He has been focusing on providing specialised cloud services focused on end-user experience management in enterprise environments aimed at helping enterprises move to new-generation end-user computing (EUC) environments. In an interaction with Dataquest, Ananda Mukerji, founder, and chairman, Anunta shares his views on the impact of COVID-19, the emergence of desktop-as-a-service, and the company’s growth plan. Excerpts:
Ananda Mukerji: Anunta is a leading cloud-based end-user computing solutions provider focused on managed desktops and digital workspace solutions. We help enterprises all over the world in their workplace transformation journeys by moving their existing workloads from traditional desktop environments to the cloud, thereby allowing their employees to access enterprise applications and data from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
Anunta started its operations in 2012 evangelising desktop virtualisation technologies, which at that time were relatively unfamiliar to most in the industry. The founding team originally came out from Firstsource Solutions, a global BPO company and one of the very early adopters of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology in the world. The success of this deployment and the clear benefits, both technical and business, encouraged us to take the managed VDI offerings to the market and help other organisations facing IT infrastructure management and user performance challenges. Over the years, we saw more and more enterprises move away from traditional PC-based EUC environments to cloud-based virtual environments, initially on private clouds and now increasingly on public clouds. Anunta has been a key player in this journey, successfully migrating close to 600,000+ remote desktops in enterprises across many industries including banking and financial services, manufacturing, travel, media, aviation, and IT.
DQ: How have the Indian companies faced and dealt with accelerated demand for digital technologies, especially in the ‘new normal’ following the pandemic?
Ananda Mukerji: In the past few years, digital transformation has gained much prominence with the adoption of cloud-based technologies by organisations of all sizes and forms. The ongoing pandemic has just accelerated this adoption of digital technologies. However, the focus has been shifting to using these technologies to ensure employee safety while at the same time keeping business operational. To achieve this, most organisations had no choice but to create a hybrid work environment that allows a few essentials services to be operating from office premises while many of their employees work from home. This created challenges for IT and business heads of balancing the need for seamless accessibility to data, enterprise applications availability, and smooth communication and collaboration with the necessity of maintaining stringent data security and regulatory compliance. Organisations had to prioritise their spending on technology that assists in business continuity, remote working, and workforce collaboration, and make the right technology choices.
As an industry-recognized managed desktop and digital workspace solutions provider, Anunta has helped many businesses with remote working solutions that are secure, scalable, and flexible. Some of the questions that IT leaders needed to ask in choosing the right remote working solution are: Does the solution ensure workforce productivity? Does it provide the users with the same experience when accessing business applications in a work-from-home environment as from the office environment? The answer to these questions in many cases lies in the adoption of cloud-hosted desktops.
DQ: With workspaces shifting online, what is the role of desktop-as-a-service in it?
Ananda Mukerji: We have seen a significant change in the way we work and live in the past few months and some of these changes will continue beyond this pandemic. We have seen announcements from several major companies in India and abroad that they will allow, and even encourage, certain categories of employees to continue working from home permanently. As the workforce becomes distributed across time zones, locations, and devices, providing them secure access to their data and applications with the similar experience, as in an enterprise environment, becomes critical.
Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is a long-term solution that can help meet the demands of remote working. It involves hosting your desktops on a cloud using VDI technology, which can be securely accessed by users from any remote location without requiring very high bandwidth. In the past few months, we have assisted many organisations across industry verticals to move their work to the cloud while delivering high-quality performance and improved business productivity.
With the increase in demand for cloud technology in 2020, accelerated 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.
DQ: How do you see DaaS emerging, globally vis-a-vis India?
Ananda Mukerji: According to MarketsandMarkets, due to the impact of the pandemic the global cloud market is expected to grow from USD 233 billion in 2019 to USD 295billion by 2021 at a 12.5% CAGR. IDC estimates that 64% organisations in India are expected to increase the demand for cloud computing while 56% for cloud software to support the new normal. This increase in cloud adoption includes cloud-based technologies like DaaS. It offers a reliable and cost-effective option for enterprises to provide their remote workers with secure technology for collaboration and communication.
DQ: What are the verticals that will play critical roles in increasing the DaaS market in India?
Ananda Mukerji: India is among the top markets globally for VDI technology adoption and from our experience, we have been seeing an increasing rate of adoption in many industries including banking and financial services, IT/IT-enabled services/BPOs, manufacturing, professional services, and retail to name a few.
DQ: What are the company’s growth plans?
Ananda Mukerji: Anunta’s business focus has historically been on the large enterprise market. We are now looking to expand into the SMB market where companies struggle with the same challenges in managing IT infrastructure but have some unique requirements. A couple of months ago, we soft-launched an Anunta branded cloud desktop (DesktopReady) in the US market targeted at small and mid-size businesses and are at present testing this product in India. DesktopReady is a packaged, fully managed Windows desktop hosted on the Azure cloud. It takes away many of the complexities involved in migrating to the cloud and is suitable for the customer who does not have the necessary IT skills in-house to set up and manage a virtual work environment. The ‘DesktopReady’ desktops can be purchased online through the portal and can be set up in minutes.
We are seeing organisations across industry verticals now adopting cloud-based desktops. The challenge for them lies in migrating their traditional environment to the cloud and implementing and managing these cloud solutions. Our proposition to enterprises is a fully managed desktop solution that requires zero IT intervention in designing, implementing, and managing it. From the cost perspective, DesktopReady is available on a pay-per-use model and customers to need to pay only for what they consume. This makes it very attractive for enterprises that want to use their capital efficiently. As a result of this, VDI/DaaS suddenly has moved from being a niche or specialized technology to a mainstream technology that helps in workplace transformation in India.
By Anusha Ashwin