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This is a communique on the current state of cloud adoption in India from Prashant Pandit and Pooja Jayna from TechSoup's partner in India, NASSCOM Foundation BIGTech Program, which is an NGO committed to building ICT capacity in civil society in India. Prashant manages the Big Tech program and is an engineer by training. Pooja Jayna is NASSCOM Foundation's manager of communications.

India is of course one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is also the largest democracy in the world. It has 1.2 billion people, of which over 70% are rural. It is one of the BRIC nations with its economy growing at 8% annually. It's a highly diverse country where 415 languages are spoken, 30 of which are major languages with over one million speakers each.

NASSCOM Foundation's Survey of NGO Cloud Readiness

Here is Prashant and Pooja's view of the cloud based on a survey of Indian NGOs that they completed in September 2011:

Gartner has forecasted that India's spending on green IT and cloud initiatives will double from $35 billion in 2010 to $70 billion in 2015, indicating a buoyant technology outlook for the Indian industry.

While cloud computing may have dominated corporate board rooms in India, NGOs are still largely unaware of the cloud's existence. Our view is based on NASSCOM Foundation's recent survey on cloud computing and cloud products among NGOs in India.

The survey indicated that almost 70 percent NGOs are unaware of cloud computing, and the 30 percent NGOs that are aware of it, are unclear on how it could benefit them and taking the next steps toward adoption. Only a handful of the bigger and established NGOs have adopted cloud technologies.

The Long Road To NGO Cloud Adoption

NASSCOM Foundation is itself among the earlier adopters of cloud technology. For the last two years, we have been sharing our knowledge with partner NGOs in our ConnectIT training program, where we  have worked with 1,270 NGOs and government organizations on developing skills in cloud applications and social media. In the course of this work we have found that the state of cloud adoption is largely personal (for example, Google Mail, Google Docs) and not yet institutional.

Of the 3 million NGOs that operate in India, most are small and dependent on volunteers. They operate with donated computers and often are located in remote areas with a lack of Internet infrastructure and therefore do not have access to cloud products. A sizeable number do not even have PCs yet.

Poor Internet connectivity is a significant barrier to cloud adoption in India. We believe that NASSCOM Foundation's BiGTech program work is a step in the direction of identifying the problem, but we expect that for Indian NGOs, the path to cloud adopton will be a long one.