Migration to Cloud Technologies | Sorabh Singhal | VP & Global Head, Digital Transformation Services
Welcome to another episode of The Brand Called You a vodcast and podcast show that brings you leadership lessons, knowledge, experience and wisdom from 1000s of successful individuals from around the world. I'm your host, Ashutosh Garg and today I'm delighted and privileged to welcome a very, very tall and accomplished leader from the world of information technology from USA. Mr. Sorabh Singhal. Sorabh, Welcome to the show. Thank you, Ashutosh I am appreciate to be here on the show. Thank you so much. Thank you. Sorabh is the Vice President and Global Head Digital Transformation Services, Wipro FullStride cloud services. And he was earlier with Tata consulting. So
Sorabh, before we start talking about the work that you're doing, tell me a little bit about your own journey? Well, thank you for asking that question. don't often get that opportunity, you know. So see, over the last 15 years, I have been in large IT services firms of that last six years with Wipro prior to that last nine years with TCS. And if I take my entire career in whole, or 10 years before it, 15 years of IT I was in the industry, including a startup business of my own back in the 1998, 1999, 2000 timeframe. So all in all, like, it's been an incredible journey, certainly certainly not in a conventional one, you know, because I started my career in manufacturing, doing rounds of all the functions and departments and, you know, so forth. From there, I moved to, you know, a
telecom sector and I worked there, you know, because there was a .com burst, and there was market was early days getting bad. So I got into Airtel, from there to consulting. So it's been an incredible journey. I just want to emphasize one last
thing, for the last six years that have joined Wipro forces, a great organization to be part of, but it has given me the opportunity to strengthen my both my subject matter and leadership acumen with the kinds of people and the kinds of teams I've been leading. Fascinating. So let's now move and talk a little bit about the business that you run. Can you please give me a brief overview
of your role as the Vice President and Global Head for digital transformation services? Of course, yes. So as the head of this unit, first of all, I'm privileged that I'm the head of this unit, I lead a team of over 2000, consultants, engineers, and architects. Wow. So all of that full spectrum. We support large enterprise clients in their digital transformation journeys. It's a very abused word in the industry, digital transformation. So let me just break it down. You know, we, the way I like to put it is our
services enable digital transformation for clients, through project to product operating model transformation through Agile transformation through their Devsec Ops, through enterprise and solution architecture, through cloud consulting, and through full stack engineering, that, that formulates my team. So I'll just to keep it brief, like let's leave it at that nothing to add to this. I can perhaps as we go forward. Okay, and what is the role of a consulting practice like yours? In a large IT services firm? I think many things can be said in response to this question. Let me point three things that come to my mind that are really relevant, creating client impact, staying relevant as the tip of the spear unit for digital and cloud transformation, because that's the thing everybody's focused on today. And helping in an engaging in shaping, winning and delivering large, impactful deals for my organization is the three things that I would say are most relevant and important for a practice like mine. And that goes to every single
individual in my team and myself included. And not like my role is just leadership but also have to do these things. Yeah, make sense. And when when you talk of market, you're
basically in our talking of all of North America or the US alone or beyond that. My charter is global. In all parts of the world, okay. Of course, we don't have physically people in all parts of the world but we service all countries pretty much where Wipro operates. North America, Europe are big markets for us. The rest of the world we call apnea. So Asha Pasifik, Middle East, you know, Japan, etc, included. So we have teams out there as well.
A large part of the team is also based out of India supporting global clients as well as an Xbox One. So that's wonderful. So my next question to Sorabh is, what was the driving force behind Wipro decision to establish full stride cloud services? And how does it differentiate itself? We honest feels like a bit above my paygrade question. But I'll tell you what is going on here. See, Wipro, of course, saw an opportunity to provide end to end cloud services to clients. A lot of clients have been migrating to the workloads, the applications and infrastructure to cloud. This presented an
opportunity. And this also required firms like ours to integrate capabilities that can be full stack, like, you're not saying, like, go to this department for info or that department for this. So it was a need of the hour is how clients were buying services is how we needed to organize ourselves.
With this integration, what we are now able to do is offer a comprehensive suite of services to our clients that concur that cover the entire spectrum of cloud journey. So strategy to planning, to migration to modernization of apps, to management of cloud workloads, to full stride services, one stop shop for businesses looking for such services. So we brought in a lot of like capabilities, IPS and accelerators, industry knowledge together. But Cloud is so pervasive now that, you know, we still have to work with other parts of, you know, the business that we are in we and that's, that's something we must anyways. So, you know, that's like the brief answer to this mean, of course, I can follow up, you know, talk a little bit more about it. So, so think about it. Like, you know, if we are working for a
CPG client or a banking client, we have a domain consulting business that focuses on that. As much as full stripe cloud is a service line for Wipro are also an ecosystem within Wipro and with our partners, with our suppliers, and so forth, so full Strout stride is a business or a business line for Wipro. But it is also an ecosystem that we work on. Because today, the businesses are becoming more complex yesterday, who are your customers today, they can be also your suppliers, they can also be your partners to cooperate the market. So in so it's basically from that angle, it is we brought in the capabilities that required to sit together to deliver services to the clients, and also manage it as an ecosystem of our suppliers of our partners of the forms we have invested in, we can jointly combine together and take take to market to solve for the client. That's how I see this
very interesting. My next question to you is that, you know, we've just started to come out or the pandemic, and the pandemic has impacted the cloud services quite significantly. My question is, how do you think the pandemic has influenced the adoption of cloud technologies around the world? I think the few things happened, and those are just from layer managed perspective, if I speak about those, no one can correlate to those things really well. You know, there was this, around the world, there was this like, quarantine like sort of scenario that was appearing, appearing. But work couldn't be stopped, particularly in industries where people could just stay home and work. So hard work and collaboration, of course, increased and that, first of all, the short answer to your question, is it pandemic actually influenced adoption of cloud in a great way. So it rated adoption of cloud, it's
sped it up, a lot of businesses who are thinking about it or going slow about it, the accelerated pace. Now comes the reasons as to why. So the reasons were remote, remote work and collaboration was required to pick up pace. And they needed to invest in technologies that allow that, whether it was investing in zoom, or it was investing in Microsoft ecosystem, or a Google ecosystem, whatever their base ecosystem was, it required them to move to cloud, the collaboration ecosystem, the workplace ecosystem, right. Second thing companies wanted is to be more scalable and cost effective. So if they had invested in big data centers, which they owned or a big, big, you know, setups that they own, they needed a quick way to scale up scale down, not accelerated their decisions without necessarily putting all that you thought that we let bring the cost down, accelerated the decision for cost reasons Correct. Third component of this
was digital transformation acceleration because a lot of businesses which were only brick and mortar now also wanted a online presence. They also wanted like, how they can change the Ways of Working because teams are becoming remote. I remember the days because I also have an agile background, that we used to always talk about co-locating agile teams. And, you
know, clients used to frown when or anyone used to frown when they heard, oh, you're talking about distributed teams and distributed team members, how is that possible? Everything became possible when the pandemic hit. So people had to forcibly do things and invent behaviors that were not previously not accepted. So digital transformation accelerated, of course, demand demand for online services accelerated this pandemic started to produce a lot of online data, which required further analytics and people behaviors and how things will change. Correct. That led to this and combining with all of this, you know, there was a posture change on security and compliance, because a lot of you know, security and compliance related issues started to emerge, and also required solutions to be built on the clouds, you know, which are secure, which are, you know, adhering to certain industry standards and whatnot. So all in all, of course, the natural answer I gave, as I started, you know, it accelerated it moved up the pace. And now we our other side of the sort of pandemic,
God help. We are now seeing that organizations are starting to think what now how do they benefit from this acceleration. So I just want to pause there and see if this makes sense to, you know, it makes a lot of sense makes a lot of sense. You know, I know how much we have all moved to the cloud. Of course, one of the big, big challenges of the cloud is that you need a very robust bandwidth available to be able to access.
But my next question to you is, what are some of the challenges companies face when migrating to the cloud? And how can an organization really take a decision? On which cloud to select? So let's just take this question in two parts, you know, one is like decision on which cloud to select the other is, what challenges so challenges abound and challenges are being discovered even now. Like topical areas, such as data security and privacy, if highly, like, compliance driven organization, then you have to be still think about, like, what kind of GDPR or CCPA or compliance is etc, you know, depending on the industry you are in, plays a role in how do you deal with that challenge? migration process also is a time consuming process to decide to you modernize and move or you move and modernize? Or do you do some kind of hybrid on that, you know, what, how does it impact your business, you know, while you're moving applications to cloud. So it's another challenge that organizations have to deal with. Of course, there is legacy
technology that is not fully compatible. So application complexity, compatibility to cloud etc, plays a big role. And so a lot of organizations we hear, say, we are more ready, but sent to cloud 20% will be their core that hasn't moved, because it's legacy and its core, and it's not yet. We are seeing a lot of like modernization behavior appearing because of that, and it's not any more a question of, despite the challenges, if they should move to cloud, every organization I am hearing is saying When do they move to? Then decisions have also been taken? Because a pandemic? Now they are like, how much more can we could we be there? The other reasons? Of course, challenges are should we lock in with one vendor or multi vendor or hybrid or some things like that, that those decisions are being taken? The skill gap continues to be a challenge for organizations? How do they train uplift rescale their staff to beyond that? I think performance and latency are some challenges in high speed and you know, where it's less of a challenge, but it is. So those are some considerations that come to my mind that, you know, organizations will matured up, we've already moved for them. The challenges are, what is post migration? Cost Management? Is the cost really coming down? You know, how do they now benefit for business transformation now that they have the workloads on the cloud, are things that are depending on where the organization is in the cloud journey, because every organization, small to big is? It depends on that's what determines, you know, what they're, in my opinion, of course, and, of course, of course, because those are some of the challenges.
And the second part how does an organization say, you know, startup startup, an entrepreneur or a midsize company? How do they determine which cloud to go because there are so many of them? I think, whichever. So if you today ask a question of a IT consulting firm and you perform has no experience doing it. Unfortunately, I work with mostly enterprise clients. So I
experienced directly with mid level companies is a bit less, but I'll try to steal the last thing, in my opinion, you know, first of all, survey the market and ask people to understand your environment and present to you what are my options? Right, like, and here are everyone, right? Like all consulting firms, call cloud provider representatives and ask them, right, then see which so you have to base it based on a few things. business objectives is cost optimization, scalability, improved performance, flexibility, agility, what is your business into because of which you need to do this as what kind of services you want to move to cloud. So if you're a retail business, then it makes sense for you to be on the cloud, because you have greater reach, you have peak periods, you have periods of lull. So it makes perfect sense for you to be, you could choose, you should choose the vendor that is most compatible with your already invested technology. Right?
Because you know, that way, you will not have to invest too much into changing the skill levels, right? During the entire like infrastructure base. So compatibility becomes a big issue, right? You should also look at some of the like, pay per use type costs, depending on how many bundled services you are getting wider, within a certain price point should become a factor. So for example, getting a workplace suite with your cloud usage, versus somebody charging you separately, you got to think about those things. So those are
the factors. Yeah, yeah. I just say one last thing, when the technology and service serverless kind of headless kind of architecture of applications, migrating from one provider to another provider is not that difficult. I mean, of course, it's work. But it's not that difficult. You can with the technology that is emerging today. You don't necessarily have to feel locked in. But you have to make a decision which provider forward with for which area of work? Of course, very large enterprises have a hybrid setup. Correct. They
continue to operate in that based on where their businesses. will said, great response. Thank you. I think the points that you gave up will be good pointers for a lot of our viewers and listeners who are exploring opportunities, and there's SMEs. So my next question Sorabh is that what are your thoughts on multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies? And how can businesses determine what is the right approach for them? I think, again, like it's very similar to what we were just covering like, you know, what are your business objectives? What are your workload requirements? What is your security and compliance posture? What kind of integration and data management is required? You know, because hybrid cloud strategies are often best suited for organization that require a higher level of integration between on prem and cloud environments. Right, vendor lock in. So considering the risk of a
vendor lock in, when choosing a cloud strategy versus remaining multi cloud cost analysis, you know, again, what is going to cost like I was saying storage, compute data transfer cost and indirect for training, management support costs, you know, considering cost, skill set and expertise that already resides within the organization. management and governance of, you know, if you have multiple clouds, managing multiple cloud environments adds to the complexity, although there are tools and capabilities even in Wipro we have that are available that allows you to seamlessly do it. You know, it is still a management overhead. So those are some considerations to think about. Yeah. Because this is the kind of consulting work we do. I mean, this is my one minute of marketing in this conversation.
Absolutely. And why not? So my next question is, what do you think are some of the most significant trends that will shape the future of the cloud services market over the next 5 to 10 years? So very interesting question. I wish I knew the answer to this question. You know, we'd make money here. But listen, this is and this question coincides very well with something I'm presently pursuing from an education standpoint, because leaders need to also be constant learners last year. I happened
to sorry for this digression, but let me just say it anyway. So, of course in Berkeley Haas In business school here in the US take up a CEO program. There were one year CEO program, very interesting program that I started. It's coming to its Fagin. The it was a dual enrollment first enrollment was the CEO program from a leadership standpoint. enrollment of that was future of technology, which was a shortcodes, as combined with this course. But it talks about
future of tech and how it's, so of course, how can that conversation happen without cloud? So, to answer your question, the significant trends, all the trends out there from a future tech or emerging tech, such as AI and machine learning, serverless computing, edge computing, which is very, you know, combined with 5G, data privacy and security containerization microservices sustainability becoming a big deal, correct, in cloud-native development, industry, specific cloud solutions coming to address, you know, healthcare, or finance or supply chain challenges, all of this combined will have one thing in common that's going to be cloud. All of these enabling tech are enabled through through cloud. Today, what we are seeing is there is going to be new innovation by combining like Internet of Everything. Data Analytics, and machine learning and AI, combined with cloud will create solutions for clients that will be very unique and differentiated. What we are envisioning is that more and
more innovation will happen using this future tech, that, of course, happening using this future tech is just going to become more pervasive, more innovative. And the client solutions will become client solutions as we go forward, depending on the industry we are serving. So what we are doing automotive, versus what we are doing for finance versus what we are doing for retail versus what we're doing for a CPG and maybe learnings but maybe differentiated use cases that we'll be producing, and we're already working on a bunch of things on purpose or not split out, but you know, we're working with different sectors, different clients, in using these technologies with the underlying fabric of cloud, to create solutions, create market differentiation and business differentiation for them. Right. And so that's what I think we
will see more of we will see pricing. Very interesting. And a follow up question to that. Is that how do you envision the role of Wipro footstrike, cloud services evolving, as the cloud computing landscape continues to change? So again, like it's, in my opinion, kind of response I will give you because I think, yeah, there'll be a lot of people with different opinions on this one. I think, I can't say, particularly just roll up the profit, Stripe cloud, but just cloud services, our 12 Always, there is going to be greater focus on multi cloud hybrid cloud solutions, as in how they come together, and what organizations are doing. They, of course, still detest, like
login with any supplier, including us. So they, they want to maintain that independence, we will enhance security and compliance solutions, because in a lot of ways, some of the security compliance data security, things are still being sorted out, let's just start with standards. So we'll see increased, you know, focus on that. And therefore, our offerings and our focus also changing to that. There is going to be everybody's working on strengthening partnerships and collaboration. Very interesting time and in our journey, and
what we are witnessing, with partners, who are also suppliers, who are also customers, ourselves, with startups and you know, venture, the firms that innovative firms that are coming out with products, with clients coming together and building something that is unique. So we are seeing a lot of qualification of, can I build the capability of bank thinking that can I build a payments capability that I can future monetize, enabled by cloud, that kind of strengthening of partnerships and collaboration, as an example will increase? Interesting. Of course, leveraging emerging tech will happen a lot, you know, that we talk, there is going to be growing emphasis on sustainability and sustainable cloud offerings and solutions. Like it's already in talk and
some firms perhaps are doing it but not a lot and it will increase for sure. And focus on that. There is for a firm like ours going to be an increased focus on managed services. So as you know, when there was back in the days, you know, good old days about sourcing used to be like, can I manage your IT infrastructure to cloud then it will be how do I manage service your entire cloud? You don't own anything, just take it as a service from me. So there's one. Right? Ask me I think Skilling
and upskilling workforce with the emerging tech with Cloud is certainly going to be your key focus, as in how do we keep ourselves relevant? Because you know, things are changing so fast. Some things I say like are irrelevant anyways. Right? Like these are not just things for Wipro for stripe cloud. But of course, important for us as well, is what I believe is, in my opinion, my answer to this. Fantastic, thank you. And so my last question to you, and this is, again, for the many, many, many people who will listen to our conversation based on your own amazing journey, your understanding of technology, our conversation today about the cloud, what would you say are three lessons, you would want our viewers and listeners to take away from your own incredible experience and your own journey? You're being too nice to me, but thank you, I'll take it, you know, appreciation, you deserve it.
I think, again, many things can be stated. But I'll say a couple. Three lessons, I would say is develop a comprehensive cloud strategy, move to cloud already have a plan for post migration of your workload. Because, you know, why are we doing cloud? Is it because my neighbor is doing? Or is it because I have a business reason? Right? So in pandemic, nobody thought everybody was doing what they thought would keep them safe. And but now we are on the other side, so have a comprehensive strategy and a plan as to why your why, you know, start with a why. Focus on change management and
upskilling. So, you know, without the adequate staff without the adoption, without people focusing on what change this brings, you know, it's an important one and think about as to why you know, how people will embrace this change, change and how it will impact your business. Lastly, like, think about security and compliance posturing in this because it's going to be an increased emphasis in every industry. Yeah. A lot is happening already. But you know, think of
it not as an after the fact but think of it ahead. Yeah. Because it does pose that as a challenge. Those are the things that come to my mind. And of course, Wipro functions and operates in all these three, and it can help. But that's what I would say.
I agree, well said on that notes, Sorabh and you're three wonderful lessons, develop a comprehensive cloud strategy. The why is very, very important when you're thinking of your strategies that can you said was focused on change management and upscaling I guess, here, what you're really talking about how important it is to carry your teams with you. And the third one you said, which is so important is security and compliance are very, very important when we are developing your own strategy. Thank you, sir, for talking to me about your journey. Thank you for talking to me about cloud
services. I think I learned many, many new things from you today about the cloud. Thank you also for talking to me about multi cloud hybrid, how people can actually select which provider to go with. And finally, also thank
you for talking to me about what you see as the perspective is the future of the services. Thank you again for speaking to me and good luck to you. Thank you. Ashutosh, I appreciate being invited here. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you for listening to The Brand Called
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