Indian channel partners outline key learnings from Covid-19

Indian channel partners outline key learnings from Covid-19

Yogesh Gupta - Executive Editor of IDG India - outlines how leading technology providers responded during the early phases of the pandemic, documenting areas of best practice and future opportunities

Credit: Channel Asia / IDG

With more than 25 years market experience, Delhi-based Esconet is a system integrator with strong heritage in the data centre, specifically, servers, storage, networking, security and virtualisation products.

“I have always believed in the 80:20 ratio and this again proved correct during the crisis,” Agrawal added. “80 per cent of the revenue comes from 20 per cent of the customer base. These loyal customers (20 per cent) are the ones who support you during the thick and thin and you simply can’t ignore them.

“During the crisis we took steps forward and helped all our customers in need but there are few customers who came forward to help us in some way to keep our cash flows running, which in turn helped us stay afloat also.”

In a simple assessment of end-user spending, Agrawal cited public cloud, digital workspace and managed services as the leading priorities during the next 12 months, shaped by a desire for post-pandemic recovery.

“Public cloud has already proven itself during the crisis and will continue an uptrend especially given that the pandemic is not going away soon,” he said. “Customers - especially small and mid-market - have realised that they lack resources to run applications on-premises and enable employees to work remotely.

“Customers are also looking to secure data while having the flexibility to access this from any network. Most are already considering public cloud and digital workspace to enable working from home.”

With customers “severely impacted financially” due to Covid-19, Agrawal accepted that cutting costs and shifting to an OPEX model is now becoming commonplace across the market.

“Managed services help customers cut costs and access support without having to continuously train manpower and endure high costs of retention,” he added.

Secure Network Solutions

As a cyber security system integrator - with presence in 10 locations across India - Secure Network Solutions (SNS) has been protecting enterprise customers since 2000. The Chennai-based provider offers design, consulting, implementation and support services with a specific focus on on-premises, cloud and endpoint security solutions.

“Cloud will continue to boom and so will security,” said N K Mehta, managing director and CEO of SNS. “Due to work-from-home, customers realise the ease of keeping servers and data on the cloud for enhanced manageability and accessibility from anywhere. This however raises the big question of data security, hence why cloud and security now go hand in glove.”

From a product standpoint, demand for secure remote access solutions continues to surge, supported by a sustained rise in multi-factor authentication and endpoint protection.

“With work-from-home here to stay, the issues of employee productivity and time management continue to concern HR and line managers,” Mehta added. “We expect this to continue creating demand for productivity and monitoring technologies.

“On-premises applications will also keep shifting to the cloud as the psychology of data being safe within the perimeter security of an office fades away. This will lead to the visualisation of threat perception and continued reliance on cloud security.”

Syndrome Technologies

As an entrepreneur in technology, Siddharth Mehta - CEO and managing director of Syndrome Technologies - considers working on profitability “more than before” as the biggest learning during Covid-19.

“This includes reducing overheads and optimising the workforce,” he outlined. “Channel partners in the business of IT see profit as the primary objective meaning that working on profitable deals only is the new normal.

“We continue to adopt our ‘listen, understand and act’ approach to deliver value to customers, shaped by our business ethics and core values. We don't just focus on what we deliver but rather how we deliver and that continues to set us apart in the marketplace during these times.”

Since starting out in 2005, the Mumbai-based system integrator is well versed in the delivery of “intricate and transformative projects” across major industry verticals in India, supported by deep expertise in networking, collaboration, virtualisation and data centre technologies.

“We see CIOs prioritising collaboration, software-as-a-service [SaaS] and security as the top technology investment areas, as well as managed services which is seeing increasing demand from Indian businesses,” Mehta added. “We continue to provide next-generation collaboration and compute products, along with robotics and AI to help organisations benefit from futuristic technologies.

“Our diversified portfolio of technologies continues to give rise to new deals which results in more profitability. Focusing on ‘run of the mill hardware-centric’ technologies could result in disaster for channel partners.”

Computers Network & Telecom

Headquartered in Delhi, Computers Network & Telecom (CNT) is building a fully-fledged portfolio of digital transformation technologies, backed by a skilled team of CIO experts across India.

“The biggest learning undoubtedly has been the need for organisations to be proactive and respond at speed to survive and thrive during such uncertain times,” observed Dipesh Mangla, CEO of CNT. “Business leaders must change their traditional ideology from system integrators to digital integrators to ensure they become true digital evangelists.

“We have aggressively reshuffled our technology stack and added competencies in new solutions such as cloud, security, collaboration and AI among others."

Specific to focus areas, CNT is prioritising protective network, collaboration, cloud security and predictive analytics to help organisations return to growth post-pandemic across India.

“We have expertise in these technologies but we are also equipping our teams with increased knowledge and technical capabilities in line with new requirements due to remote working,” Mangla explained. “We are also investing in cloud with leading providers and hyperscalers.

“Through having a large customer base built during the past two decades, we now have an upsell opportunity to continue enabling work-from-home technologies. Our team is regularly engaging with CIOs, CFOs and line of business managers to enable digitalisation to help meet business-outcome objectives and ensure business continuity in any kind of situation.”

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