Information & Storage Management Outsourcing Is The Future In India

by Wrik Sen    Oct 25, 2016

Hitesh Gupta

Data storage and it’s management, especially by an external entity is something which still has not set alarm bells ringing in the Indian corporate diaspora. However, with secure destruction now a part of the ambit of related services, the scenario in the Indian corporate sector is indeed changing.

With the demand to lower storage costs, comply with regulatory requirements across multiple locations, make better use of their information and mitigate the potential threats, data records and management outsourcing is something that the country is warming up to. Hitesh Gupta, Managing Director of Iron Mountain India looks at the current scenario, and how the segment will look towards a digitally powered India.

Q: Looking at the core capabilities of Iron Mountain, which services do you see gaining the most prominence? And what sets them apart?   

Iron Mountain is the world’s leading provider of information storage and management services. In fact, 94% of the world’s top 1,000 companies trust Iron Mountain to look after their information assets. Today, Iron Mountain has a global real estate network of more than 80 million square feet across more than 1,350 facilities in 45 countries dedicated to the storage needs of more than 220,000 customers. We help our customers keep their information secure, know what they have, know where it is and help them access it when they need it.

The core services we provide are records and data storage and management and secure destruction. Demand for these services is driven by an increasing trend in outsourcing. We estimate that organisations in India outsource somewhere between 10%-15% of the records they produce where as these figures are as high as 50% in developed markets. While the trend towards outsourcing information storage and management is only just underway in this country, we believe it is a trend that will grow as businesses look to lower their storage costs, comply with regulatory requirements across multiple locations, make better use of their information and mitigate the potential threats.

Q: Which ate the key investment areas for the company’s momentum?

New investment will focus on our people, facilities and processes to ensure we can bring Iron Mountain’s services to an increasing number of customers across the country. Our people are key as they will make sure our existing customers are provided with a high-quality service that meets their needs. They will also deliver the same high quality service consistently to our new customers in India, irrespective of their location.

As mentioned, modern Indian businesses expect the highest standard of storage facilities, information management processes and the strictest compliance procedures. Iron Mountain is committed to bringing these to its customers in India. Therefore, the core focus of Iron Mountain in India currently is to evolve our processes, facility standards and capabilities constantly to offer customers a consistent, best-in-class experience in every market where they require our services. Alongwith this, Iron Mountain in India will continue its strategy for growth in the market through strategic acquisitions to provide customers with a consistent experience everywhere. Iron Mountain also plans strategic investments to introduce key services to the Indian market in areas such as document management systems (DMS), digitization and secure shredding. The pace at which the Indian market is maturing is driving demand for these services.

Q: What are the market specific challenges you see in India, and how best is Iron Mountain to cope?

Given its size, India presents diverse challenges. Each region can have a distinctive set of climatic, geographic and demographic challenges. Iron Mountain, with its strategy of transformational growth, identified this in the early stages and therefore decided to structure the Iron Mountain India to ensure the same high level of service can be delivered to every part of the country. To this end, Iron Mountain created a structure of regional management, with the country divided presently in three regions; West, North & East and South – with region having a strong management team to drive the necessary change to meet its own specific challenges. This is helping Iron Mountain to understand the regional challenges and respond quickly by deploying existing resources or by investing sufficiently to enhance regional capabilities. Needless to say, customers have already started to feel the benefits of this unique structure as it aligns perfectly with their specific requirements and expectations. We are now serving our customers in 14 cities across India, which is the largest geographic footprint of any organisation in our industry.

Q: How do you see the Indian market progressing for Iron Mountain, over the medium and long term?

From an information storage and management perspective, the future is going to be very exciting for Iron Mountain India and its existing and potential customers. In India, over the past year, we have grown our customer base from 700 to 2,200 and have doubled our revenues. We now manage over 10 million cubic feet of stored documents and will soon add storage space to accommodate new customers. The government’s ambition to deliver digital services is creating opportunities for Iron Mountain to serve government departments and Public Sector Undertakings. Delivering services online will require digitisation projects to transform information born on paper to electronic copies for citizens to consult online. Information security will be key and indeed is a key driver for many organisations that work with us. Security, however, is not just about the bits and bytes.

Iron Mountain predicts a need for a network of large record centers serving the major metropolitan areas. These would serve public sector and mid-to-large Indian businesses across virtually every vertical, including banking and financial services, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. The day is not far away, when businesses in India will be legally required to manage sensitive and personal information in ways that do not expose that information to unacceptable levels of risk. Compliance requirements will come into force in India that will no doubt be similar to the laws now governing data protection and security in America and Europe. Consequently, Indian businesses and public sector undertakings will look for a partner who can help them meet these legal requirements. Iron Mountain is prepared and ready to support them.