Not depending on one single business or vendor proved rewarding for Central Data Systems (CDS) during the pandemic, forming part of many key learnings for the seventeen-year-old Bengaluru-based provider.
“It has always been our company’s policy that we do not put all our eggs in one basket, which we also realised quite early on since inception,” acknowledged Kota Subramanya, director of CDS. “The basket of offerings which we have built over the years has kept CDS in good stead.”
Operating as a premier IT infrastructure solutions provider and system integrator, CDS caters to the technology needs of organisations across the southern region of India, since starting out in 2003.
According to Subrahmanya’s business partner Suresh Halnur, “CDS has wide portfolio offerings from endpoint (edge) to data centre (core) and beyond (cloud). Today, edge solutions have bridged the deficit which we saw in the enterprise segment during the lockdown, due to the pandemic in India.
“While we have great alliances with different vendors, we always ensure not to have multiple competing brands on a single technology in our portfolio.”
For example, CDS is entirely focused on Cisco within the networking domain, while partnering with APC by Schneider for power and data centre builds. More broadly speaking, the provider aims to continue enabling business transformation through digital infrastructure solutions, supported by professional services spanning multiple company sizes and sectors.
So much so that CDS’ ‘stay close to the customer’ mantra hasn’t changed since launching to the market.
“We are proud to state that we haven’t just experienced this approach now but also during the recession of 2008,” added Subramanya and Halnur in unison. “By staying close to customer, we can understand their requirements and in response create seamless and cost effective solutions to help them effortlessly adapt to dynamic market environments, in a timely manner.”
In looking back on the early stages of Covid-19, Subramanya cited the importance of cash flow in helping the business navigate the stormy pandemic waters of delayed payments and paused projects. Naturally, such an unexpected event tested the resilience of CDS as an organisation in terms of how the business adapted and adjusted its strategy to counter rising industry challenges.
“Digital payment platforms were key solutions as we incorporated payment gateways with our payment mechanism interface for customers,” Subramanya. said. “We also opened our e-store for low-end products such as uninterruptible power supplies [UPS] and Cisco work-from-home solutions through an online payment gateway, in addition to enabling a unified payments interface (UPS) and point-of-sale [POS] capabilities to ensure smooth functioning and healthy cash flows.”
Power of the tech stack
In the Indian market, CDS is positioned as a provider capable of offering a single interface for technology integration and services through long-term and strategic vendor alliances.
For example, the business goes to market as a Premier Partner of Cisco, Business Partner of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Platinum Partner of Dell Technologies, as well as an Enterprise Partner of VMware and Data Centre Elite Partner of APC by Schneider. With hyper-converged infrastructure and multi-cloud adoption also rising across India, CDS is also engaged as a Master Level Partner with Nutanix.
For Halnur, demand for cloud, security and collaboration solutions remains higher than normal in the local market, creating opportunities for the channel ecosystem as a result.
“CDS is no different in that we added manpower to address the increased demand in these technologies,” he said. “Work-from-home solutions continue to experience strong traction and we continue to see the volumes increasing. As a full service provider of digital infrastructure solutions, we were focused on security, collaboration and cloud before the pandemic anyways.”
Delving deeper, CDS works with multiple cloud offerings depending on customer requirements including infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS), supported by alliances with Microsoft for Office 365 and Azure deployments, alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS) and select internet service providers (ISPs).
“Security is also an evergreen technology segment irrespective of the times we live in,” Subramanya observed. “These uncertain times have re-enforced our decision to focus on security, network and data security which have always been areas of expertise for CDS.”
In looking ahead, Subramanya accepted that collaboration solutions and tools to cater for the sudden and fast growing remote workforce remains the “order of the day” in India. In response, CDS is collaborating closely with Cisco - among other vendors - to roll out collaboration-based solutions to meet heightened traction and adoption of Webex across the country.
Specific to the channel, the directors of CDS expect vendors to continue working closely with partners during such uncertain times.
“Vendors need to continue identifying loyal and committed partners who possess the required skill sets to sell their offerings,” Subramanya added. “This helps fortify the partnership as we look forward to programs from vendors to kick-start growth as well as sustain this during such a difficult phase.
“Know your original equipment manufacturer [OEM] has been engrained into CDS teams, spanning sales and services, marketing and other departments to align better and work on the priorities listed by our vendor partners.”
Channel Asia Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the ASEAN and Indian markets attempt to reposition for growth.