With a phenomenal growth in recent years and an ever-widening and satisfied customer base, CtrlS Datacenters is all set for the next phase of global expansion with rapid executive presence expansion, hoard of new solutions and massive plans of infrastructure expansion and Hyper Scale Datacenters in pipeline.
“The CIOs struggle in managing complexity. We do not offer a cloud service but rather a solution to tackle this, so that they can put their energy into the business. We make sure that we are there as a partner in the customer success story.”
Founder and CEO
CtrlS Datacenters has been creating quite a buzz in the market in the last few years. Can you shed some light on the growth from the customer acquisition point of view in this time?
If you look at our growth in the last two years, the numbers almost tripled between Cloud and Datacenter Services. Two years ago, both the companies put together, we were somewhere around INR 300 Crore. Today, we have crossed the INR 1000 Crore mark, becoming the number one player in India. But our primary goal is not just to be Numero Uno in the country. We’ve been focusing on a number of answers. The biggest questions revolve around how to strengthen the quality of services, how to build a team that would allow us to scale the business, and which new markets we could go after. We’ve increased the management team by almost 75 per cent. We have increased focus on net promoter score and reorganized into different category of customers and given different NPS targets for different divisions. In large enterprise category, we achieved an NPS of 55%. Only a few companies like Apple and Amazon have been able to achievethat kind of an NPS. This relentless focus on improving customer quality of services has given us good momentum. Adding to that, we started intensive expansion in our infrastructure capabilities. We are increases the scale of Datacenters, with two new establishments after the Bengaluru DC which was launched in the start of 2018. Both of these projects are at the finishing stages. We’ll see the launch of a 12MW facility in Hyderabad which will be followed by a 15MW facility in Mumbai.
Further in our expansion plans, we have two more Datacenters in pipeline. Land is being acquired, plans are being drawn out, finances are being organized, and teams are being built to carry forward these projects. These will be Hyperscale (100 and 150 MW) and they’ll put us on the map globally as world’s No#1 Tier 4 Datacenter service provider. In terms of executive team expansion,we have tripled the number of VPs and above ranks. We have brought in personnel with specialties and specific skills like cloud security and so forth.
We’ve built a world class product with Cloud4C with top notch security and have built a number of such solutions for core banking technologies. We’ve built our expertise on public cloud.A couple of years ago we had three or four of us spearheading the entire business. Today, we have a management and decision making team of 30 plus seasoned executives. The number of workforce is going up every day.
Can you tell us about your customer base? What is the percentage of return customers?
Our customers are giving us more business as the partnership keeps growing. If you see our growth, around 40% are new customers. The rest 60% are our existing customers giving us more business. We’ve realized that with our DNA, our Tier 4 approach, investments into greater technology, resiliencyand with the quality of manpower, we offer greater value to large enterprises. We felt that the smaller clients are better served by the Hyper Clouds. So we encouraged few of such clients to join our Cloud platform. Cloud4C’s automated platform has to come in the picture and that’s where the SMBs are living today. It has about 250 large customers. Overall, there are 3000 plus customers in the ecosystem.
What are the value additions that you have been building upon that are your market differentiators?
The biggest value addition is that we are taking away the pain of managing applications from the CIOs. CIOs in the market are taking infrastructure services from Public Clouds and Datacenter services.They take applications from someone else, security from another vendor and application management from someone else.Traditionally, they have 7-8 vendors instead of a single SLA. For example, take the case of a Bank which has 40 different applications, multiplied by 7 different vendors. The CIOs struggle in managing this complexity. With us, they have an application level SLA that takes away all the pain. We do not offer a cloud service but rather a solution, so that the CIO can put his energy into the business. We take away the pain of app management and give them a single SLA and Application login, thus reducing the cost in the process and increasing the uptime. This takes away the management headache. That clicked for us and enabled us to put in a differentiated offering on the table that no other player is able to offer. The market will surely follow suit soon. Our biggest USP is that once a client comes in with us, we take total ownership. We make sure that we are there as a partner in their success story.
Apart from the Banking Community Cloud, what are some of the other Community Clouds under your umbrella?
So we initially came up with the Banking and the SAP ERP community cloud. Both of them are world’s 1st Tier – 4 Community clouds. Next big thing we did was the Insurance Community Cloud. The fourth thing we did was the Government Community Cloud. Governmentsacross the world have unique needs. Their category of security is very different. Every country has a different philosophy but at the same time they have different clients. So we thought of addressing these needs and did it for the Australian Government, Singapore Government and of course Indian Government.Right now we are making it compatible and qualified for the US Federal System. In terms of future initiatives, there are a couple of more Community Clouds in the pipeline.
Although a big plus of such an offering is that the cost goes down, cost in itself is not a big factor for large enterprises. It is the quality of services and specific capabilities that the Community Cloud offers which directly cater to the needs of the vertical. Value proposition will get better over a period of time. To give you a roadmap, right now Banking and ERP Clouds are in the second stage of maturity which means we are automating. We now have the volume to invest. As a result of this automation, each and every project can have a surety of success and we can do them at one-fourth of the cost. Most importantly, human errors are eliminated, time to correct is automated.
With the EU GDPR and now the Indian DPR, compliance is coming to the space in a big way. How does it change the scheme of things for you?
Data privacy regulations are going to help us. The core reason is that the cost of compliance for every individual company will be at least 5 times more than us. Secondly, the quality of manpower in a company to ensure compliance versus the man power we have is a huge plus. Our Compliance Head is the former Global Cybersecurity Head for one of India’s top-3 IT companies. He has an equally qualified and experienced management team under him. It is not easy for any individual company to have such a team on its payroll.
Thirdly, processes and technologies that we can deploy with our resources, individual companies find doing it very hard. So, it’s a win-win for clients and us. To be compliant, going to a service provider who specializes in it will cut down the cost dramatically to as low as maybe one-fifth plus you get SLAs where the solution provider takes care of compliance with minimum effort from the customer’s end. The more the compliances, the more does the Community Cloud’s value goes up. Adding to this, the depth over a period of time these Community Clouds are able to offerto a vertical will be phenomenal and at a different scale.
Can you shed some light on your international client base?
Right now we are operational in 20 countries with close to about 200 large clients globally. The growth is exclusively by word of mouth through references without any push from us. We are going to address each and every global market in due time. This involves building a successful team similar to India in each of those countries. That’s the next phase of our expansion plan. We’ll be entering China after sorting out compliance and policy processes. In Japan, we are already seeing good traction with two of the world’s largest conglomerate. We’ll be strengthening our base in the US and will be starting business in South America. Eastern Europe and Africa are in the pipeline and await the final steps.