Is PaaS hard to sell in India?

[This article is in continuation to our coverage on Cloud Computing startups in India]

The buzzword, Cloud computing has been prevailing for a long time globally. However, it has caught up in India over the last year (2009) and despite its obvious advantages, we even now only hear of big companies using cloud-based services. Smaller firms and individuals remain either un-aware or oblivious to such a concept, which can cut down on operation costs phenomenally and help monitor businesses on the move.

Wolf Frameworks, an Indian startup is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) provider based out of Bangalore. Founded in 2006, they offer not just affordable, but free hosting for data. They do not charge firms for up to two users, providing automated processing and storage at a centralized location.

The mindset of the Indians is still evolving in this space.

Hema spoke to Sunny Ghosh, founder and CEO of Wolf Frameworks –  asking him about these precise issues.

How is cloud computing and PaaS as such looked upon by people in India?

Sunny: Indian customers must explore and exploit Cloud Computing to achieve quantum performance at the earliest – this is not happening today. However, the projections for adoption and growth of SaaS, PaaS and Cloud Computing in India are very high. The revised report from Springboard Research puts India as one of the leading markets for OnDemand solutions, next to Australia. Like every other region, the low cost and easy-to-deal factor is a big appeal for majority of early stage customers buying into the cloud in India.

Personally, I believe India is yet to wake up to its complete potential and harness Cloud Computing technologies and services to its best advantage. This could be the big turning point for Indian services & product industry, both from the Enterprise as well as Governments / SMB sectors for higher efficiency & continuous innovation.

Some of the key issues leading to this could be, limited penetration of broadband, lack of India based success stories, and data/security related reasons.

Platform vs. Solution – Is selling Platform difficult ? (esp. in India)? How are companies managing? For ex: Wolf
Sunny: Yes, it’s difficult.  Customers don’t buy technology, partners do. For customers we bundle our technology with partner driven managed services & training – which makes it a very lucrative offering for them.

In India, we sell to:

  • SMB’s who are inhibited by limitations of spreadsheets or lack of affordable custom business solutions &
  • Enterprises who constantly need situational & LOB (line of business) applications around their core systems
  • ISV’s and run along with the Creator Community in the market.

Besides, we are like what Airbus or Boeing is to Jet Airways or Kingfisher: Hidden, white labeled and powering their business. Customers touch and feel King Club services and don’t realize they are flying a WOLF based Software-as-a-Service solution. To me it does not matter whether we sell a PaaS or a SaaS, as long we meet similar people with similar needs and we are able to make our customers successful.

In that case, what are some thoughts you have to contribute to the mindset-change and increased adoption?
Sunny: Success stories, spread thru a word of mouth and financial rewards are great enablers of increased adoption. It also helps in integration, channel influence and partnerships. The Cloud Computing ecosystem is emerging and we are learning & aligning with different partners to increase adoption and change the perception.

Pricing – how are companies pricing their platform? How is Wolf doing it? (Assuming ISVs are building products, what sort of rev share deal happens in this area?)

Sunny: Wolf offers one of the most competitive pricing in the PaaS marketplace which allows mass consumer centric apps to specialized IP rich applications to get developed & delivered using our platform.

With the advent of Cloud Computing, we have officially entered the phase of dynamic pricing – which is something we practice too. If you have decided to use us, we co-create pricing together and work backwards to make your business successful.

Bringing ISVs onboard – what’s in for an ISV to build product on a startups’ platform?

Sunny: Control and flexibility are two sides of the same coin and so are risk and opportunity.

ISV’s evaluate us based on their needs and demand better control. Other than superior technology, we have factored a few key elements for Risk Mitigation within our offering itself. We don’t use any proprietary programming language and have minimized the lock-in. Along with all these; strong technical, business and social factors such as relationships and our organizational culture make that extra difference.

Have you heard of a PaaS or Cloud Vendor who allows you to extract an entire database with a single click in your private server or take a portable application design extraction in XML?

What are Wolf’s plans to increase awareness of your solutions into Indian clients and customers?

Sunny: Simple offerings with good pricing speak for itself.

Besides, we are working our way with customers and partners. Cross selling , up-selling,  precipitating and developing relationships are some key steps we are working towards. We are the only India based PaaS provider which has delivered solutions for Enterprises, SMB’s and BOP markets.

[Screen shots of a few SaaS solutions running on Wolf PaaS]:

SaaS Startups


Wolf Landing Window

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