To the cloud and beyond: Leading change with innovation


'Mavericks' are visionary; they are trendsetters; they are rule-breakers. They are rebels; they are innovators, thinkers, doers, and go-getters

Forbes India and AWS have joined hands to bring you the stories of inspirational leaders and trade secrets of the new-age, Digital Native Businesses. The year-long campaign will highlight insightful conversations with digital native leaders where they will shed light on their revamped business models, technology prowess, and vision for the future.



The first chapter of 'The Mavericks—Founder Conversations' brought two leading digital innovators to the table. The panel consisted of Ramki Gaddipati, Co-Founder & CTO of leading fintech startup Zeta, and Sachin Chawla, Country Manager & Head-DNB of India and South Asia at Amazon Web Services (AWS). In conversation with moderator Brian Carvalho, Editor, Forbes India, the two 'Mavericks' offered insights on cloud services, the future of DNBs in India, and the impact of the pandemic on businesses.

On How Cloud Computing Is Transforming Traditional Businesses

Zeta, which recently entered India's unicorn club by raising $250 million from SoftBank's Vision Fund 2, has similarly disrupted the traditional banking sector with its range of cloud-based core banking services. "Unlike most fintech, we see, whose primary objective is to sell financial products...Zeta is in the business of revamping core banking tech...to help banks move out of that Lexi technology and become cloud-native DNBs themselves," said Gaddipati.

Commenting on the immense popularity of cloud computing, Chawla detailed the role of AWS in providing on-demand cloud services to MSMEs and large-scale enterprises alike. Speaking about the range of offerings from AWS, such as machine learning, purpose-built databases, storage services, analytics, and others, he explained how businesses are scaling up and making decisions faster than ever before.

The Mavericks highlighted the flexibility that cloud-native businesses offer over traditional technology. Chawla believes that the key to surviving in today's competitive digital market is to innovate, and innovation involves experimentation while running the risk of failure. Cloud computing facilitates innovation and experimentation by businesses while minimizing their cost of loss, which is a game-changer for DNBs leveraging emerging technologies for enhanced business agility.

Cloud Computing in Everyday Transactions: Cost and Benefit
One of the major themes discussed by the Mavericks was the permeability of cloud computing in everyday lives. From ordering food to booking a cab, the ordinary man is using cloud services every day. Running on a microservice database architecture model, these DNBs apps can deploy, scale and modify their services at lightning speed.

As a pioneer in the fintech sector in India, Gaddipati explained how cloud tech is playing a significant role in transforming the digital transaction space and traditional spaces like lending and banking services. These services gradually shift to the cloud for scalability and improved security and regulatory compliance, which has revolutionized the standard order of business for financial institutions. In addition, the cloud allows companies to reduce their opportunity costs for experimentation, said Gaddipati.

This year, AWS launched the Amazon Suite for small businesses, which offers low-cost software solutions to help digitize the operations of MSMEs. This opportunity to move their business onto a digital platform has revolutionized everyday operations for MSMEs and has helped them cut costs while allowing for enhanced scalability. In addition, Chawla pointed out that the capital cost that would have ideally been invested in setting up heavy infrastructure for SaaS, is being channelled into business innovations in other avenues.

Learnings From The Pandemic  
On the impact of the pandemic on businesses, the Mavericks noted that DNBs fared much better than businesses running on traditional tech. Amid a pandemic, the convenience of scaling down, keeping only those services that you need, helped several DNB enterprises survive the pandemic. So while a DNB like Zoom had to scale up from 10 million users a week to 300 million, there were cloud-based hospitality businesses that could promptly scale down and minimize their operational costs.

The Mavericks discussed how COVID-19 had exacerbated the need for businesses to be more agile, which has pushed enterprises to seek out cloud services. Now the challenge that remains for them is not a tech challenge but more on their business organization and how well they can internally adapt to the cloud.

To The Cloud… But What's Beyond?
The Mavericks predicted an astronomical growth for sectors like OTT, Gaming, and fintech in the coming future. Ramki Gaddipati aims to continue revolutionizing banking services with Zeta's cloud offerings. At the same time, Sachin Chawla advised businesses not to waste time discussing the cost economics of moving to the cloud but instead focusing on all the benefits of being on the cloud.

Stay tuned for the next episode of 'The Mavericks' series for more insider insights on the tech industry from people at the forefront of the change.