Founded in 2005 by first-generation entrepreneur, Piyush Somani, as a ‘Web hosting support’ business ESDS soon got the opportunity to take over some UK and US-based web hosting companies and in no time, became very popular across the globe due to best in class customer service. Today ESDS has branch offices in UK, US, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi as well as Pune. It is looking to set up data centres in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the US.
Piyush Somani, the Founder, CMD, and CEO is very passionate about many things, almost for all the elements around him such as humanity and nature. In a free-wheeling conversation, he shares his views with the Indian Economy & Market about the current scenario and his future plans.
ESDS has a presence in several industry verticals – one of them is Healthcare. During these tough times when the world has its focus on that segment and most of the related segments, including IT are doing extraordinarily well, what is your position?
During the pandemic, ESDS helped two chains of hospitals which are Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Dr. NTR Vaidya Seva Trust. HIMS of these hospitals has been running on ESDS Government Community Cloud. These hospital chains found it easier to convert their regular hospitals into COVID hospitals during the pandemic as they were on Cloud.
Many hospitals were unable to smoothly transition from Non-Covid to Covid as these hospitals were running their HIMS On-Premise and could not make desired changes in the Application and the Infrastructure due to the limitations. Last year, many such hospitals faced many challenges like a financial crisis because they found it difficult to convert their hospitals back to non-COVID hospitals when the COVID cases were low. Also, with too many rising cases, they were unable to manage and administer.
A pharma company hosted with ESDS found it easy to start the vaccine production. As soon as it entered into a contract with the Russian agencies to begin producing the ‘Sputnik V’ vaccine, the production was immediately started in their organizations since they availed Cloud services and had the desired agility to transition quickly. Cloud services have enabled pharma companies to change their line of production enabling smooth evolution of business models. We can hardly name out any IT company that could not do well during the pandemic or won’t be able to do well post-pandemic.
You successfully developed an advanced solution which could detect the presence of coronavirus just by a chest x-ray. How was the response from the stakeholders?
Last year, during the first wave, ESDS launched the AA+ solution, i.e., Anytime and Anywhere Positive Detection of COVID-19 infection. It worked out pretty well, and we received positive responses. There were certain limitations, too, since few teenagers for whom we could not detect if they are positive or negative. Chest X-rays can only detect whether a person has pneumonia-like symptoms if the movement is found in the lungs X-ray. It works similarly to the HRCT system. I have seen many teenagers whose HRCT score was zero, but they were COVID-19 positive. Their upper respiratory system had COVID but, the lower respiratory system didn’t have COVID. This was the drawback of AA+ too.
The solution also faced people’s apprehensions as they believed this was not the correct way to detect COVID. But, we were and have been regularly detecting COVID in people who have severe symptoms and might get critical over a period. When a person is at home, their HRCT score has gone to 4 or 5 and slowly to 10. Later, when the HRCT score reaches 15, the person needs to be hospitalized. We were trying to detect the movements in the lungs X-ray of people who might get hospitalized and get critical, resulting in fatalities due to the delay in detection and early treatment.
In the present scenario, we have seen the acceptance of the technology created by ESDS. We brought the technology in a very early stage of pandemic last year, and the doctors themselves created trouble for the solution. We are hopeful that the solution developed by ESDS will be utilized to detect infection in an early stage through the Chest X-ray, and doctors can get into action immediately. We created the solution for doctors only. It is easy to take the Chest X-ray in less than a minute, and within few seconds, the software tells whether there is movement in the chest or not. This enables doctors to decide whether to go for HRCT or to start the treatment immediately.
We are extending AA+ to many respiratory diseases like tuberculosis, bronchitis, and other respiratory system-related illnesses. We are also coming up with a similar solution for brain X-rays. You just need to upload the brain X-ray, and the software will inform you about a lot of different problems like brain cancer, brain tumor, and other brain-related infections that might result in severe problems for an individual. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the way forward. Through AI and ML, we will be able to figure out the problem before the patient becomes critical and the movement happening based on that, the doctor will be able to take care of the patients. Technology is not here to replace the radiologist but to assist them.
There was a shortage of radiologists during the pandemic, and people had to stand for hours in a queue to get the HRCT done. Also, the report generation was time-consuming. So, if something similar happens in the future, we don’t want people to queue outside limited radiology centers. This X-ray technology will help reduce at least 70% to 80% of cases from going under HRCT. Thus, the HRCT centers can cater to limited patients where the movement would be quite significant or high. In such cases only, the doctors can involve the radiologist and take extreme decisions to administrate the specific treatment.
In a video that got viral, you explained about a nasal spray. Please tell us in details about that?
In the video, I have talked about the importance of Nitric Oxide (NO) against the ongoing pandemic and the various natural sources from which we can obtain NO. In the later part of the video, I have explained how performing Bhramari Pranayam and other Pranayams help in circulating the flow of NO gas in our body. Being a hard-core Techie, I did a lot of research and then made the video.
Recent studies and researches in Canada have proven that a nasal spray with Nitric Oxide as its main constituent can be an effective tool against this ongoing pandemic. Nitric Oxide can be easily obtained from fruits like pomegranate, mulberry, Jamun, citrus fruits, and leafy & non-leafy vegetables. Cacao powder or Dark Chocolates are also a good source of NO gas. By consuming foods rich in nitric oxide, one remains free from all forms of respiratory diseases, and in case someone is already suffering, these foods will help in a faster recovery.
Bhramari Pranayam stimulates the internal organs and nerves to release Nitric Oxide 15-times more. It disinfects the entire respiratory system, resulting in a satisfied mind and soul. One can also remain free from major health ailments like blood pressure, blood clotting, and sleeplessness. The body remains unaffected from any virus targeting the respiratory system.
Can you elaborate on what community cloud really is and it’s future?
ESDS is the leading Cloud Service Provider in India that serves the Digital India Mission through its industry-specific Community Clouds. The current ESDS Community Clouds portfolio includes Government, Enterprise, BFSI, and SAP HANA. All these Community Clouds have played a key role in Digitally Transforming their respective industry verticals and host numerous critical applications and data of their end-users.
Government Community Cloud (GCC)
ESDS Government Community Cloud is India’s 1st Cloud Hosting Platform to obtain the MeitY-empanelment and STQC-Audited Cloud Hosting platform for delivering Cloud-based services to Government customers in India. ESDS Government Community Cloud serves 225+ Government and PSU Organizations on its “Make in India” eNlight Cloud technology, with a guaranteed uptime of 99.95%. This Community Cloud hosts the Central and State Government’s mission-critical applications and data by offering a scalable and flexible Cloud Platform for enhanced performance and cost-savings.
BFSI Community Cloud
ESDS BFSI Community Cloud addresses the smallest needs in the banking industry. The BFSI Community Cloud serves as a one-stop-shop for all core banking solutions and digital banking services. This Community Cloud has transformed 400+ Banks and Financial Institutions and helped them deliver enhanced customer experience.
SAP HANA Community Cloud
It is an SAP-certified Cloud platform that ensures improved flexibility and redundancy for running end-to-end SAP Landscape. This Community Cloud offers SAP, SAP HANA, Non-HANA, and SAP Managed Services across various industries and offering them tailored SAP solutions as per their requirements. By serving 150+ SAP Clients, ESDS SAP HANA Community Cloud has emerged as the most trusted Cloud Service Provider for SAP solutions. The in-house team comprising 300+ SAP Professionals ensures efficient running of an enterprise’s SAP Landscape.
Enterprise Community Cloud
It offers enterprises to achieve an enhanced robust computing environment and integration of Advanced Technologies. This is a secure and superior Cloud platform that allows enterprises to achieve their volatile business goals. This Community Cloud has modernized the IT Operations of 600+ Enterprises through optimized Total Cost of Operations.
Digital Transformation is the main agenda at present for all. How ESDS fits in that?
Today, ESDS is the trailblazer that is driving India’s Digital Transformation wave. However, a decade back, customers had huge speculations about the Cloud and data security present on the Cloud. I personally met customers from all over India and tried to sell our eNlight Cloud. At some places, it took me multiple visits to win a customer. I felt dejected when I saw customers investing 10-15 times in buying hardware and setting up their Data Center. Customers rejected our patented Cloud technology because they apprehended Cloud Security without any solid base. However, things have completely changed in the last 5 years.
A couple of years back, ESDS helped the IGR-LR Department of Maharashtra Government move on the Cloud. In the last 2 years, the budget spent by IGR-LR on the Cloud was just 3% of the Revenue Department of Maharashtra’s sanctioned budget for setting up on-premise Data Centers. The Department of Land Records, State of Maharashtra, generated a good amount of revenue offering Digital 7/12 Documents to citizens in the last 1 year. With ESDS, the IGR-LR department successfully handled 7 times more traffic on their systems during the pandemic period.
Symphony, a famous Cooler brand in India, also had a similar journey. By choosing ESDS as their service provider, they enjoyed a significant amount of savings. Symphony was able to bring in a massive Digital Transformation in their organization by migrating to ESDS SAP HANA Community Cloud.
Do you also feel that Covid has created a lot of opportunities in many fields?
The current pandemic has indeed had severe implications on the running of businesses globally. Here also it has opened gates for several opportunities. India has been the hub for several services for many years. All the work processes have now shifted to Work from Home using virtual platforms like Cloud Computing, WebVPN; resulting in increased digitalization all over the country. Students are learning through virtual platforms and attending classes using video conferencing solutions. Employees are collaborating with each other through various online mediums, and solutions like eNlight WebVPN play a crucial role in providing secure access to remotely hosted resources. OTT, eCommerce platforms have flourished significantly during this period.
Addressing the call of the Prime Minister for a self-reliant or Atmanirbhar India, there has been a significant change being witnessed in the supply chain. The boost in the supply chain will offer better opportunities for the indigenous companies to make their products in India designed for Indian and other markets. India can serve as the base for various assembling businesses by offering modest work and superior quality.
Tell us about your eNlight Cloud solutions and how it’s different?
eNlight Cloud is our Double-Patented, Vertical Auto-Scaling Cloud platform that allows virtual machines to scale their resources like CPU and RAM automatically in real-time and offered on a Pay-Per-Consumption billing basis. eNlight Cloud offers all three- Private, Public, and Hybrid models of Cloud deployment. eNlight Cloud is industry-certified to various security requirements and includes a multi-layered security framework for enhanced security. With this security infrastructure, eNlight Cloud safeguards customer’s critical data while offering high availability to end-users’ business growing demands.
With eNlight Cloud, businesses can boost their journey to the Cloud without incurring any downtime or operational risks. It is built with a live migration feature, allowing zero-downtime migration of servers. eNlight Cloud replicates the original execution requirements of an enterprise’s legacy application without hampering key operations or modifications in the application programming interface. eNlight Cloud offers huge savings by eliminating unwanted capital investments through lowered operating costs. Unlike the traditional servers, eNlight Cloud needs zero sunken costs since the servers are hosted on a Cloud.
eNlight Cloud offers higher agility, scalability, and accessibility. All the core operations remain unaffected during the Scaling process since eNlight Cloud offers a live server up-gradation.
You now have added a data centre in Bengaluru. What was the necessity?
We decided to set up the most ultra-modern Data Center in India and chose the Bengaluru location, considering it falls in a different seismic zone. From the seismic angle, Bengaluru has been marked as the least active zone. ESDS has developed an in-house DCIM tool for Managing the Data Center Infrastructure, eMagic, along with our R&D Team’s innovative IoT Solutions for launching Autonomous Data Center in India’s Silicon Valley. Here the electrical system is fully automated.
Please discuss the road ahead?
Our USP is an in-house developed & double-patented Cloud Platform, eNlight Cloud, that can Horizontally and Vertically scale itself as per the business needs, without hampering any business operations. In the Indian Data Center Industry, ESDS has Rated 3 compliant Data Centers at Nashik, Bengaluru, and Mumbai committed to providing an uptime of 99.95%. ESDS is amongst the Top-3 Cloud providers, and in the Government Sector, ESDS is the #1 Cloud Service Provider. ESDS is amongst the Top-5 Data Center players. All the products, solutions, and services comply with the latest industry-defined standards with the data hosted within the Indian Geographical limits. ESDS is the only Cloud Service Provider that has touched and Digitally Transformed the lives of more than 650 million Indians. We are playing a significant role in making the nation ‘Atmanirbhar.’ Our in-house team of 200+ R&D Innovators is constantly committed to offering unique and industry-leading solutions such as WAF and WebVPN, even in the toughest of times, for addressing the needs of secured Internet access for remote working. By leveraging our clientless and secure WebVPN solution named eNlight WebVPN, the Department of Land Records, State of Maharashtra, is now digitalizing all the registration and land record processes.
With more innovative products & Advanced Technologies being added to our portfolio, the number of USPs at ESDS will increase. ESDS was recognized as Asia’s 15th Great Place to Work in 2020. Recently, ESDS has also been recognized & awarded as ET’s Best Tech Brands for the Year 2020-2021.
As a part of the expansion plan, we are looking to expand our network in 19+ countries whose foundation was laid back in 2018. We are developing Data Centers in five new cities, and the existing three Data Center locations at Nashik, Mumbai, and Bengaluru will witness Phase-2 expansion. Towards the end of FY21, new operational Data Centers at Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai & Nashik will be introduced.
We have information that you are working on plans to raise a significant funding round through a private placement? Is it true?
In the last financial year, we have seen a massive boost in our business and profitability. The number of leads we received in a week before the pandemic is the same number of leads we are currently receiving every day. That’s the volume we are handling now. We never anticipated this kind of volume and orders. Currently, when we witness the kind of scale at which our business is growing, we feel it can grow in a much better way if we focus on a rapid scale-up strategy. ESDS can become a Billion-dollar enterprise probably in less than five years.
We receive large opportunities from some famous Indian enterprises, banks, State, and the Central Government. They come with massive IT requirements, where we have to invest millions of dollars in scaling up our infrastructure. We are doing this now but, there will be a time when we will have cash flow gaps. We are preparing ourselves for massive growth, and post-pandemic, we know the kind of growth the IT sector, the Cloud business, and the Digital Transformation is experiencing. To cater to the future demands and to become the number one Cloud Service Provider, we have to take decisions now. To transform the lives of more than a Billion people, ESDS has to scale up. ESDS is here to Digitally Transform India. Blue and Green are our focus, where Blue depicts Digital Transformation, and Green is for the environment. It’s our mission to positively transform the lives of a Billion people and plant 1 Billion Trees in India.