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Any New Innovation That People Think About Is Always On The Cloud: Irina Ghose



Microsoft reported cloud revenue at $23.4 billion for the March quarter, up 32% year-on-year. A large part of it is due to the rapid digital transformation in countries such as India. Irina Ghose, who has been elevated as Microsoft India’s chief operating officer (COO), shared her views in her first interview as COO, on how enterprises in India are moving from cloud adoption to innovation and the company’s increasing focus on mixed reality, automation and more. Edited excerpts:

After two years of rapid growth, is India still on the cloud adoption journey? What is the industry looking at now?

The question of whether or not (to use) cloud is no longer there. There could be certain industries, which might take the decision to move to cloud a little later, because of certain needs. Or certain parts of that industry, based on the requirement, may might take a hybrid approach. But not going for cloud is definitely not something people are talking about. Any net new innovation that people are thinking about is (on) the cloud, or an edge-and-cloud kind of a thing.

The last 2-5 years were about getting people onto the cloud. How is Microsoft moving beyond adoption of cloud?

There are a few mega trends that we are seeing. The first step for most organizations has been moving a big chunk of their first infrastructure workload. The second is the signals, and how they are connecting the signals coming from either different applications or consumers whom they are serving—like what’s happening when you’re combining the power of customers bringing signals via say super apps, or ensuring that the data on the back-end is telling you a story. That’s something that we’re seeing in a big way.

The next part is automation on the cloud, which is also happening in an intimate manner, in terms of taking away a lot of the manual processes which were earlier in vogue. People are also extending applications. For instance, if you had an application that was doing a customer relationship management or anything else to serve customers, you have a new generation of gig workers who are coming by, and how do you ensure that you’re extending applications to that class of players. That’s another mega trend. The third is security. Right from end-point to what you do in an application, confidential computing. The last one is the entire realm of mixed reality. There’s work that we’re doing with Apollo Hospitals in terms of how they’re thinking about doing proactive healthcare management of customers, along with HoloLens. Customers are curious, even in banking, retail and education. So, innovation on top of cloud for use-cases and some of these mega trends are what we’re thinking about.

How are companies looking to explore, if not implement, virtual reality or metaverse technologies?

There’s a lot that’s happening for everybody. There are use-cases that they’re exploring, if that can be done using mixed reality kind of scenarios. We’ve got a few scenarios in healthcare, like Apollo, where you’re thinking about remote ways of looking at patients, or proactive healthcare management.

Or when you are thinking about onboarding new employees, which can be a big scenario. Remote assist for factory production, in retail for driving immersive customer experiences or giving them an end-to-end view about what can be available in the stores, those are some of the perspectives. Across all industries there’s a lot of curiosity.

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