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TVS-E reinvents itself The `194 crore TVS Electronics (TVS-E) has repositioned itself from being a broad-based peripherals company to being a transaction automation provider. With this, the company will focus on pushing point-of-sale (POS) solutions in the market. “The process of reinvention has been going on for the past couple of years. We realized that instead of focusing on a wide range of peripherals we needed to focus on high-growth niches. We therefore exited several peripheral lines and are today focused on only three—keyboards, POS devices and dotmatrix printers,” explained Ganesh Kumar PB, Head, Distribution Sales, TVS-E. As a result, TVS-E invested in developing new products and solutions in each of the core focus areas. Ganesh Kumar PB “We have developed new products such as POS terminals, and label and barcode printers, which are rugged enough for Indian use,” said Kumar. “Everything including the design, manufacturing and packaging has been done by us. Take for example the Gold keyboard we have developed, which is regarded as the most rugged globally. Priced at a premium of `1,000 over other brands, it lasts for 50 million strokes. It has been well-accepted in transaction-specific verticals such as banking and retail.” With the reinvention, TVS-E expects a change in its revenue mix. “POS solutions accounted for 10 percent of our revenue in 2009. Today it accounts for 20 percent, and by next year it will be 40 percent,” Kumar disclosed. The company has developed vertical-specific solutions for high-growth, transaction-oriented verticals such as retail, BFSI, hospitality, distribution and manufacturing. Added Kumar, “There are roughly three million retail outlets in India that need some kind of automation, and this number will grow to 10 million in the next three years. The IT channel must sense the opportunity and go after this market.” n — Ramdas S 4

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01/02/2011 www.crn.in

Juniper strengthens mid-market focus n Sonal Desai

C

ontinuing with its mid-market focus, Juniper Networks is in the process of hand-picking its top 50 tier-2 partners for exclusive training and certification programs. The company will invest in enabling these partners by providing them with demo equipment, joint marketing and lead generation, and also by building demo labs and POCs. Said Sudhindra Holla, Head of Channel, India & Saarc, Juniper, “We are planning to change our engagement with partners to make it deeper and more relevant to the market. We have close to 950 registered resellers, of which around 200 do regular business. Of these, we will pick the top 50 and make them a part of our lead generation and go-to-market for medium enterprises.” Under its Partner Growth Acceleration program, the company has outlined an aggressive market coverage strategy. It plans to increase its focus in the south by strengthening its sales operations in Hyderabad, and in the east by having more sales executives to engage with partners and customers. The company has also expanded its mid-market portfolio to include WLAN, complianceready network security and traffic management solutions, and WAN optimization products. Juniper says the expansion in the product portfolio and the focus on the mid-market has helped increase its addressable market significantly. “Today we have the products and solutions to target a total market opportunity of $850 million in India,” Holla informed. “In optimizing the addressable opportunity, the mid-market and channels are going to be key.” Admitting that earlier there were complaints regarding post-

“We have 950 registered resellers. Of these, we will pick the top 50 and make them part of our lead generation and GTM for medium enterprises” Sudhindra Holla

Head of Channel, India & Saarc, Juniper

sales support, Holla said, “We have been working hard to address the complaints we received from partners and customers regarding post-sales support and service. We have undertaken a major drive to train and certify support partners, and have made great progress in building Juniper skill-sets in the marketplace.” The company has been running its Fast Track program which provides free certification for entry-level switches, routers and security products. “We have spent a considerable amount in 2010 for building onground capacity,” explained Holla. “For instance, after the partner attains entry-level certification, he can go for advanced certification at a 50 percent discount. As a result, we have been able to increase the availability of certified professionals in India.” According to Juniper, in 2008 it had only 1,000-odd Juniper-certified professionals. Today it has 20,000. The company has also strengthened its distribution partners to manage mid-market opportunities. “Our distributors— Ingram Micro, Avnet and Transition—are one-point contacts to manage resellers and their pre-sales and post-sales support,” Holla said. n


contents

February 01, 2011 l Volume 4 Issue 19

Cover Story

20 NEWS Analyses

Channel Chief

Juniper strengthens mid-market focus

4

TVS-E reinvents itself

4

HCL to triple channel reach

11

Infor’s new Partner Network Program

11

Canon merges Océ India subsidiary

12

Remarked SMPS causes issues

12

DDR3 prices crash by 50 percent 13 Lenovo, NEC discussing joint venture?

13

Microsoft launches CRM Online

13

Targus on a global expansion drive

13

Editorial 8 Opinion

10

Feedback

10

Channel Buzz

30

Shadow Ram

34

Get Personal

34

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16

Hemal Patel, MD & CEO, Elitecore Technologies, and Tushar Sighat, Vice President, Operations, Cyberoam

Market Focus Is Fusion an Atom killer? AMD’s new Fusion line of APUs is being positioned as a potential Atom killer. How will the market react to what’s perhaps AMD’s biggest gamble?

18 Role Model Anuj and Neeraj Mediratta have created a different USP for their company, Ace Data Systems, by being among the few solutions providers with deep skills in providing end-to-end storage solutions

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READ More

6

Leading IT channel companies are formulating inorganic growth strategies and are looking at funding options ranging from strategic investments to IPOs to private equity placements

Tech Focus Office for Mac 2011 The CRN Test Center reviews Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, and finds its ability to work with Office Live and Apple’s MobileMe iDisk an important new function

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edit opinion Volume 4, Issue 19

Fortune favors the brave dhaval valia

I

have often wondered why IT channel companies are so shy of exploring the various funding options and several innovative financial instruments which can help them grow. In sectors other than IT, we have seen several companies smaller in size go for IPO and PE investments. Many IT channel companies I know have a strong growth performance record with a good balance sheet, yet I find them often telling me that they are not yet prime for inorganic growth funding. Is it the lack of confidence in their company’s ability to deliver sustained growth? Is it the lack of knowhow to explore the various financing options? Is it the fear of losing control over the company? Probably it’s a combination of all three. Many deserving IT companies fear losing control over the company if they were to either take it public or get a private equity investor. But isn’t business about taking risks, although calculated? The higher the risk the higher the reward. My favorite example is Infosys. In 1993, when Infosys launched its IPO, its revenue was $30 million. Many of us may even recall that the Infosys IPO was almost called off because it was significantly undersubscribed a few days before its closing. The IPO just about managed to go through. The rest is history. It was also the time when the outsourcing theme was just evolving and India was nowhere on the IT map or the economic map of the world. Today, it’s an important destination on both the maps. It was the conviction of Narayana Murthy and his team about the future of outsourcing and Infosys’ ability as a company to deliver on the promise. Many IT channel companies, despite having been around for 10-15 years, aren’t convinced about their own abilities and hence are unsure about taking their companies public or opening up for investment. With a few companies I also sense a certain discomfort and distrust in dealing with financial entities. There is a feeling that raising funds through either the PE or IPO route entails doing something that may not be entirely above board. While that may be true to an extent, there are several bankers and consultants out there who are transparent and compliant. For any industry to sustain growth, it’s important for capital to flow in. The IT distribution sector unfortunately isn’t seeing any big capital inflow and that could be one of the reasons for the segment not achieving its fullest potential. What we need in the IT channel are a few companies like Infosys which can compete with the finest globally. Are you ready for it? n E-mail CRN Executive Editor Dhaval Valia at dhaval.valia@ubm.com 8

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Managing Director : Sanjeev Khaira Printer & Publisher : Sajid Yusuf Desai Director : Kailash Shirodkar Executive Editor : Dhaval Valia Contributing Editor : Ramdas S Assistant Editor : Sonal Desai Principal Correspondent : Abhijeet Mukherjee (Mumbai) Senior Analyst (Online) : Pratiksha Hardas Design Assistant Art Director : Deepjyoti Bhowmik Designers : Yogesh Naik, Shailesh Vaidya, Jinal Cheda Marketing Senior Executive : Arshi Khan, Sejal Acharya Advertising Co-ordinator : Jagruti Kudalkar Operations Head—Finance : Yogesh Mudras Head—Operations & Administration : Satyendra Mehra Sales bangalore Regional Director : Anees Ahmed anees.ahmed@ubm.com (M) +91 98450 32170 Deputy Manager—Sales : Satish Kutty satish.krishnankutty@ubm.com (M) +91 98452 07810 Delhi Regional Director : Pankaj Jain pankaj.jain@ubm.com (M) +91 98101 72077 Deputy Manager—Sales : Sanjay Khandelwal sanjay.khandelwal@ubm.com (M) +91 98117 64515 Mumbai Head Business Development : Salil Warior salil.warior@ubm.com (M) +91 99875 80188 Deputy Manager – Sales : Sagar Nanal sagar.nanal@ubm.com (M) +91 98202 81302 production Deputy Manager : Prakash (Sanjay) Adsul Logistics Assistant Manager : Bajrang Shinde Subscriptions & Database Manager : Manoj Ambardekar manoj.ambardekar@ubm.com Senior Executive : Deepanjali Chaurasia deepa.chaurasia@ubm.com Head Office UBM India Pvt Ltd, 1st floor, 119, Sagar Tech Plaza - A, Andheri-Kurla Road, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400072, India Tel: 022 6769 2400; Fax: 022 6769 2426 Printed and Published by Sajid Yusuf Desai on behalf of UBM India Pvt Ltd, 6th floor, 615-617 Sagar Tech Plaza - A, Andheri-Kurla Road, Saki Naka Junction, Andheri (E), Mumbai 400072, India. Executive Editor: Dhaval Valia Printed at Indigo Press (India) Pvt Ltd, Plot No 1c/716, Off Dadaji Konddeo Cross Road, Byculla (E), Mumbai 400027 Associate Office - Pune Jagdish Khaladkar, Sahayog Apartment 508 Narayan Peth, Patrya Maruti Chowk, Pune 411 030 Tel: 91 (020) 2445 1574 (M) 98230 38315 email: jagdishk@vsnl.com USA Huson International Media David Steifman david@husonusa.com Tel: 212 268 3344 ext. 102 Fax: 212 268 3355 April Ramirez april@husonusa.com Tel: 408 879 6666 (M): 408 429 4516 Fax: 408 879 6669

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EMEA Huson International Media Gerry Rhoades Brown, gerryrb@husonmedia.com Tel: +44 19325 64999 Fax: + 44 19325 64998 Important Every effort has been taken to avoid errors or omissions in this magazine. In spite of this, errors may creep in. Any mistake, error or discrepancy noted may be brought to our notice immediately. It is notified that neither the publisher, the editor or the seller will be responsible in respect of anything and the consequence of anything done or omitted to be done by any person in reliance upon the content herein. This disclaimer applies to all, whether subscriber to the magazine or not. For binding mistakes, misprints, missing pages, etc, the publisher’s liability is limited to replacement within one month of purchase. © All rights are reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Mumbai only. While care is taken prior to acceptance of advertising copy, it is not possible to verify its contents. UBM India Pvt Ltd. cannot be held responsible for such contents, nor for any loss or damages incurred as a result of transactions with companies, associations or individuals advertising in its newspapers or publications. We therefore recommend that readers make necessary inquiries before sending any monies or entering into any agreements with advertisers or otherwise acting on an advertisement in any manner whatsoever.


edit opinion The art of giving Kelley Damore

bandwagon as we have seen the dotcom bust, so there is always the question if the model of cloud computing will go bust as the dotcom business did.

W

e make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give—Winston Churchill We are just out of the holiday season and I wanted to talk a little about giving back. Here at CRN we have an initiative called Channel@Work under which we partner with a local nonprofit organization, and our employees, event sponsors and attendees can volunteer. In the past we have partnered with social initiatives such as Habitat For Humanity, Support Our Troops, Dress For Success and Cradles To Crayons, among others. Ingram Micro’s VentureTech has a similar program, and earlier this year its Big Apple chapter, which comprises 35 solution providers, donated $30,000 worth of equipment and IT services to a New York women’s shelter. I am grateful that I work in an industry that understands it is our responsibility to help others who don’t have the resources we do. Two individuals deserve special attention this year. The first is Guy Fessenden. Guy ran DIS Research, a $120 million company that reached No. 220 on our VAR500 list in the 1990s. But right now Guy is putting his 53-year-old body through its physical paces to highlight an often overlooked mental illness—schizophrenia. Earlier this year, he embarked on a quest to run the equivalent of 100 marathon lengths over a 140-day period. He isn’t a lifelong marathoner or triathlete. Rather, he is a dad who wants to raise awareness for an illness that has afflicted his daughter for 12 years. Guy started in Georgia in October and hopes to reach the Pacific sometime in February. Guy keeps followers updated on his Facebook page at facebook.com/afathersjourney and his website www.afathersjourney.org. Check it out. For Zack Shuler, fatherhood was also the impetus to give back. Zack is the CEO of Cal Net Technology in Northridge, California, and this year he adopted a child from Ethiopia (I too adopted a little boy from Ethiopia three years ago). During that trip he saw extreme poverty first hand and the need for infrastructure and services to help people help themselves. When he returned to the US he got involved with a non-profit organization called Opportunity International, which specializes in micro-finance and provides loans to individuals in developing countries to start their own business. Opportunity International recently secured a $1.3 million grant from Credit Suisse, which will fund three mobile banks in Africa and five mini-bank branches in Colombia to expand micro-finance to rural areas. I would encourage each of you to think about ways you can give back, whether it is in your own community or halfway around the world. Your IT skills, your entrepreneurial spirit and ambition are all things that we desperately need. As I like to tell my 4- and 6-year-old children—you never feel good doing something bad and you never feel bad doing something good. n E-mail Kelley Damore at kelley.damore@ec.ubm.com 10

Computer Reseller News

01/02/2011 www.crn.in

Nitin S Webtech Solutions, Delhi

ISODA doing a good job Good Outlook 2011 issue The Outlook 2011 issue gave insights into what to expect from the future. Cloud computing surely seems to be gaining ground, and resellers need to closely review the impact of it—positive and negative—on their current business model. At the same time, vendors need to educate resellers on how to build a business around cloud computing. Resellers like myself are a bit skeptical of jumping onto the

Congratulations to ISODA for putting up a great show. It’s good to see that ISODA is working toward inculcating best practices. I would also like to congratulate M Prabhakar Kini, MD, Kinfotech, for announcing an award for excellence in the software reselling and solutions business. Hope this will encourage many more companies to emulate Kini’s leadership in creating a strong company like Kinfotech. Nitin Shirguppe Microworld Infotech, Bengaluru

Send your feedback at editor@ubmindia.com or post your views on www.crn.in

Advertiser Index Company name

Page No

Samsung 2 Samsung 35 Luminous 3 Wipro 5 Compuage 7 WeP 9 Epson 23 Biz Secure

32

KSG Technologies

32

Quick Heal

33

Netapp 36


starting line HCL to triple channel reach n RAMDAS S

H

CL Infosystems has made plans to grow its channel reach by over 300 percent over the next 12 months. Apart from a renewed focus on its PC business, the vendor has set up separate teams to manage the consumer and SMB channels. The IT major is betting on its lifestyle electronics and mobile phone distribution business to augment its IT products and services business. The vendor represents brands such as Nokia, Kodak, Kingston, Sandisk and Plantronics. “HCL enjoys one of the biggest channel networks which has been the strength of our distribution business. We reach more than 11,000 towns and over 93,000 retail outlets. We have 27 warehouses spread across 24 states, and over 700 stockists,” informed George Paul, Executive Vice President, HCL Infosystems. HCL presently has around 3,000 channel partners with a reach of around 600 towns for its PC business. This includes 500 partners selling to small offices and the SMB market. “We will now leverage on the infrastructure and channel reach we have built for our lifestyle electronics business and grow our IT channels. Our plans are to reach to over 1,500 towns in the next 12 months, and address close to 9,000 resellers,” revealed Paul. HCL will have separate teams to grow its consumer and SMB business. Said Paul, “We are putting in place an SMB team which will help partners who are focused on the SMB business. Apart from our PC and server product lines, we will take our solutions and services through partners. Solutions will be HCL tested and certified, and would include messaging, storage, security and business continuity.

“Apart from our PCs and servers, we will take our services through partners. Solutions will be HCL tested and certified” George Paul

Executive VP, HCL Infosystems

Partners will be trained to take the solutions to the market. We hope to have around 1,500 partners in our channel ecosystem to address the SMB space by 2012.” In the past two quarters channels have been reporting aggressive pricing from HCL. “I do not think we are in the price game,” Paul remarked. “But it’s true that every quarter you will see some SKU from HCL that is priced better than the competition.” Apart from the core PC line, Paul said that HCL will continue to focus on its manufacturing operations in the country, and will continue to introduce more IT peripherals under the HCL brand name. HCL sells a range of products including keyboards, monitors, racks, NAS, passive networking components, POS and kiosks. “What differentiates us from other brands is the service we provide,” said Paul. “We cater to 4,000 towns across India through 14 remote support centers, 505 service offices, 390 warehouses and 150 repair centers. We are also launching an authorized service partner program which would add to the numbers by another 150. We are perhaps the only PC brand in the country which offers 24x7x365 online and telephonic support to its customers.” n

must

read

Infor’s new Partner Network Program ERP vendor Infor is in the process of rolling out its new Partner Network Program (PNP) in India. “The PNP brings all our partners under one umbrella. Presently we have four separate programs for resellers, solution providers (SPs), complementary partners and systems integrators. We intend to bring all new and existing partners under the consolidated program by May 2011,” said Lawrence Chan, President, APAC, Infor. The company is also enhancing its partner network in India and intends to add several new regional and vertical-specific SPs. “Globally, Infor ranks third behind Souma Das SAP and Oracle,” said Souma Das, Managing Director, Infor India. “In India we have an overall market share of 10 percent in terms of revenue and installed base in the ERP segment.” Infor’s portfolio consists of ERP, warehouse management, transport management, scheduler and advance planner for SCM, enterprise asset management, performance management and PLM. Das explained the new PNP. “As of today we have different partners for each of these offerings. The new program consolidates our engagement with the partner and rewards him for cross-selling and integrating the various product lines.” He said Infor’s priority was to expand its market coverage to tap manufacturing and distribution companies in small cities. “Based on our strengths we have identified key manufacturing clusters. For instance, Aurangabad is emerging as an auto manufacturing hub, and we are identifying partners in the region who can provide our solutions.” Infor is developing a joint marketing approach for the new markets. It will provide all support for select partners to enable them to bid for larger projects, tenders and outsourcing contracts. “We are also launching, for the first time in India, a partner certification program to train partners and their employees,” informed Das. The certification program will be announced in a couple of months. n — Sonal Desai

Computer Reseller News

01/02/2011

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11


starting line Canon merges Océ India subsidiary n CRN Network

C

anon India has decided to merge the Indian operations of Océ, a Netherland-based company, in which it acquired a 90 percent stake in 2009. Océ is a provider of production and wide-format printing solutions and services. With the merger, Canon India expects to generate `100 crore revenue from this segment in 2011. The company has also formed two new business divisions to focus on this segment and appointed separate heads—Puneet Datta to manage the Océ production and printing division, and Rajeev Tewari to lead the wide-format imaging division. It has also put in place a dedicated team of 50 sales and service personnel to drive this business. Commenting on the alliance, Alok Bharadwaj, Senior Vice President, Canon India, said, “The

“Currently, Canon has 19 products in the professional printing portfolio, and together with Océ this will increase to 70 products” Alok Bharadwaj

Senior Vice President, Canon India

size of the digital printing industry in India is `1,000 crore. Presently there are around one lakh offset printers and 1,000 print shop providers. The digital printing industry in India is expected to grow at 25 percent year-on-year. Océ, being a world leader in various

printing segments, including the production printing domain, will supplement Canon’s processes and infrastructure. This will effectively enhance our ability to unlock considerable market potential and to become a key growth driver in the digital printing market.” Canon launched its production printing business in late 2007; this contributed `30 crore in 2010. “Currently, Canon has 19 products in its professional printing portfolio, and together with Océ the portfolio will increase to 70 products. The alliance will offer customers the largest portfolio in the professional printing space,” added Bharadwaj. The merger is part of Canon’s broader vision to achieve $1 billion in revenue from India by 2015. In 2010 Canon India recorded revenue of `1,260 crore, growing at more than 50 percent over the previous year. n

Remarked SMPS causes issues n Ramdas S

A

ssemblers are complaining that many mainstream enclosures available in the market today across brands don’t work with the Intel Core i7 platform. They say that this is because the Switch Model Power Supply (SMPS) available with the enclosures are remarked and don’t meet the power requirements of Core i7 PCs. “We recently assembled a few PCs with Core i7 and a dedicated 1GB graphics card in an enclosure from a popular brand with an SMPS having a power rating of 400W. Although the PCs based on Core i7 with dedicated graphics has a power requirement of 220W, the SMPS didn’t work. When we trouble-shot the matter we realized that the SMPS was remarked and while it showed a power rating of 400W it’s power profile was actually less than 220W thus creating issues for the PCs,”

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01/02/2011 www.crn.in

“System builders need to be educated on this aspect as having a good quality power supply is important for the functioning of the PC” MA Mannan

Country Manager, Corsair India

said RV Ravichandran, Partner, IBS Systems, Bengaluru. However, not everyone is surprised. “It is a known secret in the industry that many cabinets come with remarked SMPS. While the SMPS shows a power rating of 400-450W on it, the actual power rating is between 160W and 180W,”

said MA Mannan, Country Manager, Corsair India. “Many customers and resellers have started realizing this since Core i5 and Core i7 processors along with graphics cards require in excess of 200W.” Observed Sunil Kumar, CEO, Lampo Computers, Bengaluru, “An average system builder is not aware that there is a strong influx of remarked cabinets in the market, and hence it is important that they test the SMPS before buying. You have all types of cabinets available starting from `750, and many a time resellers go after lower-priced products which more often than not are remarked.” Added Mannan, “System builders need to be educated on this aspect as having a good quality power supply is important for the functioning of the PC and its lifecycle. All component vendors need to drive this point home with their channel.” n


starting line DDR3 prices crash by 50 percent n RAMDAS S

D

DR3 prices have hit an alltime low following sluggish markets and liquidation of stocks by major Far Eastern distributors as the Chinese New Year approaches. According to the recent report by DRAMExchange, the lowest price for a 4GB DDR3 module quoted for the third week of January 2011 was around $32, which is approximately 50 percent lower than the price at the start of December 2010. “Prices have been steadily dropping. It’s a great time to upgrade or buy new memory,” said Suresh Purohit, Manager at Hyderabad-based DRAM India, a memory distributor. “Spot prices for a 4GB DDR3 module have dipped to less than `2,000 from `4,000 during the past 45 days.” J Ramesh, Manager at Chennai-

based Ralco Synergy added, “There is nothing new in the lows we are seeing in the DRAM market. It’s a cyclical trend that we have seen in the past too. In Q3 and Q4 memory prices usually go up due to the Christmas season, and once that is over, it falls.” According to MA Mannan, Country Manager, Corsair, the other reason for the price crash is the transition that is happening from 45nm to 32nm manufacturing. “Leading chip manufacturers have moved a large chunk of their memory manufacturing to 32nm fabs and hence are liquidating the 45nm inventory in order to move completely to the new and more efficient fabrication process.” Mannan sees memory prices firming up after the Chinese New Year which is on February 3, 2011. n

Lenovo, NEC discussing joint venture? n Zewde Yeraswork

L

enovo is reportedly in talks with Japanese hardware company NEC regarding a joint venture in the PC business. According to a report from Reuters, Lenovo may launch a joint venture in PCs with NEC, the leading manufacturer in Japan’s PC market. Although it is unclear exactly what a partnership between the NEC and Chinese Lenovo would entail, NEC might allow Lenovo to become a diversified computer hardware maker. NEC’s broad range of hardware product offerings includes thin clients, servers, supercomputers, projectors, monitors and point-ofsale systems. Teaming up with NEC could

help Lenovo expand in Japan. In addition, an alliance or joint venture with Lenovo would give NEC an opportunity to be a global player in the PC business once again; while NEC is a strong brand in Japan, the company is no longer a major worldwide PC manufacturer. According to Nikkel Business Daily, a deal with Lenovo is not expected to prevent current NEC systems from coming to market as scheduled. However, it would add to the recent trend of Chinese companies venturing into the Japanese market as well as Lenovo’s ambitious global PC strategy. Nikkel reports that in the event of a deal, Lenovo is likely to invest in developing NEC’s technology while seeking to expand its market share in Japan.n

must

read

Microsoft launches CRM Online Microsoft has launched the Dynamics CRM Online cloud service which will be available in India with a Hindi interface. It is offering a 30-day trial to both customers and partners. Microsoft has also launched an aggressive program to convert Salesforce.com and Oracle customers to Dynamics CRM Online. Customers who switch over to CRM Online before June 30, 2011 will receive an incentive of up to $200 per user, which can be used for availing services such as migrating data or customizing the solution. The cloud offering is the first to feature the latest 2011 version of Dynamics CRM and is available at a promotional price of $34 per user per month for the first 12 months to customers who sign up before June 30, 2011. The onpremise and the partner-hosted versions will be launched on February 28 globally. Worldwide, more than 11,500 customers and 2,000 partners have used the beta version of Dynamics CRM 2011. n — CRN Network

Targus on a global expansion drive Delhi-based enterprise VAR, Targus Technologies, is geared up to spread its footprint in markets across the globe and will target Australia, Japan and Africa in 2011. The company began its operations in Singapore by setting up an office there in H22010. Targus has set up a separate division to drive international business. “We have outlined an aggressive global expansion strategy with an aim to garner $10 million in international revenue by the end of FY2011-12. In 2010 the volume of revenue generated by the Singapore office was $1 million. Our plan is to enter into partnerships with likeminded international companies in order to boost our market proliferation,” said Balwinder Singh, Director, Targus. For its global customers, Targus will offer remote infrastructure management services and systems integration services. The company already has a state-of-the-art remote infrastructure management center in Gurgaon. n — CRN Network

Computer Reseller News

01/02/2011

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channel chief “IVA helps transform IT silos into shared infrastructure” Surajit Sen, Director, Channels & Marketing Alliances, NetApp India, spoke to Abhijeet Mukherjee & Sonal Desai about the company’s go-to-market strategies and partner initiatives NetApp recently entered into an alliance with Cisco and VMware for IVA. What exactly is IVA? Imagine Virtually Anything (IVA) is our latest specialization that builds on our alliance with Cisco and VMware. The industry’s first end-toend secure multi-tenancy solution, it helps transform IT silos into shared infrastructure to reduce costs and manage business needs better. We are urging our partners to custom-build stacks that include Cisco, VMware and NetApp tools. Essentially the building blocks of the cloud, the stacks offer network storage and compute facility. The IVA program allows partners to develop and demonstrate expertise in selling shared infrastructure solutions. Then we have FlexPod for customers who want to roll out the cloud in a short time. This is a pre-validated and pre-sized data center solution. We suggest the number of Cisco UCS servers, Nexus switches or VMware licenses that the customer needs to buy for a particular storage and number of users. We are currently working with six Cisco partners who have expertise in the vendor’s data center technology. These include TCS, Wipro Technologies, HCL Infosystems, HCL Comnet, Datacraft and SK International. SK is the only tier-2 partner, but we plan to add more as the concept matures.

Services on the cloud are still a sore point with partners. What are you doing to encourage partners and dispel their fears? Going forward, we see the IT channel and telcos cohabiting. Each has skills that complement the other’s business. We are preparing our IT channel to roll out services bundled with those of the telcos. Based on the change in the buying patterns of

“Our tier-2 partners—such as MIEL, Veeras Infotek and Locuz Enterprise Solutions— now offer opex or capex payment options, or a mix of both, to their customers” 14

Computer Reseller News

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customers, we have started two new initiatives. We have understood the global system integrator vs regional system integrator demarcation, and adjunct the partners accordingly. We are also bringing the cloud service providers (SPs)—essentially the large telcos—to the fore. On the other hand, we decided not to offer cloud services so that there is no conflict with partners who specialize in these services. We brought all our tier-2 partners under our SP program, and continue to help the telecom SP with tips on how to sell. Our tier-2 partners—such as Miel e-Security, Veeras Infotek and Locuz Enterprise Solutions—now offer opex or capex payment options, or a mix of both, to their customers. At the moment we have 80 tier-2 partners enrolled in the program in India and Saarc. We are also looking for smaller customers in tier-2 cities who want to use our cloud services. In addition, we are scouting for cloud SPs who would take our technology to these smaller cities.

We hear that several NetApp partners are entering the consulting domain. Our partners make a profit on services. We invest a lot in training them, plus we don’t compete on the service provision side. Our Authorized Service Provider (ASP) Program and Professional Services Certified (PSC) Program are the first steps in that direction. ASP deals with post-implementation support, while PSC deals with implementation and integration. In addition, we help partners to price and brand their services. Partners have the option to do one or both of the programs. We also have the Partner Gear Program, wherein we provide equipment to partners for customer demos and POCs.

Can you give us a sense of the customer deployments and the scale of projects? We are a 100 percent channel-centric company, and all our deployments are through the channel. Although we cannot disclose numbers, suffice it to say that Yahoo


channel chief India uses 3PB and Rediff 1.5PB. We have banking customers such as Shamrao Vithal, ICICI and Kotak Mahindra, and telecom clients like Tata Communications, Tata Teleservices and Vodafone. Insurance is another sector that we lead with clients such as Aviva and HDFC Life. We work across verticals. Media is big for us. Hollywood blockbusters like Tron, Shrek 1, Shrek 2 and The Lord of the Rings used NetApp technology.

How did the cloud impact your strategies for unified storage? Both are complementary. We have a mature unified storage system which has the capability to scale out. The scale-out capabilities enable customers to add more storage, with a layer of virtualization on top. We have a wide range of storage efficiency parts, so we are also doing thin provisioning, thin replication and thin cloning. In November we added one more capability to our unified storage portfolio: data compression. On the same storage we can now compress data and then deduplicate it.

How do you choose your partners? We are always on the look-out for good partners, but we have a conservative channel approach. There are two parameters which we consider while selecting partners: one is if they are active, the second is if they are productive. An active partner is one who does business with us at least once in a particular quarter, while a productive partner is one who does business with us for three

“Our business is not directly proportional to the number of partners. A large number of partners would increase channel conflict; they would fight for the same opportunity� successive quarters. We ensure that all partners are first active and then productive. We try to help partners who are not focused. We then observe them closely for the next two quarters. If they still remain under-performers, we part ways amicably. We believe in the equitable distribution of our business among partners. Our business is not directly proportional to the number of partners. A large number of partners would only increase channel conflict; they would crowd the market and fight for the same opportunity.

What has been the growth path for NetApp? I believe we have done well. We started with a 3-member team in the first year and had 100 people for field operations the year after. Today, after a decade, we have 1,200 employees in India. We have a big engineering facility at Bengaluru, second only to that in the US. Recently we acquired land for close to $26 million. Geographically, we have already started expanding to places like Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Goa, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Vizag, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Bhubaneshwar. Although our products are focused on enterprises, we are expanding our presence in the higher-end of the SMB segment. n

10th Edition

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will be published in two consecutive issues of CRN dated March 1st and March 15th The specials will capture and analyse the channel satisfaction across consumer and commercial product categories in around 200 cities. To leverage on the huge readership of these specials, book your space and be visually present. Contact: Salil - +91 9987 580188

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channel chief “Becoming No 1 cannot happen by fluke” After Cyberoam recently won the top position in the Indian UTM appliance market, Dhaval Valia & Sonal Desai discussed the achievement with Hemal Patel, MD & CEO, Elitecore Technologies, and Tushar Sighat, Vice President, Operations, Cyberoam It must be a great feeling to beat the global leader, Fortinet, in the Indian UTM market. Was it a thought-out objective or do you believe your competition faltered at a time when you did well?

acceptance there. We also set up a separate R&D center in Bengaluru to focus on developing 2,500+ node products. In addition, we improved our support considerably. I can proudly say that our post-sales support is the best in our field. In the nine cities where we have a direct presence, we offer customers a TAT of just 20 minutes. This is because while our competitors have external agencies to manage their post-sales support, we do it internally and have a dedicated remote management center which troubleshoots 80 percent of the customer issues remotely. The third element is the channel strategy and our partner ecosystem, both of which have played the most crucial role in making us a market leader.

PATEL: Becoming No 1 cannot happen by fluke especially when you are competing against the world’s top vendors—Fortinet and SonicWall. But I have to admit that our strategy was to be No 2 in 2010, which means our team has done well to give us market leadership in Q32010. Tushar and his team have done a phenomenal job. The results Hemal Patel have shocked many. Now we need to MD & CEO, Elitecore Technologies ensure that we remain at the top. “Our ranking among the Here I would like to share a global perspective with you. Cyberoam as global security appliance a UTM brand has gained significant makers has climbed from 25 acceptance across the 69 countries in 2009 to 15 in 2010. Today, we have presence in, and we have the Cyberoam business is emerged as No 2 or No 3 in many worth $35 million in the Middle East and African countries. global UTM space” Our ranking among the global Tushar, you have been at the security appliance makers has helm of Cyberoam’s sales and climbed from 25 in 2009 to 15 in channel operations from 2008 2010. Today, the Cyberoam business is worth $35 when it was in the ‘others’ category in research million in the global UTM space. While we are still reports. What are the three things you and your small compared to the $250 million revenue of Fortinet, team have done which has put the brand at the we are giving them tough competition in emerging top? markets. SIGHAT: When I joined Cyberoam the security channel was very small. You could count the security partners on your fingers, so our first goal was to expand the We had a peek at IDC India’s Q32010 UTM channel. market report, and it’s interesting that Cyberoam Even our competitors credit us with expanding the surpassed Fortinet comprehensively. For instance, market for UTM. Today, Cyberoam is the most widely your factory revenue of $2.71 million is almost distributed brand in its category, with active billing 35 percent more than Fortinet’s $1.99 million. happening across 400 partners in 50 cities. Also, what’s interesting is that you have made For increasing market coverage we undertook a this revenue on a much lower unit base. As massive customer awareness and channel training against Fortinet’s 1,122 units you sold only 937 program. Today, we have more than 2,000 certified units, which means you did some big deals in the Cyberoam professionals—this number we have enterprise segment. achieved in just two years. PATEL: Your analysis is right. In fact we too were In addition, we invested hugely in ground sales surprised to see Fortinet scoring so low on ASP because and technical teams in nine cities with the aim of they have a very strong connect with the enterprise handholding our partners and providing strong pre- and segment. post-sales support to win their and their customers’ Our enterprise business has done well. At the confidence. After putting all the key elements in place, beginning of 2010 we had revamped our enterprise 2010 was earmarked as the year to deliver—and we team and come up with a strategy to gain brand

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channel chief have succeeded in doing so. We have built a strong channel foundation, and our performance in 2010 shows that we have put in place the right partner ecosystem and customer strategy to deliver consistently and sustain our business growth. In 2008 we had a share of 7 percent in the Indian UTM market; this grew to 13 percent in 2009. In 2010 we should average around 20 percent as per our internal estimates.

innovative products and go-tomarket strategies. On the products front, we have several new offerings lined up for launch over the next six months. Having tasted success in the enterprise segment, we will continue to add more features to our products in keeping with customer requirements. You will see us launching a range of enterprise products with features that our competitors don’t have. SMB has been our forte. Having garnered significant market share What can we expect going Tushar Sighat in this space, we believe we can forward? VP, Operations, Cyberoam further expand the market now by PATEL: Over 50 percent growth in targeting small offices having less the next fiscal, not only for the India “In 2008 we had a share of than 10 users. business but also for the Cyberoam 7 percent in the Indian UTM We are currently beta testing brand globally. By 2013 we want market; this grew to a product developed by our R&D Cyberoam to cross $80 million and center in Ahmedabad for the SOHO emerge among the top five global 13 percent in 2009. In 2010 segment. This product, priced brands in the security appliance space. we should average around under $200, will revolutionize the We are confident of doing this 20 percent as per our UTM appliance space. as we are seeing the brand gain internal estimates” In the last two years we have acceptance in several new markets. spent more than 6 percent of our In Europe we are currently at the topline in developing enterprise position which we were at in India in and SOHO products, which in percentage terms is more 2007. But the growth we are seeing in some countries than what our competitors spend. in Europe over the past year or so suggests that we will The other big investment we have decided to make soon be among the top five players there. is to move our assembly line for India from Taiwan The US is the biggest market, hence it’s important to to Ahmedabad. This will make us more efficient in have a noticeable share there if you want to be among terms of time-to- market and also in terms of managing the top players. At the same time, the US market is logistics and pricing. We have taken up space at the not very receptive to new brands, hence our best bet upcoming IT Park in Ahmedabad. for succeeding in the US is to acquire companies there to grow inorganically. We are looking at acquisitions either in the US or Europe. For this we are looking to What are the plans on the channel front? raise funds. As you know, we already raised $10 million SIGHAT: The priority is to deliver on our channel in 2007 from the Carlyle Group. promise of consistent growth and good margins. We are The recent acquisition of McAfee by Intel has in the process of launching a comprehensive partner made the security domain the darling of private equity program which will help us engage with leading investors and venture capital funds. Cyberoam partners in a more purposeful way so that we can work with them on things like business planning, market development and capacity planning. Have you done a valuation of the Cyberoam The second priority is to continue the momentum business? we have gained in the enterprise segment. We are still PATEL: We haven’t, but the valuations are out there the third choice for large enterprises after Fortinet and as both Fortinet and SonicWall are public listed Check Point. The challenge is to build technologycompanies. Going purely by Fortinet’s market leading products and services, and also to have a strong capitalization-to-revenue ratio, Cyberoam should set of partners. be valued at $100 million. But if one were to also The third aspect is new market creation, which factor in the EBITDA, our valuation will be close to we are doing by launching a product for SOHOs at $130 million. Our EBITDA is 22 percent compared less than $200. We have also recently launched a to Fortinet’s less than 10 percent and SonicWall’s 4 pay-as-you-go service around our UTM technology in percent. We are a much more cost-efficient company partnership with managed service provider Spectranet. than Fortinet, and any PE firm will like this. This allows small businesses to secure their multilocation IT infrastructure at a monthly cost of between Any new initiatives planned for 2011? `5,000 and `12,000 without making any upfront PATEL: Now that we are in the market leadership investment in hardware and licensing. n position, it becomes important for us to continue with

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market focus IS fusion An atom killer? AMD’s new Fusion line of APUs is being positioned as a potential Atom killer. How will the market react to what’s perhaps AMD’s biggest gamble? n RAMDAS S

A

MD says that its new Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), code-named Fusion, could well be the start of a new era in computing, and that it is the biggest milestone since the launch of the x86 architecture. However, it’s too early to determine whether the step taken by the vendor to ship a CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) inside a single die will actually change the fortunes of the company. It depends on how AMD will position the products for OEMs and the system builder channels which have mixed opinions as far as the company’s new product lines are concerned.

What’s an APU? AMD’s new APU combines general-purpose x86 CPU cores with the programmable vector processing engines associated with the GPUs that are seen in modern-day discrete graphics cards. AMD’s APUs include a variety of critical system elements including memory controllers, I/O controllers, specialized video decoders, display outputs and bus interfaces. “Our biggest strength is that since these are full-fledged processing elements, you get truly programmable GPUs which allow our software partners to build applications to take full advantage of both scalar and vector hardware. This is the first time that one is able to do this on the same die,” says Raghuraman P, Director, Transaction Business, AMD India. In early January, rival Intel launched the Sandy Bridge platform (the next generation Core i) which also combines graphics functionality inside a single die, but is positioned and targeted at the high-end of the mainstream market. By contrast, AMD, at least at the moment, has targeted Fusion at the entry-level PC market. In addition, AMD says that this is the first programmable GPU inside the CPU, and that software developers can build applications targeting the architecture. In addition, the GPU available in Fusion has a discrete DirectX 11 support.

“Intel is positioning the products at prices which are high, while we are going after the entry-level PC market, which is significant in a country like India” Raghuraman P

Director, Transaction Business, AMD India

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AMD has also announced a program for developers with a choice to develop applications on ATI Stream, Open CL and Microsoft Direct Compute API. “It’s unfair to compare our products with what the competition has shipped,” states Raghuraman. “The design philosophy and product positioning are completely different. Intel is positioning the products at prices which are high, while we are going after the entry-level PC market, which is significant in a country like India.” Analysts and industry pundits look at Fusion as AMD’s answer to Intel’s Atom platform. According to Raghuraman, the product outperforms the Atom product line by a huge margin. The Fusion line-up, code-named Brazos, includes the E-350 dual-core chip (code-named Zacate) which runs at 1.6GHz and draws 18 watts of power. It is targeted at PCs which would be priced at about `15,000 and above (without monitor). The C-50 is a dual-core chip running at 1GHz (code-named Ontario); it draws 9 watts of power and is targeted at lower-cost computers—those starting at `10,000 (without monitor)—for which Intel is presently positioning the Atom processor. These chips are based on the new core called Bobcat announced by AMD last year. Notebook vendors such as HP, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo and Acer have announced models globally based on Fusion, and they would be launching their products in India in early February. However, not every vendor is teeming with enthusiasm. Says Sivakumar N, GM, Toshiba India, “We were the first to launch the previous-generation (Vision) AMD processor-based notebooks in India. While the product was no doubt good, we did not have enough success. At present we do not have an SKU in India. After seeing the response and based on the feedback from our channels we will take a call.”

Between a netbook and a notebook AMD expects its Fusion chips to power a new segment of mobile computers which would have larger screens than the present netbook size (10 inches). The new products would have 11.6, 12.1, 12.5 and 13.1 inch screens. AMD brands these notebooks as ultra-thin form factor. At present, vendors such as Lenovo, Dell and Sony are pushing the 11.6 inch form factor notebooks based on the previous-generation platform. It’s likely that in early February these vendors would announce the availability


market focus of their products in India, possibly replacing or adding to their existing portfolio of the Vision series considering that the price-points are very similar. Acer and Sony officials confirmed that they would be launching notebooks with Fusion chips in them. While they refused to reveal the exact pricing, sources say that the street prices will start at `20,000 for a mini-notebook sporting a 11.6 inch screen with a 1.6GHz processor. While he did not want to comment on the prices of OEMs, Raghuraman indicated that netbooks sporting Ontario would be priced and positioned at the same level as netbooks powered by Atom. Atom-based netbooks are priced at an entry-level price of `14,000.

Could it be an Atom basher? Without doubt, the price and positioning of the Brazos as well as the Zacate and Ontario platforms are targeted at netbooks and low power, small form factor desktops where Intel Atom processors have been enjoying a monopoly for the past three years. According to IDC, it shipped nearly 42 million Atom processors globally during 2010. Combining a dual-core x86 processor and the Radeon 6800 series chipset (which powers discrete graphics cards of mainstream PCs), and making it available at a price-point which is comparable to that of an Atom-based system looks good on paper. “One issue for Atom has been its lack of performance while processing multimedia-heavy applications. If performance can be provided at an attractive price package there could be customer acceptance,” observes Sunil Kumar, CEO, Lampo Computers. The market which Raghuraman and his team hope to leverage in India is the price-sensitive market for both desktops and notebooks. On the desktop front Zacate will be positioned for the fast-growing home theater personal computer market. AMD expects MNC OEMs to release, in the latter part of this quarter, models with low-power form factors as well as all-in-one (AIO) PCs based on the Zacate. In early February, AMD expects motherboard makers such as Asus and Gigabyte to ship integrated boards with the APU embedded. While all motherboard manufacturers refused to divulge their exact plans as well as their pricing, the prices are expected to start at around $100 (`5,700 on the street after duties) for an AMD E-350 processor with motherboard bundled. “The first samples are already out, and leading partners are currently testing the platform,” informs Raghuraman. Intel sells Atom processors as a bundle along with motherboards, and street prices range from `3,500 to

“AMD has not been able to capture sustainable market share in the past, so they need to do something special outside the technology and sales effort” Sandeep Lodha

Director, Netweb Technologies

`7,000 depending on motherboard specs and processors. This would mean that, typically, the Zacate would be too expensive for a system builder to build compared to at least the entry-level Atom motherboard bundles. However, Raghuraman says that it’s again unfair to compare the Zacate mainboard bundle with the vanilla Atom motherboard bundle. “This is a dual-core processor with a discrete graphics card inside which is powered at 18W. You will see our channel and OEM partners shipping innovative form factors and AIO PCs based on Zacate. The prices which you have seen for Zacate are for January. Give us a month or two and you’ll see very aggressive prices,” promises Raghuraman. Fusion’s fairer comparison would be with the Atom and Nvidia ION platform, which, at present price-points, would be more expensive than the indicated prices of AMD’s APU platform. Still, mere price-performance is not good enough when it comes to taking on the marketing muscle of Intel. “The idea sounds excellent,” remarks Sandeep Lodha, Director of the Delhi-based Netweb Technologies, “but this is not the first time AMD has released path-breaking technologies. They have not been able to gain leadership or capture sustainable market share in the past, so they need to do something special outside the technology and sales effort.” AMD is positioning its Ontario platform, which has a TDP of just 9W, for the tablet platform. The vendor is also eyeing the emerging mobile Internet devices space. Most partners, including Lodha, do not believe this would be an easy task. “Intel is extremely good at managing its channel ecosystem, and in supporting and guiding partners who want to create innovative products around different technologies such as Atom. Will AMD make similar investments to help the channel community innovate and introduce new products?” asks Lodha. AMD also needs to create better market awareness, and that would require them to spend heavily to educate customers and partners. The company has been very choosy about opening its purse in the past, but Raghuraman says things will be different this time around. “We are going to create the right noise. We know we have a winner with Fusion.” AMD needs to move fast because Intel is expected to ship its next-generation Atom processor (code-named Cedar Trail) by June or July this year, which could take away any possible momentum gained. In Q2 AMD will also be launching a mainstream desktop version of the Fusion processor, code-named Llano, which will have up to four cores. Intel is expected to counter that with cheaper Sandy Bridge processors around that time. Even so, there’s enough reason for AMD to be upbeat about the chances of the new platform. India is a very price-sensitive market, and there’s a huge opportunity for a value product line that offers performance. As Saji Kumar, Product Head at Acer India says, “There’s always a market in the country at every price-point, and customers are always looking for a choice.” That’s what AMD is betting on with Fusion. n

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cover story

Leading IT channel companies are formulating inorganic growth strategies and are looking at funding options ranging from strategic investments to IPOs to private equity placements n Dhaval Valia

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cover story

W

ith the slowdown seemingly behind and growth prospects looking stronger, leading IT channel companies are back to formulating aggressive inorganic growth strategies and are looking at options including acquisitions, public offerings and private equity investments from strategic and financial investors for funding their plans. “The strong economic growth story of India and the impressive bounce-back by the services segment has once again made the IT sector a preferred investment destination for both strategic and financial investors,” says Prateek Garg, Managing Director & CEO, Progressive Infotech. Progressive has outlined a time-bound strategy to get on board a strategic investor and is currently in the process of signing up with an investment banker for the same. “In the past we have received proposals for investments, but we weren’t ready internally. Now we have formed a team to specifically look at bringing in a strategic investor. Within the next 12 months we will have a strategic partner on board who will help take Progressive to the next phase of growth,” informs Garg. Progressive is looking at a strategic investor who is looking to capitalize on the India opportunity. “There is no doubt that India will be the biggest growth market for IT globally, hence leveraging the domestic opportunity is a key priority for us. We are looking at a strategic investor who can bring global expertise in tech integration, managed services delivery, cloud integration and e-governance solutions.” Another company actively seeking investments for inorganic growth is MIEL e-Security, which is close to signing up a PE investment deal. “The deal is expected anytime now. We have been in the process of finding the right private equity partner for the last several months through our investment banker, and have finally shortlisted one such company. Raising funds is vital to executing our growth plans of becoming a $100 million company by the end of FY2013-14,” says Kutty Nair, CMD, MIEL. MIEL’s primary objective of raising funds is to acquire companies in Europe where the company is looking to build a strong presence, and to invest in nonlinear businesses like information security training and IP-based managed services. “We have slotted our growth strategy in two areas— non-linear businesses which are more tech or IP-driven and less-people oriented such as training and whitelabel services; and linear businesses which are peopledriven which include consulting, support services and

“Within the next 12 months we will have a strategic partner on board who will help take Progressive to the next phase of growth” PrateeK GARG

MD & CEO, Progressive Infotech

IN A NUTSHELL Who is doing what in an effort to accelerate their business growth u MIEL e-Security is close to getting private equity investment from a financial entity. The company plans to use the fund to increase its international footprint by acquiring a company in Europe, and also investing in developing new IP-led solutions and services. u Progressive Infotech is in the process of partnering with a leading investment banker with a plan to get a strategic investor on board within the next 12 months. Inorganic plans include increasing the international footprint, building a strong managed services portfolio, and developing skill-sets in the cloud integration and services space. u Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services recently got an investment of `45 crore which it plans to invest in building its data center services, white-label cloud services and a strong e-governance solutions portfolio. u The ValuePoint Group, in the past 18 months, has either made strategic acquisitions or invested in companies with the aim to grow inorganically. Its recent acquisitions include a majority stake in DVOIS, a Class A ISP; Thoughtnet, which specializes in student management systems and e-learning content; and Technobind, a software services company which builds verticalspecific solutions. The company is planning an IPO soon. u Omnitech Solutions recently announced the acquisition of Avensus Netherlands BV, a high-end managed security provider to the BFSI segment. In a bid to increase its Europe business, the company has lined up $15million-20 million for cross-border acquisition of companies providing high-end managed services and cloud offerings in sectors like pharma and retail. u Allied has seen investment of `32 crore from Intel Capital for its remote infrastructure management business. It recently announced an international JV with eCops, a global managed security provider. n

managed services,” says Nair. Citing an example of tech-driven non-linear growth plans, Nair points to MIEL’s recent launch of a managed service—MEDS (MIEL Endpoint Diagnostic Service). Available to the Indian customer for `35 per desktop per scan, it is an agentless service that scans end-points based on best practices and gives compliance reports. The product can check 200 security parameters on desktops and servers for standards like ISO27001, PCI/ DSS, SOX, HIPAA, GLB and NIST. MEDS offers endpoint diagnosis of firewalls, installed software, audit logs, screen savers, antivirus, enabled services, running programs, auto updates, USB drives, password policies, patches and agent health. Nair says that MIEL has a well-defined road-map to develop many such IP-led services which could prove

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cover story to be force multipliers. He adds that a company with such IP-led services can be a possible acquisition target for the company. ValuePoint too has set an aggressive inorganic growth strategy which includes strategic collaboration and an IPO by the end of the next fiscal. Over the past two years the company has either made strategic acquisitions or invested in companies with the aim to grow inorganically.

It is presently in the process of consolidating these acquisitions; once this is done it will float an IPO, according to RS Shanbhag, CMD, ValuePoint Group. ValuePoint’s recent acquisitions include a majority stake in D-VoiS, a company having Class A ISP license and a strong wireless broadband play. Another company ValuePoint has invested in is ThoughtNet which specializes in student management systems

interview

“Trimax fitted our investment strategy really well” Mukul Gulati, MD, Zephyr Peacock India Management, talks about the company’s recent investment of `45 crore in Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services. He also provides insights into the PE market and Zephyr’s investment strategy What was the reason for investing in Trimax?

the pricing at this point could have an impact on the pricing of the IPO. At Zephyr our focus is to invest in small to mid-sized However, the indication I can provide you is that companies in emerging markets that have domestic traditionally PE funds look at an annualized return demand driven business. The reason we focus on of a minimum 30 percent and usually have a time such companies is because that’s where we see a horizon of 3-5 years. great opportunity to add value. These companies have great entrepreneurial promoters, but usually Are you looking at investing in more Indian flounder on the management side when it’s time companies? Is IT your preferred sector? to scale up. We play a significant role—financially, We are a generalist fund that invests in various strategically, organizationally—to help these sectors. Our focus in India is on sectors such as companies achieve their potential beyond mukul gulati pharma, IT, auto ancillaries and financial services. organic growth. Our investments in India include those made in Miles Trimax fitted our investment strategy really well. It’s Software, WLC India, Maxop Engineering, Metro Wireless, Trimax a mid-tier company, it’s focused on domestic demand, and it’s in and Aizant Research. a sector with high growth potential. Miles, Trimax and Metro can be categorized as IT companies. What we liked about Trimax is that they have a services-led Miles provides an automated end-to-end asset management systems integration and solutions model. They have strong platform to financial services companies. Metro Wireless on-ground services capabilities across 600+ cities, have a provides network planning and implementation services to telcos strong data center services practice, offer white-label cloud and ISPs. services, and have a strong government practice. They have a All these companies are small to mid-tier organizations and strong application and solutions offering in the transportation focus on the domestic opportunity. We don’t invest in software sector for automating the ticketing process, and have a strong services export firms as we believe that the global outsourcing customer base and pipeline in this segment from state and city theme has already been played out. Winners in the sector have transportation bodies. emerged. In fact, when we evaluated Trimax, we felt that the company The domestic IT market is largely under-penetrated and with its skill-sets and capabilities could easily grow at 200 under-served even when one compares India with its emerging percent; but was growing at only 60 percent. What they needed to country peers. deliver on their high-growth potential was a strong organization Businesses are recognizing the value of IT as the most —financially, strategically and management-wise. effective tool for collaboration, customer management and boosting productivity. On the government front too there is In FY2009-10 Trimax reported a topline of `350 crore. Most a realization that IT is essential to bring transparency and companies with a profile similar to Trimax have less than 10 accountability to governance. Hence over the next five years we percent EBITDA. Could you throw some light on how you see a huge opportunity in the IT sector. arrived at the valuation and what percentage equity you placed We are keen to invest in more IT companies that have a for `45 crore? business model which is capital- efficient. Typical resellers don’t I am not at liberty to disclose the valuations, the reason being fit our bill. that Trimax is planning an IPO soon and any disclosures about

We are keen to invest in more IT companies that have a business model which is capital-efficient. Typical resellers don’t fit our bill

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cover story and e-learning content. Thoughtnet has operations in India, South Africa, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Its third acquisition, Technobind, a Bengaluru-based software services company, is for building vertical-specific solutions. The other two acquisitions are US companies— A2six, a KPO focused on the legal domain, and Dirt LLC, which is into electronic forensic services. “We are today a group of nine companies and have grown to a size of `250 crore. So far all the funds for acquisitions have been raised from internal accruals. But for future acquisition and funding the organic growth of the nine group companies we are looking at an IPO toward the end of FY2011-12. We are also open to strategic partnerships which allow us to take our services to new markets,” informs Shanbhag.

Buzz returning The past one year has seen action returning to the IT sector, and there have been several large and small private equity investments and M&As. In October 2010, leading antivirus vendor Quick Heal received `60-crore PE investment from Sequoia Capital. Quick Heal plans to invest these funds in acquisitions that will expand its product portfolio and international footprint. Trimax, the infrastructure solutions and services company, also received `45-crore investment from Zephyr Peacock India Management for an undisclosed minority stake. The company is looking at acquisition and is planning an IPO. Data center and managed services provider Netmagic received a third round of funding of `70 crore from Nokia Growth Partners and Cisco Systems. Networking solutions provider, Geo Integrators, merged with Transit Systems Integrations, a company specializing in security surveillance and safety solutions. Listed companies like Allied Digital and Omnitech are also playing out their strong inorganic growth strategies. Omnitech recently completed a cross-border acquisition of managed infrastructure services provider Avensus Netherlands BV for $9 million, and the company is looking at another acquisition to the tune of $15 million-20 million. On the other hand, Allied has seen investment to the extent of `32 crore from Intel Capital for its remote infrastructure management business; it recently announced an international JV with global managed security provider eCops. “The buzz around M&A and private equity investments is increasing. Financial entities as well

“We have identified data center services, cloud services and governance solutions as the key segments for inorganic growth” surya prakash madrecha CMD, Trimax

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“Our recent acquisitions include a stake in D-VoiS, a Class A ISP; ThoughtNet, an e-learning solutions provider; and Technobind for vertical-specific solutions” RS Shanbhag

CMD, ValuePoint Group

as several solution providers from the US, China and Japan are keen on investing in Indian companies, specifically in mid-tier companies, as a strategy to enter the country which is projected to be the fastest-growing IT market,” says Garg. Nair agrees. He believes that the security and managed services segment is the hottest as far as financial companies looking to make private equity investments are concerned. “McAfee’s acquisition by Intel has invigorated interest among PE players in the security domain. As a result, even in private equity deals, PE firms are willing to pay a higher valuation for companies having a strong security play. In fact, the valuations we have got are close to 20 times our PE ratio,” he says. Mukul Gulati, Managing Director, Zephyr Peacock India Management, which recently invested `45 crore in Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services, says that PE funds like theirs are more keen to invest in small to mid-tier companies that have a domestic demand driven business model. “We don’t invest in software services export firms as we believe that the global outsourcing theme has already been played out. Winners in the sector have emerged. Our focus is to invest in small to mid-sized companies in emerging markets that have domestic demand driven business.” Gulati believes that the domestic IT market is largely under-penetrated and under-served even when one compares India with its emerging country peers. “It’s a positive thing that the Indian market has such low IT penetration. Over the next five years we see a huge opportunity in the IT sector. We are keen to invest in more IT firms that have a business model which is capital-efficient and scalable. Typical resellers don’t fit our bill,” Gulati adds.

Key themes for inorganic growth The key themes for leading channel partners’ inorganic strategy seems to be around managed services, cloud computing and e-governance solutions. Says Surya Prakash Madrecha, CMD, Trimax, “We have identified data center services, cloud services and governance solutions as the key segments for inorganic growth. In the government, we aren’t going after the large projects but instead focusing on tier-3 customers such as municipal corporations and state departments like transportation.” With the `45 crore funding from Zephyr, Trimax is planning to invest in building its data center services and also float its white-label cloud services aimed at SMBs. “In the past one year we have seen tremendous


cover story traction for our cloud services, namely Exchange Mail and Messaging solutions. Over the next couple of years our plan is to provide an entire cloud portfolio of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) including software, storage, backup and archival,” informs Madrecha. Madrecha says the company is actively looking at acquiring regional ISVs who have applications for different micro verticals. “The idea is to integrate these vertical-specific applications with our cloud offerings to provide an end-to-end IaaS offering to SMBs,” informs Madrecha. Progressive’s intention in getting a strategic investor is also driven by the need to acquire expertise in the areas of tech integration, managed services delivery, cloud computing and e-governance solutions. “What we have is a strong list of marquee customers in PSUs and the government sector, experience in providing managed services, and a strong balance sheet of 10 years. What we need from a strategic partner is technology expertise in the areas of cloud computing and e-governance solutions, and best practices in project execution and managed services delivery,” explains Garg. Even companies such as Omnitech and Allied have charted an expansion strategy around the acquisition of cloud computing and managed services companies. Omnitech’s recent acquisition of Avensus Netherlands is a step in that direction. Says Atul Hemani, MD and CEO, Omnitech Solutions, “Avensus provides high-end managed security solutions to banking and financial services customers globally. This acquisition will not only strengthen our presence in Europe but also provide us expertise to offer high-end services to the BFSI

“You will increasingly see the trend where a lot of Indian companies will go abroad, make investments and take the markets there” ATUL HEMANI

MD & CEO, Omnitech Solutions

segment across the globe. We are looking at similar companies that provide high-end managed services and cloud offerings in sectors like pharma, retail and BFSI.” Hemani also believes that the next few years will see several mid-tier Indian firms acquire companies in the US and Europe as part of a plan to expand their footprint outside the country. “You will increasingly see the trend where a lot of Indian companies will go abroad, make investments and take the markets there.”

Conclusion Industry pundits believe that there will be increased focus on Indian IT companies, but this time it will not be the traditional favorites—software services companies. Instead, it will be the turn of mid-tier companies focused on the domestic market. However, for mid-tier companies to attract these investments they need to have a business model which is capital-efficient and scalable. To get there, providing services-led infrastructure solutions will be key. n — Inputs from Ramdas S & Sonal Desai

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role model AN Ace up their sleeve Anuj and Neeraj Mediratta have created a different USP for their company, Ace Data Systems, by being among the few solutions providers with deep skills in providing end-to-end storage solutions n Abhijeet Mukherjee

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y size, Gurgaon-based Ace Data with revenue of `14 crore in FY2009-10 may be small compared to several leading solutions providers (SPs), but the company is regarded as one of the finest storage SPs in the country. Its domain expertise in storage is so deep that it is helping several leading storage vendors to write their certification courseware, and it has implemented a number of projects which are regarded as firsts in the industry in terms of technology deployment. Says Neeraj Mediratta, Managing Director, Ace Data, “Our decision to focus on storage solutions since 2001 has given us an advantage over several large SPs. We have desisted from selling storage boxes, hence our top-line may not be as big. But we are proud that we have skillsets which have won us several prestigious projects even while competing with tier-1 systems integrators (SIs).”

product didn’t do well and my partner called it quits. I then decided to shut Ace, but that’s when Neeraj told me that I needed to be patient and give more time for the business to develop. He also suggested that I start selling printer consumables and introduced me to several of his contacts,” says Anuj. But Anuj soon realized that his forte was technology, not sales, so he asked Neeraj to join him. Neeraj’s sales acumen, combined with Anuj’s technical expertise, propelled Ace on a strong growth path, and the company soon began signing some big customers. Ace became an authorized partner of TVS-E, and for three consecutive years won the best partner award due to strong performance. As the customer base grew, the demand for IT products other than printers and consumables began pouring in, and that’s when Ace decided to expand its portfolio to PCs and peripherals.

The beginning

With gratitude

Ace started its journey as a reseller of print consumables in 1996. Anuj Mediratta, Neeraj’s younger brother, and now director of the company, was the one who started Ace. “We brothers had to start early in our professions because we lost our dad when I was 15,” recalls Neeraj. “I began earning as soon as I graduated. I worked with a stationery firm, then with a pharma company for more than 10 years. Anuj on the other hand studied IT, and he was the one who always wanted to start his own venture.” Along with a college friend, Anuj launched Ace Softech Consultants in 1996 as a developer of software. His first project was the development of a comprehensive ERP solution for a garment exporter. Having received good reviews for the ERP, he decided to productize it but the product failed to take off in the market. “The

The big turning point came in 1997 when the company bagged the contract to supply PC clients to Cisco which was entering the Indian market. “For this we have to thank Anil Batra, the first country manager of Cisco India, who chose us for the project based on our skills and not our size,” says Neeraj. Another channel manager the Medirattas hold in high esteem is Subin Joseph, who was then driving the HP server business. Recalls Neeraj, “In 2000, during the course of a casual chat, Joseph suggested that we look at specializing in storage. He said that storage would emerge as the most critical piece in IT infrastructure over the next decade.” Anuj, a technologist at heart, liked the idea of venturing into an emerging domain. What made the decision easier for the brothers was that their reselling business had just suffered a loss. In 2001 Ace won a large order from a dotcom company which was planning an IPO. As luck would have it, the dotcom bust soon followed, and the customer had to shut down, leaving the Medirattas high and dry. Ace began its journey as a storage SP as an HP Star Partner, and also signed up with Legato. “At that time vendors treated you like resellers. You sold and they implemented. In the first order we won after we moved to storage, our customer faced issues with implementation. That’s when Anuj said that we will do the implementation ourselves since our focus had been on building in-house

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Role model 1996

Set up Ace Softech Consultants as a developer of software

1997

Ventured into reselling of consumables and became a leading partner of TVS-E

1997

Bagged a project from Cisco for its first office in India

2001

MILESTONES

Moved into providing storage solutions

2002

skill-sets rather than depending on vendors,” says Neeraj. In 2002 Ace bagged its first big project worth `2 crore to provide an enterprise-wide backup solution for a company called Data Access. Implementing this successfully opened the flood-gates for the company. Vendors and customers began knocking on its doors, and they became a leading backup SP. Dabur and SAP were the other two big customers who signed up with Ace for storage solutions. From a turnover of `4 crore in 2003, Ace Data closed FY2009-10 at `14 crore. Today the company has clients such as Bharti Airtel, Bharti Telesoft, CMS Computers, Dell, Ernst & Young, and Hero Honda Motors. With time, the size and complexity of the projects have increased. In the past two years the company has won several prestigious projects despite competition from large SIs like Wipro, HP, IBM and Dell.

Bagged first big project worth `2 crore to provide an enterprise backup solution

back we had a ratio of three out of 10 clients—now the ratio is eight,” informs Neeraj. Ace doesn’t believe in touting its vendor accreditation as it believes it has the skill-sets to convince the customer. “We have had issues with our vendors in the past because they wanted us to integrate their technologies in specific projects,” notes Anuj. “However, we are completely customer-centric, and offer solutions that provide the best priceperformance. Some vendors have realized our USP, and no longer put pressure on us to sell their products.”

Business plans

2010

2009

In the next three years Ace aims to become a `100 crore company, and Implemented an internal sales plans to achieve this by geographical expansion in India and abroad, force automation system and by launching its own brand of using SAP services in the storage backup and archival space. Bagged large projects for “So far we have been focused storage consolidation from on the north, but in the next fiscal Do the homework BFSI and telecom sectors we will spread our wings to other Neeraj says that Ace has a 50 perregions. By the end of March we will cent success ratio while pitching have an office in Mumbai, and in the quarter after that in against SIs in large projects. “Of the 10 deals we may have Bengaluru. In 2012 our intention is to expand to [other pitched for against large SIs, we have won five. That’s a regions of] South Asia,” informs Neeraj. fantastic ratio for a company of our size. What makes us On the technology front the company plans to launch sought after is our process-driven and holistic approach to a set of white-label services in the backup and archival providing the solution. In any customer implementation segment. “We are working on the India pricing, so at the or service delivery, we do a simulation in-house before we moment I can only say that it would be targeted at small step into the client premises. This way customers don’t businesses,” says Anuj. have to go through the pains of a trial-and-error process. Ace Data expects the storage services market to exAlso, we are straightforward in telling customers what can plode. “At present the enterprise storage market is worth be done and what cannot be done.” `1,400 crore, but services have a single-digit share in this. Anuj believes that what makes the Ace sales process This will change with the data explosion and with cusstrong is Neeraj’s ability to sell concepts. “Coming from tomers looking to optimize their information infrastruca pharmacy background he knows concept-selling really ture,” Neeraj believes. well. In pharma you have to sell medicines based on the anatomy of the human body. In the same way, in IT you have to sell a solution based on the business problems of On a personal note the customer. Our credo is that we don’t sell technology While Neeraj manages sales, Anuj is the tech head. “Anuj but provide business solutions.” is such a technoholic that he can figure out any new techUsing SAP the company has built a strong sales force nology in a day’s time. He won’t rest till he has done it. automation (SFA) process which has helped it bring the He’s also a strong process guy, and plans even a small task same concept-selling approach to its team of 35. “The SFA to the T,” says Neeraj. system has increased our lead conversion ratio. Two years Anuj thinks that Neeraj’s strength lies in his perceptiveness and clarity of communication. “He’s quick to understand the customer’s pain-points, and is able to design a concept that is precise in providing a solution.” “We are completely customer-centric, and Both brothers have a common role model: JRD Tata. offer solutions that provide the best Remarks Neeraj, “JRD had a unique persona. Despite the way our country works, he stood tall and maintained price-performance. Some vendors have his integrity without making any compromises. He is an realized our USP, and no longer put pressure inspiration to all business leaders who want to grow and on us to sell their products” succeed honestly and transparently.” n

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tech focus

Office for Mac 2011 The CRN Test Center reviews Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, and finds its ability to work with Office Live and Apple’s MobileMe iDisk an important new function n Edward F Moltzen

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ver since Microsoft launched its Office suite of productivity applications, we’ve been bombarded by arguments for why competing offerings were better. Whether it came from vendors who competed with opposing commercial applications, or the opensource community with OpenOffice.org’s suite, the US-based software giant has never lacked for a fight in this space. So with the resurgence of Apple’s Mac platform, Microsoft could have been faced with another tough fight. Instead, the company has produced versions of Office for Mac that have delivered enough compatibility between Windows and Mac—and cloud computing—to give it a seat at the table. With Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, it now deserves an even better seat. The CRN Test Center examined Office for Mac 2011 Home and Business Edition (list $199.95) on a new MacBook Air, and found it surpassed previous versions of the Mac-based Office suite in terms of functionality, snappy performance and—importantly—compatibility with cloud-based Office Live as well as Apple’s MobileMe online service.

The result If hesitancy to run Office on the Mac platform was keeping anyone from migrating from Windows to Mac OS X, that really can’t be an issue any longer. Office for Mac 2011 not only surpasses previous versions of the software but it’s got a significant leg-up on rivals including Google Apps—with both functionality and desktop/ cloud integration. Armed with a Mac, a subscription to MobileMe and an active Office Live account from Microsoft, here’s how it all comes together.

An important part of Office for Mac 2011 is the Outlook. For those who live inside the Outlook console during the entire work day, there is little-to-nothing to sacrifice in this version 28

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When you create, say, a Word Document in Office for Mac 2011, you’re given the file-saving options you would typically get—but with the additional option of saving to MobileMe’s iDisk, its cloud-based e-mail, calendar, contact and storage offering. iDisk is positioned to look like any other hard drive in the Mac’s file system, so it’s very familiar and intuitive. To then port the file to Office Live, it’s simply a matter of clicking on the Microsoft Document Connection Feature in Office for Mac 2011. The Document Connection console allows for uploading and downloading files, reading, editing, checking them in and checking them out. Moving files into the free Office Live allows for all of Microsoft’s functionality to be employed: reading, editing and sharing documents via browser or having the opportunity to access them by someone who lives and works inside Microsoft Office on a Windows PC all day. Why does Office for Mac 2011 take on new relevance now? With Apple shifting toward flash-based storage architecture for its MacBook Air, which is faster but with less capacity, the beginning of a move toward saving data to the cloud from client productivity applications could be an important first step toward changing usage patterns. That you can now create, edit and share everyday work product—even big-footprint PowerPoints in Microsoft Office in a cloud computing environment—regardless of the PC operating platform could be a watershed moment. Another important part of Office for Mac 2011 is the Outlook portion of the suite. For those who have become used to living inside the Outlook console during the entire work day, there is little-tonothing to sacrifice in this version for the Mac. It just works. With the announcement of Oracle Cloud Office, competition will heat up. However, Oracle (and before this, Sun Microsystems) may have missed an opportunity to take an important leadership role in bridging the gap between mobility and hosted software. Apple and Microsoft, now with Office for Mac 2011 and Apple’s growing lineup of client devices, have already gotten there. n


tech focus

Intel’s Bridge

to the video age With the launch of its latest Sandy Bridge platform, Intel fires shots across AMD’s bow on price-performance n Edward J Correia

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long with the new year, Intel this week rings in Sandy Bridge, the new processor and desktop computing platform that is sure to prove an important part of the reseller’s 2011 product base. While companies such as Apple, HP and Lenovo have already announced plans to incorporate the low-cost processors in their products, Intel says that the channel also will play a major role in the chips’ distribution strategy. Intel’s Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K include an integrated highres graphics processing unit, and afford the most accessibility yet to system clock settings. And with list prices in the $200-$300 range, they’re expected to be popular among gamers and other enthusiasts who focus on squeezing every last drop of performance-per-dollar from their PCs.

Test in progress Not that they would have to overclock the processors at all. Out of the box, the 3.4GHz Core i7 2600K with its four processor cores and eight threads shattered the CRN Test Center’s performance records for a quad-core desktop platform delivering a peak Geekbench score of 12,286. The next highest score for a quad-core desktop was Seneca Data’s Nexlink 7100 at 8,513. The 2600K’s four cores even outpaced the six cores in AMD’s Phenom X6 1100T ($265 list) by about 15 percent. With performance and clock speed on par with the Phenom 1100T, the Core i5 2500K is a four-core, four-thread circuit running at 3.3GHz in standard mode. Running in Intel’s DH67BL motherboard, this

Intel’s Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K include an integrated high-res graphics processing unit, and afford the most accessibility yet to system clock settings

part delivered a peak Geekbench score of 10,026, which virtually tied with the six-core Phenom’s high score of 10,601. Also in the same ballpark price-wise, Intel’s integrated GPU gives it the edge both on cost and on versatility of data processing thanks to Quick Sync, the company’s proprietary coder/decoder for acceleration of on-the-fly media conversions. Of course, Intel’s integrated graphics are not intended to replace a discrete GPU for machines intended to act as, say, a CAD workstation. When tested with SPEC’s Viewperf 11, the vector processing capabilities of the Core i5 2500K were less than ideal. Still, the K-series chips will fulfill an important need to satisfy the graphics processing needs of a fast-growing number of amateur videographers populating today’s media-hungry social networks. And both processors ran cool and consumed very little wattage. Paul Otellini, President and CEO, Intel said recently that Intel’s K-series parts will do for today’s computing experience what its Pentium did in the 1990s. “What the Pentium did was enable the beginning of the multimedia computing era,” he said during a keynote he delivered at COMDEXvirtual last November. Today, everything is about video, he said, be it for corporate or consumer, sharing or conferencing. “What this product was engineered for was the optimized video visual experience.”

In the end Intel’s new sharper prices will further grease the skids. We tested the Core i5 2500K on Intel’s DH76BL motherboard, at $107 list. The Core i7 2600K was tested on its DP67BG motherboard, which lists for $184. We were running 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate with 4GB of Dominator GT 2000MHz DDR3 memory. The new motherboards are equipped with the new LGA 1155 Socket H2 and H67 Express chipset, both of which are required to service the new processors. n

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channel buzz ISODA Summit: A grand success A round-up of the first Infotech Software Dealers Association Tech Summit held at Bangkok, Thailand, from 20-23 January 2011

n Group photo of ISODA members attending the Tech Summit

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osted at Hotel Holiday Inn, Bangkok, the first-ever ISODA Tech Summit was well attended by 100 C-level executives of software reselling and solutions companies from across India. The summit also witnessed participation from vendors such as Symantec, Trend Micro, Microdium, Netcore, Quest and CA Technologies. Inaugurating the summit, Rajesh Kothari, Founder & Chairman, ISODA, said, “In two years ISODA has come a long way. Our aim now is to expand the role of the association beyond taxation issues and focus on the overall development of the IT channel.”

TOP on agenda The summit revolved around the theme of TOP, de-abbreviated as Transform, Organize and Profit. Explaining the theme, Devesh Aggarwal, President, ISODA, said, “TOP is the need of the hour for partners. They need to analyze their present business model, look at newer opportunities in future, and work toward transforming their business. Collaboration is going to be key to the growth and sustenance of the IT channel. Rather than fighting as competitors, it’s time for partners to complement each other. In all this, profit is the underlying element. The time has come when we

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should ask ourselves if the profits we make are enough to sustain our business in the longer term.” Agreed KV Jagannath, CEO, Choice Solutions, “With large companies getting into the SMB marketplace, it’s important for tier-2 partners to unite and collaborate. Leveraging each other strengths to provide complete solutions will be key to the success of the channel in future.” Other attendees at the summit also called on the software channel to avoid price competition and instead focus on delivering value to customers. Advised GM Kamat, Director, PC Center, “Rather than undercutting each other, ISODA members should explore ways of working together and ensuring sustainable operating margins in their business.” Jagannath highlighted the need for partners to move to services. “Services are the key to owning the customer. Partners need to learn this sooner than later. That is the only way to survive in the future because cloud services will impact the reselling business.” A special session was organized where all the participants were asked to plot growth plans and strategies around the TOP agenda. Kothari said that starting with this summit, TOP will become

the driving agenda for ISODA this year. “During 2011 we will focus on these three aspects to ensure the health and sustenance of the software channel.”

Plans for 2011 During the summit, ISODA conducted a discussion asking all its members to highlight key aspects the association needs to focus on in 2011. Based on members’ feedback, ISODA listed several focus areas for 2011. “We have set up a Partner Advisory Board consisting of our members who will create an execution plan for these focus areas. The key areas include creating a framework for collaboration. We have also decided to form a database of all members with their competencies and capacities which will be used to forge collaborative business among partners. The Advisory Board will create a framework for collaboration between partners,” said Kothari. ISODA members resolved to have regular workshops in different regions on best business practices and the emerging technology landscape. It was also resolved that ISODA would make the process of engaging with distributors and vendors simpler for partners. “We would like to work closely


channel buzz

n MP Kini (left) and Rajesh Kothari lighting the lamp with distributors and vendors on their credit policies and incentive payouts, and ensure price parity,” said Kothari. Members urged ISODA to build itself into a strong association akin to MAIT and Nasscom. “In two years ISODA should be the Nasscom of software partners. But for this it needs to increase its membership and create the right influence at the policy level and at the customer level,” remarked Jagannath. Kothari assured members that one of the items on ISODA’s agenda was to raise its profile, work with other associations, and increase its dialog with all stakeholders in the industry including the IT ministry.

n Participants paying keen attention to a panel discussion

Vendor speak In a 25-minute presentation on managed services, Akshay Deshpande, Manager, Channel Sales, CA Technologies, kept the audience glued. Deshpande invited partners to join CA’s new Managed Capacity Program and Arcserve Managed Service Provider program. Another vendor who drew a lot of applause was Mahendra Negi, COO & CFO, Trend Micro. Negi urged partners to scale up their abilities. He asked them to spruce up their skill-sets, and collaborate to fight the bigger fish entering the SMB space. To a specific query on whether some of the smaller partners may perish in the process, Negi replied in the positive. Vineet Sood, Director, Chan-

Award for excellence M Prabhakar Kini, Founder & CEO, Kinfotech, announced the institution of the MP Kini Award for Business Excellence. The award will be given annually to a company for outstanding performance in the software reselling and solutions business. For this purpose, Kini presented a cheque of `1,11,111 to Paresh Shah, Treasurer, ISODA. “The award will be given to a software partner who is rated the best not only in terms of business performance but also in terms of business practices and innovation. The process of selecting the winner will be done by an ISODA committee chaired by Kini. The winner will also get a gold medal and a citation,” informed Kothari. The award for this year will be presented in April, and ISODA members can nominate themselves or their peers for the same.

Agenda for 2011 ä Develop brand ISODA and increase membership. ä Set up an Advisory Board that will tackle all partner issues and identify areas of training for members. ä Liaise with associations such as Nasscom, MAIT and TAIT. ä Create a framework for collaboration among members. ä Work proactively with distributors and vendors to ensure timely back end, RMA payments, streamlined RMA processes and price parity. ä Create a code of conduct based on best practices which members need to adhere to. ä Create forums to guide startups.

nels, Symantec, asked partners, “How do you stand out in a crowded market?” He chalked out four force-multipliers in his presentation. The multipliers reside in the value chain, and connect the supply side with the demand side.

Call to distributors Distributors were mostly conspicuous by their absence, with iValue Infosolutions the only distributor present at the summit. Harinder Salwan, Secretary, ISODA lamented this, saying, “Despite extending a warm invitation to all the software distributors they didn’t come. Distributors are thinking that by starting ISODA we are trying to create a cartel, a rebellion. But we want to work closely with them and consider them an integral part of the software value chain. We will continue our efforts to break the ice with distributors.”

Fun & frolic All work and no play make Jitendra a dull boy, so ISODA also took care of the fun quotient. It organized two trips to the Siam Niramit and the famous Tiger temple on two separate days.

Conclusion The ISODA Tech Summit gave software partners a lot of food for thought. It’s now up to the partners to leverage on the wisdom imparted in Bangkok and use the platform to network and collaborate to scale up.

Postscript ISODA also announced its next Tech Summit—in Singapore from 26-29 January 2012. n

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shadow ram GET

Back on top?

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he buzz is that HP may bounce back to the No 1 PC vendor position in Q4. The reason is that HP has signed some very large deals during the last quarter, and as a result, has sold 70,000 PCs more than its own target. Many HP partners believe that this will help HP overtake Dell which had surpassed it as the largest PC vendor in Q22010. HP has also gained significant traction in the consumer market where its fortunes had been dented due to the launch of a new distribution model which was initially disliked by the company’s retail channel. However, the model has been working well for partners and has thus given HP the much-needed boost in the retail segment. The HP PSG team and its partners are waiting eagerly for the Q42010 market research to be published. n

Lenovo will unveil new branding in April 2011

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enovo is gearing up to launch its new branding by April 2011. According to a recent interview by Lenovo Chief Marketing Officer David Roman, the Chinese PC vendor will unveil the new branding only for select countries that include India, China, the US, Russia, Japan and Brazil. n

It’s raining partner meets

“Travelling is my passion”

Vikram Gidwani

Vikram Gidwani is Business Head, India, Enterprise & Channels, at Vasco Data Security. Since 2008 he is responsible for business development and operational management of the entire Indian sub-continent for Vasco. He previously served as the National Sales Manager for Tivoli Security Solutions at the IBM Software Group.

If not in the IT industry: Having a deep inclination toward number crunching, I’d probably have been associated with finance. Biggest passion: Travelling. My aim is to visit at least one place a year where I haven’t been before. Behind the wheels: Honda City. However my dream vehicle is a BMW 7. Gadgets I can’t live without: Blackberry and iPod. Role model: Successful entrepreneurs who have made it big despite facing unfavorable circumstances. Weekends are for: Strictly for family and friends. Favorite holiday destination: Goa. I find myself there every year on some pretext or the other. Hate the most: Procrastination and hypocrisy. Ultimate ambition: To run my own company successfully. Wildest thing I’ve ever done: Deep-sea diving. Thing I most want to do in life: Devote time to social causes. Favorite sport and sportsperson: Badminton and Saina Nehwal.

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ith the New Year, most vendors are planning their annual partner meets. Over the next 30 days several vendors will take their select performing partners to locations across the globe. AMD just concluded its partner meet inside the deep jungles of Jim Corbett Park, while Dell and Acer will soon fly their key partners to exotic locations in the Far East. Lenovo too has planned an exotic extravaganza for its partners. Other vendors are also taking their partners to different parts of Thailand and Malaysia. n

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If I became the Prime Minister: Easier said than done, but I will try to eradicate corruption which is the root cause of all our problems. Celebrity I’d like to spend a day with: Tom Hanks and Aamir Khan. Love their work. Deepest and darkest fear: Losing my loved ones. n

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RNI NO. MAH ENG/1999/635 Postal Reg. No. MH/MR/NORTH EAST/193/2010-2012 License to post without prepayment MR/TECH/WPP-23/NE/2010-12 Posted at Patrika Channel Sorting Office, Mumbai Due Date 2nd, 3rd & 16th, 17th Of Every Fortnight


CRN India February 01, 2011