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Taking the cloud mainstream

Wannago Cloud makes inroads into the region's mid-market by offering an extensive suite of affordable cloud solutions

Transformation is the need of the hour for Businesses and solution providers as they try to adopt to an economy which is increasingly going digital in its processes. Embracing new technologies and go to market models offers significant advantages and which is why cloud computing is fast gaining inroads as an alternative to on-premise ICT deployments.

Wannago is a company focused purely on offering cloud software services solutions. Wannago mirrors the ongoing definitive shift in IT consumption models from on-premises to cloud based models as it attempts to emerge as one of the regional leaders in the space.

Deepak Verma, Founder and CEO of Wannago says, “Wannago is a product company born in cloud, a first in the region. The aim is to offer an affordable and seamless friction free cloud adoption experience to SME & commercial mid-market segments, which incidentally make up as much as 95% of all companies operating in GCC. The growing awareness of OPEX vs CAPEX spends in IT consumption is helping fast track adoption of cloud in the segment.”

He elaborates that the cloud’s OPEX model of pay as you consume model is quite attractive for the mid-market segment which needs to conserve its budgetary spend on IT hardware investments and divert that to other priority business growth avenues.

He  explains “friction-free” as the new trend to adopt technologies as consumption rather than an implementation model. In the implementaion model, there is too much at stake from finding a solution, finding the implementation capability, retaining the talent to manage and with each updates by software companies, keeping a process of updating. This at capex and if the solution fails to deliver, the customer is back to the drawing board with a new project. Of course, this also means planning for future growth and transfer of risk of ownership to the customer at a high cost of TCO. 

“Primarily what we are seeing today in the market place is conservation of cash and general aversion to buying more software or hardware on premise. This makes complete sense for the businesses. They ought to be focusing on scaling up their business and conserving capital expenditure for business needs. Complications & new versions of software almost quarterly brings further challenges. The customer cannot afford to update skills at this pace and hence a friction free offer in the cloud is welcomed. The customer can focus on their business and focus on more pressing needs like expansion and pay per use model of cloud offers the OPEX capability.”

 

The rebooting and a new focus

Narrating the background that inspired the company to reimagine its go to market philosophy and company rebranding, he says, “Wannago cloud is a 2016 story and we started off by informing our customers about the growing trend in cloud adoption worldwide and how our region will be soon shifting as well. However, a significant part of our customer base was public sector and large corporates which were still not clear on the regulations or mandates from their respective boards.”

Deepak elaborates that they had move their focus from enterprise to the mid-market since that is the segment which was likely to adopt faster. Decision making is more leaner and on the ground locally. 

He adds, “We decided to therefore focus our business model towards SME and commercial mid-market segments. As 95% of the regional companies fall under the SME category, it made complete business sense to focus on this segment. During the launch in Q4 2016, we hosted a number of events to educate the segment and the results are paying off. The sizable number of early adaptors, market conditions and the affordable cost of doing business made decision making relatively easier. The whole of 2017 was an eventful year for Wannago and we managed to get 4 large transformational projects with a large number of customers in SME wanting to adopt our cloud offerings.”

The cloud services provider has ramped up its investments to address market demand. Wannago has a business development office in Dubai with sales and service delivery capabilities and has 3  offices in India to support expanding footprints regionally. The India office is also the service delivery for the growing company and has already a capacity built of 100 seater. The NOC with help desk capability to address customer needs will ensure uninterrupted services and customer success will become focus. 

Deepak further elaborates, “The company has shifted to a brand new 60 seater facility in Cochin and 40 seater in Delhi. Both these offices are capacity built for expansion regionally, carrying responsibility of reporting, monitoring and help desk services. Product development is a very important element and the team is developing an iOS & android app which will offer customers access of their data, analytics and alerts on their mobile phones. This will significantly improve customer service levels and what is on offer locally. The development will further focus on enhancing cloud adoption and other features.”

The Wannago cloud suite of products  include COPIA ( Backup as a service), DUPLICATO ( Disaster recovery as a service or DraaS), ARCHIVO ( Archival as a service) & CONTROLLO ( Firewall as a service) offered as hosted services from highly secure and resilient UAE & BAHRAIN data centers. 

Deepak says, “We have launched multi tenanted solutions which are easy to adopt, we offer a 15-day “freemium” to customers to give them a look and if they do feel the solution fits nicely in their strategy, they adopt. Our current services are offered through 3 data centers in UAE – Equinix, EHDF and DSO (Dubai Silicon Oasis). The services are usually set up within 3 days and the customer almost instantly sees the benefit.”

COPIA is a cloud backup service that provides quick, cost-effective, secure, reliable offsite backup – allowing you to recover anything, anywhere, at any time. DUPLICATO , a fully managed Virtual Disaster Recovery Service (DRaaS) is a service that completely copies the  user data, rebuilds  the network and tests IT systems on regular basis, providing the user with a 100% guarantee that it will work as expected and when needed. ARCHIVO is Archival-as-a-Service (AaaS) offering protection for email in on-premises, cloud as well as hybrid environments as well as  preserving emails for retention and compliance purposes. CONTROLLO is Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS)  that stops viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, key loggers, and more before they enter the network, with all-in-one, comprehensive network protection. The solution uniquely offers preventive, monitoring & reporting capabilities. 

Deepak elaborates, “Our focus has been on the important areas often over looked by customers. These include the likes of backup, Disaster recovery, archival and firewall services. To Quote an example here; for most customers back up has always been a cumbersome process of buying the software, procuring hardware, integration and then eventually managing it day in and day out. The cost for an SME is upwards of $12-15000 per year. We launched COPIA at $200 per month,  allowing 1 TB of data on our Reserva NAS box which is free to the customer and a copy backed up on the cloud with a dashboard available for them to look at. The whole TCO has come down drastically for the customer and he can now choose to pay per use on a consumption based model.” 

These multi-tenanted solutions, according to Deepak, address almost all the needs of the SME today with respect to data, continuity, security and archival of records. 

“This strategy helps in covering 90% of SME needs in the near term and with the apps  in development, the complete solution would be very exciting for the customers. The TCO is far superior compared to continuous cycle of buying annually and spending dollars on technologies. As part of our standard offerings, we also provide managed services as a service wrapper to our customers who are willing to offload all the mundanee tasks of managing and we provide them with reporting.”

Providing these solutions hosted out of public clouds like AWS & MS is also in the works and is likely to be finalized within the next year or so. This will help widen the market reach across the region.

Deepak elaborates, “Both AWS & Microsoft are setting up respectively their datacenters in UAE & BAHRAIN. This is excellent news for us, we aim to acquire regionally 2400 customers in the next 18-24 months and based on the data growth and hosted with us, it will be interesting to pursue the options with both AWS & MS. We are already partners with both the companies and look forward to working with them in hosting our solutions on their cloud platforms.”

Partner and market outreach 

Wannago cloud aims to be a 100% channel company in the next 24 months. The company is gearing up to expand its reach across the region by appointing partners. It has already begun the task of appointing partners and is likely to announce a comprehensive partner program soon.

“We are in the process of launching a very exciting channel program and look to invite SME focused partners who are today looking to boost their revenues and also hold on to their customer base. We have now successfully on-boarded two channel partners in the UAE and both have started to deliver business already. We are spending lots of time analyzing the right partner fit for our program and hence will look to enlist small number of focused partners in the region. We will be offering comprehensive training, assist in pre-sales & closures and also offer lead generation support through our inside sales program.”

The partner program is being launched sequentially in the region, with UAE and BAHRAIN being the first two countries. 

 The company hopes to make good on being one of the early movers regionally in the cloud space and believes there is enough market to cater to despite the competition that can be expected from bigger players.

“Wannago cloud has come a long way, in the past 24 months in understanding the needs of the market in the GCC. We can take comfort from the fact that the market size is large enough for a number of companies to coexist. Those who look to succeed  need to provide training and support to customers if they need to win the customers in the region. This also helps in adoption and over all expands the market size.”

The company is looking to gain 2400 customers in the GCC markets over the next 2 years. While a sizable number, this still accounts for a fraction of the total addressable market, reckons Deepak thereby reasoning that there is enough opportunity for cloud companies but with the caveat that the bar for new entrants is already higher because of companies who have proven their credentials already in the space.

He says, “The total addressable market in just two regional markets, the UAE & KSA, is over a million customers in the SME space. This is just 0.2% market share that we are focused on at the moment. We are focused on providing excelling solutions With the launch of IOS & Android apps, it will raise the bar for new entrants in the region. We feel confident that we have a clear two years head start in the region and this will always pay us rich dividends in the medium term.”

The company is  looking forward to build on its success by expanding its suite of cloud offerings and now looking to accelerate its pace of getting more customers on board. 

“2018 for Wannago cloud has brought significant success so far. We have decisively shifted our entire business to cloud. We are now closing on to our 100th customer on the cloud platform. We have been growing 30% MoM and over the full year would look to acquire 150 customers from UAE and BAHRAIN. The growth has been quite satisfying as the market has been responding very favorably.”

As a 100% cloud focused organization, Wannago cloud aims to increase adoption of cloud services within the SME and commercial mid-market clients by offering more solutions that will look to suit the needs of this mid-size business customers. 

Deepak concludes, “As we learn and adopt newer technologies over the next 2 years, we would be coming out with a more comprehensive and exciting line-up of products offering ease of use at price points which are extremely competitive and facilitating customer success like the region has not experienced before.

By expanding product offerings and bringing them to market at attractive price points, the company is confident on consolidating on its success so far.