Technology

8Kmiles is the newest in cloud computing

In the star studded galaxy of Indian IT exporters like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and others, there is one startup company that plans to carve out a niche for itself. But unlike its heavyweight counterparts that rode on the first wave of outsourcing powered by demand from Y2K related services in the US, this startup wants to ride another wave that has the potential to turn it into a billion dollar enterprise.

The wave is cloud computing and the company is 8Kmiles, which started operations during the time when the Lehmann crisis in the US was playing out. The company follows a stright logic- be a partner with the tech giant (in this case Amazon) and get into spaces that traditional biggies like Accenture or CSC are finding it hard to penetrate.

The company is headed by Suresh Venkatachari, who has an engineering background and around two decades experience in the software product and consulting industry and was the head of electronic banking software development at Deutsche Bank, Singapore. Apart from that, in the last decade and a half, Venkatachari has been a serial enterpreneur. A serial entreprenuer who has stayed away from the limelight, he has founded 4 companies—successfully taking one public while selling two others. Here is an excrept of the interview with Suresh Venkatachari.

TS: How did this 8Kmiles happen and what sort of differentiators does it bring to the table?

SV: “We are a global, cloud solutions provider and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partner and focus on cloud solutions that provide security for enterprises, mobile collaboration and large-scale data analytics for enterprise, SMBs, government and managed service providers,” says Venkatachari. Putting it simply, 8Kmiles designs solutions on the AWS platform, which competes against Microsoft’s Windows Azure and Google. AWS is a part of Amazon, consists of a collection of remote computing services, offered over the Internet by Amazon.com to enterprises who can use these computing capacities, which are supposed to be faster and cheaper than building their own server footprint.

This concept of using cloud computing, which allows you to use compute capacity on a rental basis, instead of owning assets is fast catching on. “Pay per use is the way of the future as tech shifts are happening rapidly,” says Venkatachari. The company does not look at designing and architecting software for mainframes and the likes, which is the forte of traditional Indian IT exporters.

However, in the case of most companies in the US, who use two dozen applications ranging from accounting to marketing software, there is a huge demand to consolidate these varied applications. Imagine, a user having to type in 20 different passwords to get access to different applications. Add to that if a company wants access to these applications in their smartphones or iPads?, says Venkatachari. Then there is the issue of constantly having to maintain software, buy additional computing capacity, upgrade and comply to regulatory bodies, all of which are making companies to consider pay-per-use options.

This has fuelled the rise of companies like 8Kmiles, who give an option to test or deploy software at cheaper prices. “With our services, costs of trying out technologies can be anywhere around $50,000-100,000, much lesser than the millions of dollars it costed in the past,” opines Venkatachari. It is a sweet spot to be in as big companies are still learning the ropes on how to do this cloud computing kind of work, said an IT analyst who did not wish to be named as he is providing consultancy to several large outsourcers. Add to that, Amazon shares 70 per cent of its sales leads with 8Kmiles.

With this, the company has managed to get clients in the government vertical too. Venkatachari says that the UK government has shortlisted the company for a healthcare project. It also counts VISA, Computer Associates, Bank of New York as some of its clients. The company is also working on a prototype with Uber, a startup transportation network company in the US on an analytics project.

This has resulted in the company clocking Rs. 43 crore in revenues in the March ended quarter, net profits are in the range of Rs. 7.5 crore and Venkatachari is confident that the company can double revenue growth in the coming year. With a 14-16 per cent net profitability, which is close to some of the mid-tier IT exporters like NIIT Tech. “We have now moved into an annuity revenue model, which means that we get services revenues every year,” averred Venkatachari.

Unlike a lot of Indian technology companies which shy away from acquisitions, 8Kmiles believes that it can grow faster through this route. Last year acquired FuGen solutions for $7.5 Million. The move signifies 8K Miles focus and interest in expanding into the Cloud IAM (Identity Access Management) and Identity federation brokerage services. There is a rising demand for simplified identity and access management on the Cloud, especially in hybrid cloud deployment scenarios, opines Venkatachari.

The company’s average deal size is $250,000 and has around 150 employees, with a significant portion of them based in the U.S.

The last five years has seen a plethora of startups in the cloud computing space, which have been fashionably named as ‘born in the cloud’ companies. “Despite offers to our employees from large companies, bulk of them choose to stay back as the prospect of working in these companies are better than traditional companies,” asserts Venkatachari.

8Kmiles seem to have started off strong but as the biggies start to claw their way into this segment deeper, real challenges will emerge. Whether the company is up for that challenge? Time will tell.

8KMiles has deep expertise in secure cloud solutions, meeting important security qualifications such as FISMA in verticals such as government and more. The acquisition of FuGen Solutions will further enhance 8KMiles’ security services platform in the cloud, while offering innovative, complementary security measures such as Identity and Access Management to help streamline authentication across multiple cloud-based business systems. By incorporating and expanding on FuGen’s intellectual property for its enterprise Cloud Identity Broker, 8KMiles will be better poised to meet the growing security and compliance needs of large enterprises and government agencies.

8K Miles last year acquired FuGen solutions for $7.5 Million. The move signifies 8K Miles focus and interest in expanding into the Cloud IAM (Identity Access Management) and Identity federation brokerage services. What’s evident from the acquisition is the rising demand for simplified identity and access management on the Cloud, especially in hybrid cloud deployment scenarios.

We have over five years of experience in building cloud solutions. Our team of cloud experts and enterprise-level cloud architecture is robust yet tailored in its approach to help companies power their cloud and go-to-market strategies, while achieving greater cloud computing savings and efficiencies. Our customers benefit greatly from our enhanced security services offered through our cloud platform, while being able to take advantage of more innovative, complementary security measures such as Identity and Access Management to help them better manage and streamline authentication as they increasingly migrate other business systems into the cloud. We pride ourselves in being able to help large enterprises and government agencies to meet growing security and compliance needs.

 

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Tracy Venkatesh

Tracy Venkatesh

Tracy Venkatesh has spent twenty years working and interacting with a socioeconomically diverse population in both the private and public sectors, and has held positions in multiple verticals including content development, healthcare, customer relations management, defense and law enforcement.

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