Interview

Facilitating Intelligent Information Infrastructure : Manoj Chugh, President, EMC, India and SAARC

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Manoj Chugh is an industry veteran with over 25 years experience in the ICT    industry. He joined EMC in 2003 and is responsible for driving EMC’s revenue growth, partnership model and sales to enterprise and growing companies. In the past, Manoj has managed and led companies to leadership position across diverse businesses segments.

What is your role as President, (India and SAARC) of EMC?

I have a very simple role and my role is to help customers understand the value of information and once they understand the value of information; help them deploy an intelligent information infrastructure which can help them to store their information intelligently, protect information as such and, make sure they are able to optimize and leverage the information infrastructure that they have created and get the maximum value out of the information assets. So here you can see my role as an evangelist, a friend, a consultant, vendor etc. to supply deploy, implement and execute requirements of a customer and meet the needs of the market.

What are priorities and focus areas of EMC?

Our first priority is to leverage the information assets better. If you look at the government, it has a huge wealth of information. It needs to be structured and put in a work flow. Today we are hearing about the right to information. People may not be able to make use of the information within the stipulated time, under Right to Information (RTI) Act, if not made accessible. So we have to deploy the information infrastructure, you need to digitize the content, put that it in a work flow and repository. It enhancesone’s ability to access information and ability to provide information much more easily. What I see in the year 2008 is growing acceptance of the need to deploy intelligent information infrastructure.

Secondly, I feel is that the amount of unstructured content is growing tremendously. There is  a lot of such important content that needs to be leveraged. It needs to be digitized and put in the repository. This helps one to keep a distinct identity in terms of accountability of their  work. Hence, organizations should pay attention to digitize the unstructured information and put them in a work fl ow.

The third priority is security. A talk about security is more related to the antivirus, software  and fi rewall prevention solutions. How one is going to protect the information, for instance if an e-Mail is sent from a very secure environment to a recipient end which is also secure. But it may be that the recipient chose to send it to a third person, who was never intended to receive that e-Mail. Hence, I look at security/ securing information as the priority for the year 2008.

The fourth area, in which we are hearing from people for a long time, is the growing interest in optimizing the infrastructure. Here, I have to see whether I can get the same output by reducing the physical number of servers and virtualising the server environment. What it  serves to do is to consolidate the information instead of scattering fi fty or hundred or two hundred servers. Therefore optimizing IT infrastructure is going to be a focus area.

The fi fth priority that I see in the market for the year 2008 is to realize the need for building an intelligent information infrastructure. Earlier days, a generalist would be sorting out the problems. But as the environment is growing complex, a specialist is required to attend the problem. I am looking at a situation where people look at information, start thinking about information infrastructure and start look for expertise and seek for more specialist and professional guidance. So specialization is also in the top priority list.

How do you see the global information storage and
management trend? What are the major drivers for growth in data storage market? What is the size of Indian market in this vertical?

If one looks at the storage, the key trend with people is that they like to store intelligently,  perhaps in specialized devices. Depending on the kind of information one has, the choice of specialized devices also varies. For example, the business of the call centers relies on its ability  to store and replay those calls whether it is for the purpose of complaints or whether it is done  under the mandatory requirement. Regulations are also coming around relating to different  vertical segments, so that one can fi nd the Bank of India as a regulator in stringent top.  Similarly in health care sector and fi nancial sector, a lot of regulations is there. If one takes  the voice call, they are fundamentally unstructured and they need to be archived. So within  that structure, you have to look for a more resilient structure where business continuity is  there, with more and more storing capacity, without content getting tampered and also with the features of disaster recovery facilities etc. Information is growing faster at the rate of 60 %, all around the world. Hence, storage- management- security, all three go hand in hand.

Fundamentally, the growth of information and information applications (for eg. e-mails) and  their management are important drivers. Digitization of content across the vertical sectors is  yet another key driver. In addition, there are regulations and compliance issues. Competition  in the market comes as another important driver to offer qualitative service to the customers.  These are the major drivers for growth in the data storage market. In India, if one  looks at storage, we have 60-65% of growth. We are heading at par with the global market and we are clearly in the right direction.

How is EMC set to optimise the information storage and management market in India? What are your competitive advantages as compared to other market players   in this fi eld?

EMC is in a best position to leverage and capitalize this opportunity. I can say this confi dently  because, a few years back we went to the market and started speaking about the ‘I’ of IT, the  importance of information and the need to have a separate storage infrastructure from  servers. EMC has ventured into the market to convince governments, organizations and enterprises to partner with a vendor that can store information independent of the server.  This is different from what regular server vendors offer. Here we are able to convince that  servers may change, processors may change, but information has to remain immortal.

The four building blocks that read the requirement of the market are (I) storing, (ii) protecting (iii) optimizing and (iv) leveraging those components for competitive advantage, as compared to the other market players in this fi eld.

According to you, what is the level of progress made by India in the past fi ve years in carrying forward e- Government initiatives? How would you rate e-Governance in India, compared to other SAARC countries?

India has certainly done well. In fact, it is has become the hot IT destination. Therefore,  expectations vested on India are also very high. We have created tremendous impact world wide in the fi eld that comes with best practices. The practices can be shared. Other countries  in the region like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also faring well. But, we just can not make  comparison, as our size, complexities, challenges and issues are different and distinct from each other.

What are the present challenges that India is facing
against fast-forwarding e-Government implementation?

The challenge is the ability to execute quickly. We have a good, solid, well defi ned road map.  There are some good initial steps and good pilots. Efforts should be taken to streamline these  pilots and execute them quickly. If Indian Cabinet approves of establishing data centers in the  year 2008, I urge to see policy makers to pass the legislation to work on digitization of the  content. We have RTI in this context. Information, if not digitized earliest, it is not possible to  leverage (current content / archived content). For instance, if we want to check past records,  availability of it online is advantageous. Of course it may come with a little bit of fee and it is  absolutely fi ne compared to facing many hurdles and related discomfi tures.

What is your message to the policymakers for IT usage in
the government?

We need to execute quickly. We have set the right steps. We have ample number of successes,  whether it is Mission Mode Projects or State Wide Area Network. But true benefi t will reach  citizens only if the required information reaches them at the click of the button. I hope we achieve this soon.

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