quarter. The company is also set to add State Bank of India (SBI) to its customer list for its growing enterprise cloud services in the country.
Although Microsoft already has various Indian banks and financial services firms as its clients, adding the country’s largest bank to that list will be a huge fillip in its rivalry with Amazon, which hitherto has been the market leader for these services.
In addition, 18 years after it set up a development centre in India, Microsoft is now ready to roll out India-focused products incorporating local features and solutions. Among these is a Skype client with built-in authentication for Aadhaar.
The Microsoft boss is convinced that despite the current challenges they face at home and abroad, Indian IT companies are on the right side of history. In particular, he’s excited about the energy he sees in the start-ups he’s been interacting with. Their solutions will soon reach massive scale in India and once that is done globally as well.
The trend dovetails with Microsoft’s business goals centered around empowering “every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”. Under Nadella, the company has given out Windows 10 as a free upgrade, while investing in new features for its cloud services and buying LinkedIn at a steep price of $26 billion, in an effort to enhance its potential customer base. Key to realizing the worth of these investments will be monetizing the relationships that the CEO has been fostering over the last few days in his various interactions with small and large business in India.