India predominantly serves as a cloud hub : says Mohan Subrahmanya

Mohan Subrahmanya, Insight Enterprises, discusses the pivotal role of solution integration, guiding clients to modernize IT infrastructure. Integrating partners like Microsoft, Google, AWS, and more.

Punam Singh
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Mohan Subrahmanya, Country Leader of Insight Enterprises

In an exclusive interview with Mohan Subrahmanya, Country Leader of Insight Enterprises reveals its strategies for guiding clients in modernizing IT infrastructure while minimizing disruption. Mohan articulates the challenges faced by many businesses, which are often due to legacy systems and technical debt. He discusses Insight's approach, which involves breaking down the overall technical problem into manageable chunks, rather than a big-bang solution, and finding the funding to address the technical debt.


 Insight's optimization initiatives are pivotal, intending to ensure impactful technology solutions. Mohan emphasizes the need for India's IT industry to shift paradigms, highlighting the significant role of technologies like GenAI and Quantum Computing. He identifies these as transformative for customers' business processes and operations and the IT industry itself. Additionally, Mohan shares Insight's vision behind the Insight Cloud Academy, detailing how it contributes to upskilling and preparing professionals for the digital era. 

DQ: Insight Enterprises has embraced the role of a solution integrator. What advantages does this positioning bring, and how does it enhance client outcomes?

Mohan: One of the things I would mention is the significant number of customers engaged. On the other side, we have very strong relationships with partners, including over 8,000 software and hardware companies. We are one of the largest global partners for industry giants like Microsoft, Google, AWS, Cisco, Dell, Nvidia, and many others. With these deep relationships, we've built up technology competence around these software and hardware products, enabling us to deliver and support modern IT solutions from architecture to execution and management. This is unique because not many companies have this capability.


That level of partner integration and expertise in terms of the product landscape is one of our main advantages for customers. As a leading solutions integrator, we maintain a steadfast commitment to the continuous expansion and global development of our cloud service capabilities. India predominantly serves as a cloud hub for Insight, with three acquisitions in India so far. The latest one was a company called SADA, which is one of the largest Google Partners in the world. We have a few more acquisitions in the pipeline. So Insight India was born in the cloud, and I think that's our main differentiation. We're at about 1300 people.

As of right now, they've grown more than 50% in the last 12 months that I've been here. So I expect that we will put thousands of people, which is a commitment that Insight's leadership and the board have towards India, making it one of the fundamental foundations for future growth inside in the future.

DQ: Many businesses struggle with legacy systems and technical debt. How do you guide clients in modernizing their IT infrastructure while minimizing disruption? 


Mohan: I believe it depends on the types of companies we're discussing. If we focus on the mid-market segment, IT infrastructure tends to be quite lean and efficient. However, when we consider many of the Fortune 500 companies, they often have bloated landscapes that have been built up over the last 25, 30, or 40 years. These are the ones that require the most attention. Over the past few years, many businesses have had to make several pivots. There have been ups and downs, and while short-term solutions seemed like the right choice at the time, many organizations are now struggling to reconcile the long-term impacts of those quick fixes, which they've continuously applied for over a decade. This has led to resource strain, bloated platform complexity, and a lot of workload dependencies. These are some common challenges our customers face. So, optimization is one of the most impactful technology initiatives. One of the things we've discussed is not to approach the overall technical problem with a big bang solution, but rather to break it down into more manageable chunks. Another aspect is, of course, finding the funding to address the technical debt, as it's a very expensive exercise. By breaking down the overall problem into smaller pieces and then solving them one by one, and by freeing up money through rational expenditure savings, you can reinvest those savings into fixing the next part of the technical debt problem. This creates a virtual cycle, allowing you to finally reach where you need to be. For many of these large companies, I think it's a multi-year journey, not a short-term solution.

DQ: Considering the dynamic Indian market, what domains or technologies do you see as the next big growth drivers?

Mohan: I think GenAI is a buzzword that everybody is using nowadays, and I strongly believe that it's more than just hype. However, we need to be very conscious about where we employ it and how it's going to impact our workforce. I believe the IT industry in India is at a crucial junction where it is about to shift paradigms. We have done a lot of work around AI in the last four to six quarters, and we've seen tremendous productivity gains for our software development teams and managed cloud operations, among other areas.


I believe that's one technology to watch, which can fundamentally transform both our customers' business processes and the way they conduct their operations, as well as the IT industry itself. We also see many capabilities like Quantum Computing evolving. I don't think we in India have put a lot of focus on R&D and building products, and this is a common problem that many people are aware of. So that is one area where we can make a difference, and there are other areas which I think are nearing a lot of product ideas.

The Internet of Things and a few other areas are some of the common areas where there has been a significant push inside universally looking to deliver cutting-edge and impactful solutions. Therefore, they have invested a lot of money in building intellectual property. Most of this is being done in India, which is not only an interesting area but also an area catering to the community.

DQ: How do you envision generative AI impacting various sectors in India, and what specific use cases do you find most promising?


Mohan: I believe AI will touch every industry. In the previous question, I talked about the impact on the IT industry, but AI is going to impact everyone, probably including yourself. So, how do you make a person more productive? I think that's the fundamental premise of AI. Certainly, there'll be some impact on job creation. I don't think there'll be a massive impact on job losses as long as people can adopt it into their day-to-day work. They should be able to be more productive, and therefore, it will lead to a lot of advantages. It can lead to more income because your productivity is going up. So, you're able to produce more outcomes for the same.

If you look at healthcare, it's going to have an impact. If you look at banking, it's also going to have an impact. I think we've published a lot of this on our website as well. We've been working across various industries, including banking and insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing, for many of these use cases. For example, take supply chain optimization for a manufacturing company. That's a great use case. Take patient care for healthcare. I think that's a great use case for AI and it can make a lot of difference. So, I think many use cases across many industries can be impacted, but that's looking at it from a broader standpoint. However, suppose you look at it from an individual standpoint. How to assimilate information, how to use toolsets to make yourself productive, that's at an individual level and that is going to have an impact.

DQ: Could you share insights into the vision behind Insight Cloud Academy? How does it contribute to upskilling and preparing professionals for the digital era?


Mohan: Yes, so I think the Inside Cloud Academy has gained significant substance in the last two to three years. It initially started with Microsoft, but gradually expanded to include other hyperscalers like Google and AWS. The intention is to partner with leading universities in India and talent communities to train individuals on the latest and greatest Cloud Technologies. Bear in mind that the cloud is evolving at such a fast pace. So, it's very important to keep up to date. We started off doing this with more of The Graduate type program, and then we decided to also do it for our existing employees.

Now, we have various well-designed programs that match many of the current market needs of our customers. We have young engineers learn skills that prepare them for actual client projects. People are trained and put through a rigorous program, even when they're about to finish their studies at the university. By the time they join us, they're already quite productive because they will have undergone one of the training sessions that we've prepared for some of the projects and so forth. So, it takes very little time for us to deploy them on projects once they join. They become productive and they're very pleased that they're working on major client and Fortune 500 companies' projects.

We've onboarded over 1450 graduates in the last couple of years, following a strict shortlisting exercise. For every thousand students considered, only about 14 are selected, emphasizing our commitment to quality. This adds significant value to our customers as they receive the best talent from India through Inside.


DQ: Elaborate on Insight’s initiatives to foster AI talent within India. How are you collaborating with educational institutions and industry bodies?

Mohan: Technology skilling and upskilling have always been a priority for us. AI is such a fast-changing subject. The technology is improving dramatically and quickly. So, we have built multiple learning models through our partnerships with companies like Microsoft. As I mentioned, we are also working with industry bodies like NASSCOM and various government platforms.

We also have a strong internal practice that not only creates preparatory solutions like InsightGPT, our version of GPT but also provides exposure to our teammates on real-world AI problems and the needs of our customers. Additionally, we have a large team contributing to GitHub projects, sourced from Microsoft. This is one of the things I was talking about earlier; we're seeing productivity improvements in software development between 50% to 70% using the copilot feature of GitHub as an example.