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contents

February 01, 2012 l Volume 1 Issue 07

Cover Story Having gained market leadership in PCs, Dell spells out its top priority for 2012— winning channel confidence in the IT solutions space

22 NEWS Analyses

Channel Chief

HP PSG’s 3-point agenda

8

Lenovo scaling up PC attach biz

8

Adobe revamps India strategy

Special Focus

10

Quick Heal to drive mobile security market

16

10

Slow but steady growth While the growth in structured cabling is likely to slow in 2012, it is expected to grow at a robust rate going forward

Editorial 12 Opinion

14

Feedback

14

Tech Focus

32

Channel Buzz

34

New Products

35

Shadow Ram

38

Get Personal

38

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18 Role Model

READ More

6

Vinay Shetty Country Head, Component Business, Asus Technology, discusses the go-to-market for 2012 with an expanded product portfolio

30

Beyond the conventional From working for a jute manufacturing company to heading his own `1,110 crore IT distribution organization, VK Bhandari, CMD, Supertron Electronics, has come a long way

Market Focus

Externally yours The capacities of external hard drives keep going up while their prices keep going down. The floods in Thailand interrupted this trend, but not for long

28


starting line MUST

Read

Lenovo scaling up PC attach biz Lenovo is aiming for significant growth in its PC attach business, and plans to introduce more accessories and channel promotions to increase the revenue from it. “There’s a growing market for add-ons with new user groups like students, youngsters and women buying PCs. We have been doubling our consumer accessory business for the last two years, and plan to maintain this momentum in 2012,” said Rajesh Thadani, Director, Consumer Business Segment, HSB, Lenovo India. Over the lifetime of a PC, Indian consumers spend an average of `4,000 on accessories. “During PC purchase, consumers spend on devices such as mouse, keyboard, headset and speakers, while post-purchase their inclination is toward adapters, batteries and storage,” explained Thadani. “In all, the average money spent on attach products is 12-15 percent of the PC price.” Lenovo has increased its marketing campaigns to push its attach business through the channel. “We are Rajesh Thadani conducting special channel schemes, and launching offers for consumers,” Thadani said. Lenovo’s attach business consists of external storage; input devices like keyboards, mice and Webcams; and back-packs, batteries and chargers. Said Thadani, “We have recently launched speakers, and with our tablet foray, are now launching accessories for that as well.” Nearly 50 percent of Lenovo’s current attach business is contributed by its 842 exclusive retail stores, while the remaining comes from LFRs and registered resellers. Lenovo partners are able to make better margins on accessories. “Margins on attach products are usually higher. Also, it increases stickiness with customers as they repeatedly come to your store. In the past six months our Lenovo attach business has grown to `5 lakh per quarter,” says Pramod Dere, CEO, Cyber Peripherals, which runs seven Lenovo exclusive stores. n — Abhijeet Mukherjee

8

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HP PSG’s 3-point agenda n amit singh

H

P PSG has planned to push its commercial business in 2012 with a 3-point agenda for channel partners in terms of engagement, profitability and expansion. “Under our expansion objective, we are looking for commercial reseller partners in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. We are also engaging with ISVs to offer customized solutions to SMBs in segments such as exportimport, textiles, diamonds and manufacturing,” said Gurpreet Brar, Director, SMB & Commercial Channel, PSG, HP India. “To promote expansion in upcountry markets and enable speedy delivery, the company has introduced HP Speed, which allows partners in these areas to directly order notebooks through any HP business partner at special prices and get the product delivered within seven days.” Besides more than 1,500 registered resellers, the company currently has 247 business partners and 147 premium business partners for its commercial range. It aims to increase its business partners to 500 in 2012. On the engagement front, HP has increased the frequency of its Partner Advisory Board (PAB) meetings, which are region-wise round-table partner engagements. In addition, the company has strengthened its channel-facing team to engage with partners in upcountry markets. “We have increased the frequency of PAB from bi-annual to quarterly to interact with the top 10-15 partners of the region to gain market feedback and address their concerns. We have already organized these engagements in Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai, and plan to interact with about 100 partners in a quarter,” informed Brar. “Further, we introduced the HP Sales Odyssey Program

“HP Speed allows partners in upcountry locations to order notebooks through any of our business partners and get the product delivered within seven days” Gurpreet Brar

Director, SMB & Commercial Channel, PSG, HP India

in which we started interactive training sessions with role plays and active discussions for our channel partners in various cities across the country. These sessions were organized in major cities, and almost 400 partners have participated in the program.” To ensure the profitability of its partners, HP recently reintroduced its Mobile Mughals program for mid- and highend commercial notebooks, and launched the Workstation Specialist program for its commercial workstations. While in the Mobile Mughals program partners can earn incentives up to 4 percent of the total value in a quarter, in the Workstation Specialist program they can earn incentives up to 2 percent. These incentives are over and above the margins they make in a transaction upon meeting the target. “This time the focus of the program is to encourage our partners to start pushing our mid- and high-end products, so we have kept entry-level products out of the ambit,” explained Brar. “We help partners by imparting training, and offering sales tools, demo discounts, etc. Under Mobile Mughals we have engaged about 25 partners from cities like Chandigarh, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, and have plans to expand the program to tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well.” n


starting line Adobe revamps India strategy n AMIT SINGH

A

dobe has revamped its goto-market (GTM) strategy to include channel expansion; it also intends to target enterprise customers aggressively. Besides, the company is moving ahead with its plans to become customer-focused from being a product-focused organization. “Our GTM strategy for 2012 has a two-pronged approach: channel expansion and a focus on enterprise customers,” said Vineet Sood, Director, Channel, Alliances & Inside Sales (South Asia), Adobe Systems. Increasing its focus on enterprises, Adobe is planning to expand its channel base of about 80 active partners to more than 120 in 2012. The company is eying system integrators (SIs) to service its enterprise customers. Further, it has plans to revamp its partner program, and will be rolling out its third generation program, Adobe Partner

“Our GTM strategy for 2012 is two pronged— channel expansion and a focus on enterprise customers” Vineet Sood

Director, Channel, Alliances & Inside Sales (South Asia), Adobe Systems

Connection (APC), in Q22012. “APC has three objectives: improve the earning-to-sweat ratio of Adobe partners by increasing margins on Adobe solutions; expand the channel base beyond metros and tier1 cities to tier-2 cities such as Kochi, Jaipur, Pune and Kolkata; and align SIs like Wipro, HCL, TCS and Dell to serve enterprise customers. We are already in touch with these large SIs

for partnerships,” explained Sood. Adobe is planning to introduce specialized certification programs for partners operating in the education and digital media segments. Added Sood, “We are revamping our set-up to become a customerfocused organization with an emphasis on segments like media, entertainment, BFSI, telecom, FMCG, manufacturing, IT/ITeS, retail and e-governance. We also expect good growth from digital media and digital marketing solutions. While SMB customers will be serviced directly by partners, enterprise customers will have direct representation from Adobe, while the implementation will be done by partners.” Meanwhile, the company has appointed Kulmeet Bawa as Director, Enterprise Business, India & South Asia. It has also appointed regional territory managers in several cities including Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. n

Quick Heal to drive mobile security market n CRN NETWORK

Q

uick Heal is betting big on the mobile security segment. “We are currently selling 3,000 licenses per month, but with more aggressive marketing and channel enablement we will scale it up to an average of 25,000 licenses per month by March 2012,” said Abhijit Jorvekar, VP, Sales & Marketing, Quick Heal. In order to achieve its target, Quick Heal has formed a separate team of seven people focused on driving the channels. “We will sell through select existing IT partners and will also target the smartphone channels, including LFRs. We are conducting channel training in some cities, and have also begun product promotions,” Jorvekar informed. The company presently has a offering for Android-based smartphones, and will soon launch for the BlackBerry and Windows mobile platforms. A tablet version for

10

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“We are currently selling 3,000 mobile security licenses per month, but plan to scale it up to an average 25,000 units by March” Abhijit Jorvekar

VP, Sales & Marketing Quick Heal

Android is also on the cards. Quick Heal Mobile Security includes virus protection, call blocking, SMS blocking and antitheft features. It provides protection against malware and viruses. The anti-theft feature allows for remote locking, tracking and wiping data. The Android version is available at a price of `450 per user for three years. The company is selling the

product over the counter in the form of scratch cards. “A consumer can buy a scratch card which has the activation key. This key can be used to download the software from our Website directly on to the phone or via the PC. Our retailers help consumers install it in case they need help.” Quick Heal has currently activated 100 partners, with equal numbers from the IT and telecom channels, and plans to sign 500 retailers by March-end. “We are targeting partners in metros and tier-1 cities,” said Jorvekar. “With an upfront investment of less than `5,000, partners can earn up to 30 percent margin.” Though the mobile security business will contribute less than 3 percent of the company’s expected `250 crore topline in the next fiscal, Jorvekar says that the company wants to create a first-mover advantage in a segment which is expected to grow exponentially. n


edit opinion Volume 1, Issue 07

Let Dell convince you dhaval valia

W

hen Dell announced in 2007 its intention to work with the channels my first reaction was one of cynicism. I still remember my first Dell press conference in Mumbai. I was brutal with my cynicism, questioning every slide presented by the then Dell India chief Rajan Anandan. Later, over a couple of meetings with Dell executives, where they briefed me on their elaborate channel strategy, my cynicism gave way to skepticism. Four years on, I have to admit that Dell has done an admirable job in the channels—particularly in the consumer PC segment. From a paltry 4-5 percent market share to consistently clock 20-22 percent market share QoQ throughout 2011 is no mean feat. And Dell has done it without taking shortcuts. Interestingly, a company that pioneered the direct-sales model has been setting the agenda for channel-entrenched PC vendors for the past two years. Dell forced every PC vendor to offer onsite warranty to consumers. Its policy of providing assured partner margins has become a norm, and its exclusive regional distribution model made other vendors amend their models. Many argue that Dell ventured into channels at a time when channels were going through HP-fatigue—HP had dominated the notebook market for many years, and partners had no choice but to sell HP. But then the HP-fatigue could have also been exploited by Lenovo and Acer. Being at the top is a lot tougher than reaching the top. It will be interesting to see if Dell can sustain its leadership or whether the pressure of staying at the top forces it to commit the same mistakes that HP made in the past. But PC market leadership is not even half the battle won for the Dell team. Their true calling lies in challenging HP and IBM in the commercial and enterprise space with their new solutionscentric focus. Dell admits that their performance in the business solutions space is below expectations. It is candid in admitting that it made mistakes in the past when it focused more on opportunity-based dealings with enterprise VARs, and that many such dealings didn’t work out well for the partners. Dell knows that the ‘direct vs indirect’ debate is more relevant to business partners than retailers, hence it has been working to create a more transparent partner framework and put in place the new Global Commercial Channel program. In this issue’s cover story, Dell has gone to great lengths to explain the GCC program. The company is also making an earnest request to all partners not to judge it by the past. If I were you, I wouldn’t mind having a thorough look at Dell’s GCC. Let Dell persuade you that it’s got the best partner engagement policy. n E-mail CRN Executive Editor Dhaval Valia at dhaval.valia@ubm.com 12

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01/02/2012 www.crn.in

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edit opinion High-tech’s toughest job Robert Faletra

W

e are only a few weeks into the new year and already we have seen several channel chiefs exit their positions and new ones come aboard. I don’t generally keep a scorecard on these things, but without checking the data I’d guess as much as 20 percent of the channel chiefs in high-tech change each year. It happens so often because it’s one of the toughest jobs in high-tech. When things are running like clockwork and a company is experiencing growth in sales through partners, everyone inside an organization is taking credit. Product development, corporate marketing, sales, executive management—they all want credit when things are going well. But when sales are waning, perhaps because the product set is subpar, the channel marketing budget isn’t what it should be, or management hasn’t completely bought into a channel commitment, then things are different. Suddenly, not funding the heads in channel marketing that are required to meet aggressive targets is forgotten. The fact that the product lineup is below par is ignored. The lack of funding for channel support and operations doesn’t matter. Going completely dark on the channel advertising front isn’t mentioned. I’ve sat across the table from hundreds of channel chiefs over the years and watched them try to put a positive spin on a corporate decision that we both knew was detrimental to the partners, but which they had to follow through without showing disagreement. But regardless, when things go south and it’s time to find a fall guy to deflect the overall corporate responsibility, more times than not the channel organization gets fingered. Working in the indirect channel is hard. Unlike running a direct sales organization, you can’t slam your fist on the table and say do it. You have to build a program, make it profitable for both sides, advertise the benefits to drive awareness before you can close the deal—all while supporting the partner. To be successful in the long run, you need to be very good at internal politics. Being able to educate seniorlevel executives on the necessary channel investments is paramount. The ability to hire talent and get on the road constantly is necessary. Dealing with the press and longtime channel watchguards (like me) who are looking for flaws in your strategy all while staying close to the numbers is flat-out difficult. But once you figure it out, it’s rewarding and fun. Channel chiefs who truly have the channel in their blood wouldn’t have it any other way. But from where I sit and for as long as I’ve been watching this play, there’s no doubt it’s the toughest job in high-tech. n Email Robert Faletra at robert.faletra@ec.ubm.com 14

Computer Reseller News

01/02/2012 www.crn.in

A triumph of transparency

Accessories-only retail store

The Role Model article on Chintamani Lele and Rajeev Patayeet, Directors, Vintech Electronic Systems, was indeed an inspiring one with lots of details on timelines and the strategies they adopted. I particularly liked their detailed analysis of the spending patterns of their customers. They realized that 75 percent of their revenue came from their top 50 customers— that’s the reality which we ignore many a time. Their ‘Win Back, Win More’ policy (where they focused on winning back the accounts they had lost over time) is also commendable. I believe the Role Model articles are really praiseworthy in terms of the guidance and ideas they offer in the form of a case study.

An accessories-only retail store seems to be a great concept. The kind of details provided in the story was fairly convincing and appeared researchoriented. Customers are readily opting for genuine accessories along with their main purchase. I believe that it’s a great idea to increase the ever-falling margins in IT retail as accessories offer a higher level of margins. Accessories-only retail will be a success in metro and tier-1 cities where customers are spending good sums on genuine accessories. Teenagers and youth are enthusiastic about purchasing accessories for their notebooks and tablets. Besides our footprint in retail outlets, we are also looking to venture into an accessories-only retail outlet soon.

Vikas Asthana Gurgaon

Rakesh Gupta Aurangabad

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

Advertiser Index Company name

Page No Web site

Sales Contact

Smartlink

1 www.digilite.co.in

helpdesk@digilite.co.in

Smartlink

2 www.digilite.co.in

helpdesk@digilite.co.in

Cisco

4 www.ciscoracetorio.com

ciscointelligentnetwork.in/crn

LG

5 www.lg.com

serviceindias@lge.com

Compuage

7 www.compuageindia.com

odyssey@compuageindia.com

Fujitsu

9 www.fujitsu.com

marketing-india@ts.fujitsu.com

Schneider

11 www.schneider-electric.com

in-care@schneider-electric.com

Schneider

13 www.schneider-electric.com

in-care@schneider-electric.com

Kingston

15 www.kingston.com

sales_india@kingston.com

Kingmax Group

17

sales@kingstarindia.com

NEC

19 www.necindia.in

enquiries@necindia.in

Mega Networks

35

www.meganet1.com

sales@meganet1.com

Quick Heal

36

www.quickheal.com

info@quickheal.co.in

Logitech

37 www.logitech.com

www.logitech.com/wireless

Biz

38

sales@indiaantivirus.com

IBM

39 www.ibm.com

ibm.com/facts/in/platforms

Kaspersky

40 www.sakri.in

sales@sakri.in.

www.kingmax.com

www.indiaantivirus.com


channel chief “We sell 100,000 motherboards a month” Asus has become the market leader in motherboards in just over three years. Vinay Shetty, Country Head, Component Business, Asus Technology, explained to Ramdas S how it all happened, and discusses the go-to-market for 2012 with an expanded product portfolio You seem to be the undisputed market leader in motherboards in 2011. What have you done over the past few years that helped you reach this position? Three years back we were selling under 30,000 motherboards a month and had five distributors across the country. The distributors were complaining that they were not making much in terms of margins, and this complaint trickled down to partners. Then we decided to switch to a single distributor and try to grow the business, and we chose Rashi Peripherals. We gave Rashi a completely free hand to grow the business and take the Asus brand to the length and breadth of the country while we focused on the basics to ensure that we were able to deliver the best-of-breed technology at affordable prices. Today, we sell over 100,000 motherboards a month, and are definitely ahead of the competition in a market estimated to be between 250,000 and 300,000 motherboards. The Asus-Rashi relationship has been a win-win because we were both clear about our commitments to each other. PC penetration is growing in C-, D- and E-class towns, and Rashi is trying to reach partners in these places, which is working great for us. We are a premium brand, and customers are willing to pay the premium because of the pre-sales and aftersales service we are able to deliver through Rashi. Today, we estimate that 30 percent of Rashi’s revenue comes through Asus, and hence we are dependent on each other for our success.

What are the major trends you see in the motherboard market? Isn’t the desktop market shrinking? Aren’t assemblers losing their charm? On the contrary, we believe that the market is growing, although marginally. Based on reports from research agencies, we estimate a market size of 3.5 million assembled desktops next year. The laptop market size is growing faster, but desktops are going to stay. We see different niche segments growing in the motherboard market. The value segment is still heavily dominated by system builders, so the market for sub-`3,000 motherboards on both AMD and Intel would be high. But what’s most interesting is that the application-

“We gave Rashi a free hand to drive the distribution, support and channel enablement, while we focused on delivering the best price-performance technology” 16

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specific (such as gaming, graphics and workstations) PC market is growing. That’s the reason we are carrying a wide range of motherboard SKUs at practically all pricepoints from `2,500 to `30,000. There will be more motherboard products designed for specific-user segments such as gamers and overclockers. The high-end segment will grow, and we will see motherboards based on the Intel X79 platform occupy the top of the pyramid. The newer generation of PC motherboards may have a lot of integration in terms of CPU and GPU which would give the user the choice of going beyond computing and having new experiences in the entertainment space.

The graphics card market is also growing at a rapid pace. What are your plans for this market? We estimate the graphics card market to be about 30,000 units a month, or roughly one in 10 desktops sold, and this market is growing. We were a late entrant in this space, but we have been educating channels and consequently our numbers are steadily growing. Again, the new segments of overclockers, gamers and multimedia enthusiasts are aiding the momentum. We plan to capture 30 percent of the graphics card market in 2012.

You have also announced your entry into the desktop market. What are your launch plans and


channel chief channel strategies? We have consciously taken a decision to stay away from the low-end desktop market and focus only on high-end consumer desktops. We have a plan in place for the next five years, and the idea is to capture just 2-3 percent of the overall Indian desktop market. Our first desktops will be available to channels through Rashi in early February. The models will be priced above `35,000 without a monitor. Unlike the components business, channel enablement for desktops will be driven by Asus directly. Toward the middle of next year you can expect wide availability of some high-end gaming desktops such as the Asus Rog Tytan which starts at $1,900 on the street.

Which other product categories do you plan to enter? We have been fairly late in rolling out a number of our other product lines, so there’s a lot of catching up to do. We have been successful in capturing some mind share in LCD and LED displays, and in 2012 we will have a wide range of these monitors. We also have a number of cutting-edge wireless routers that are slowly gaining acceptance. The media player market is shaping up, and we are ready with a wide range there too; we are looking at capturing 50

“Desktops will be available through Rashi from February. They will be priced above `35,000 without a monitor. We plan to capture 2-3 percent of the desktop market� percent market share in the next two years.

What are your targets for 2012? We have grown tremendously over the last three years, and we want to keep up the momentum. Today we connect with close to 15,000 resellers across the country. We will be connecting with more partners, and we expect Rashi to be driving these initiatives. We have around 600 partners who stock-and-sell our products. We estimate that there are around 3,000 system builders who use our motherboards in their PCs. This year we are targeting a 40 percent market share in motherboards. We are expecting other segments to grow steadily. Besides, there would be a wider range of products from Asus in 2012. In addition, we will be running channel initiatives that help partners to go beyond selling boxes and chasing numbers. It is imperative that system builders and resellers start selling value in the days ahead. n

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www.crn.in

17


special focus Slow but steady growth

While the growth in structured cabling is likely to slow in 2012, it is expected to grow at a robust rate going forward n amit singh

A

ccording to industry estimates, the value of the structured cabling market in India was `1,190 crore in 2011 against `1,000 crore in 2010. “The market is likely to observe 5-8 percent growth in 2012 because of the volatility in copper prices and the prevailing low sentiments in the market,” says KK Shetty, Director, Sales, TE Connectivity. “Beyond 2012, the market is likely to observe growth of 15 percent till 2016.” Ongoing projects in commercial real estate, airports, hotels, hospitals and educational institutes are driving the growth of the structured cabling market. Other segments supporting the growth are IT/ITeS, BPO and KPO. According to Natarajan Viswanathan, MD, India & Saarc, CommScope, “Major demand is expected from applications in data centers, building automation, campus perimeter security and in-building wireless applications.” Growth projections

Technology break-up

(in ` crore) 1935 1680

Fiber

1270

7%

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Computer Reseller News

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a

t6

Ca

Source: Industry estimates

18

Cat 5 and 5e

30%

1460 1190

14%

49% Cat 6

Continues Shetty, “The addition of new branches in the BFSI sector, and the upcoming data centers and disaster recovery (DR) centers for the growing telecom sector has opened new avenues for structured cabling. Government initiatives like e-Gov, e-Tendering and e-Panchayat have generated huge demand. Besides, GST implementation will require high-end infrastructure in the future.” The Crime & Criminal Tracking Network System project has provided a major boost to structured cabling. It is in the final phase of implementation, covering more than 14,000 police stations and 6,000 supervisory offices including district headquarters, range offices and state headquarters. Partners are also observing traction for structured cabling elsewhere in the government space. “We executed various government projects in 2011 including a structured cabling implementation valued at `1.5 crore for Northern Railway, an e-Court project for the Patna High Court where the cabling component was worth `69 lakh, and a project for the Delhi High Court where the cabling component was valued at `22 lakh. In addition, we completed a cabling project worth `40 lakh at GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi,” informs S Nautiyal, MD, Spark Technologies. The education segment is also boosting the structured cabling market. “We completed a networking project worth `2 crore with the cabling component valued at `40 lakh for Purvanchal University, Jaunpur. Another project worth `2 crore was at Kumaon Engineering College, Dwarahat, Uttarakhand, with the cabling component at `50 lakh,” reveals Ajit Mital, MD, Acme Digitek Solutions.


special focus “The market is likely to observe 5-8 percent growth in 2012 because of the volatility in copper prices and the prevailing low sentiments in the market”

“We are seeing a transition toward Cat 6a cables, but Cat 6 will still be there for at least 2-3 years before being taken over by Cat 6a”

KK Shetty

Gaurav Ahluvalia

Director, Sales, TE Connectivity

Convergence in cable Chintak Dalal, Country Sales Manager, Nexans India, says that in the office environment there’s growth in the adoption of IP convergence, which means that more technologies such as access control, security and building automation systems are being run on IP and connected through structured cabling. There’s also a shift toward converged networks and fiber, which would play a significant role in converged technologies. “We see this trend in new township networks where enterprise as well as telecom networks are getting intertwined to offer the best converged network solutions to the end-customers. Apart from that, data center implementations have gathered momentum, and the trend is likely to scale up in the next few years with new government infrastructure and IT projects getting implemented,” remarks Shetty.

Copper vs fiber The structured cabling market is dominated by copper cables with fiber holding a minority share. “70 percent of the market is accounted for by copper cables and the rest by fiber cables,” says Milind Tamhane, Director, Manufacturing & Product Offering, Network Connectivity, Lifespace Business Unit, Schneider Electric. In the copper solutions segment, Indian enterprises increasingly prefer Cat 6 and Cat 6a. “We are seeing a transition toward Cat 6a cables, but Cat 6 will still be there for at least 2-3 years before being taken over by Cat 6a,” forecasts Gaurav Ahluvalia, MD, R&M India. “Within the copper pie, Cat 6 still holds a far bigger share, 70 percent by value,” informs Tamhane. “The share of Cat 5 and Cat5e multi-pair voice cables have fallen to 15-20 percent.” Adds Suresh G, Director, Marketing, eCAPS Computers, Coimbatore, “Currently, companies are insisting on having Cat 6 as a minimum.” “Cat 6a cabling is gaining momentum in high-end

installations in the case of critical and bandwidthhungry applications. Most of the vendors are offering Cat 6a based on the UTP system, and that is making Cat 6a more acceptable as a technology in India,” says Vikas Pinjarkar, VP, Structured Cabling, D-Link India. “Despite being 30 percent dearer than Cat 6 cables, the value-wise share of Cat 6a cables has increased to about 10 percent from 2-3 percent five years back,” notes Ahluvalia. In the fiber segment, single mode fiber has gained momentum vis-à-vis multi-mode fiber because of its extra reach and capacity to handle data. While fiber usage is on the increase, in a few verticals it has become the only choice as the medium of transmission. “Fiber cables are widely used in WANs and campus-wide networks, medium and big enterprise applications, and high-end residential FTTH (fiber to the home) installations seeking full duplex interactive triple play (voice, video, data) applications,” explains Tamhane. Despite the advantages of using Cat 7a cabling— higher bandwidth of up to 600 MHz and lower cost as compared to using a fiber cable—Cat 7a is still finding its place in the industry. The reason? Cat 7a installation is cumbersome because Cat 7a cables are heavy with a much larger diameter than Cat 6a.

Intelligent cabling Intelligent cabling is still a luxury because of the cost of the extra hardware that goes into it. Even so, the demand for intelligent cabling (which enables proactive network monitoring and fault diagnosis) is likely to see increased adoption. In intelligent cabling solutions, the automatic log reports alarms and alerts generated by the system in case of changes and/or disruptions in the network; it thus allows network managers to detect and trouble-shoot problems faster. Says Shetty, “We have till date sold about five lakh intelligent cabling ports in India. Intelligent cabling is

Opportunities

Challenges

† Residential complexes are likely to drive the demand for

† Volatility in copper prices, which have increased 2.5 times

FTTH, with a single service provider looking at catering to voice, data and video requirements. † Intelligent cabling is likely to see increased adoption in data centers where they need to have a disaster recovery plan. † Video surveillance is expected to boost PoE technology as cameras are becoming IP-dependent and need PoE inputs to power the devices.

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MD, R&M India

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from the beginning of 2011 till the end of the year. † Variations in dollar prices because it makes it difficult to

quote a price for large-scale projects which take a long time to complete. † Decreasing amount of investment in structured cabling; it has now dropped to about 4-5 percent of the entire networking budget.


special focus “Fiber cables are being preferred in WANs, enterprise applications, and high-end residential FTTH installations for full duplex interactive triple play”

“While active components of the network and network software go obsolete in 15-18 months, the lifecycle of any SCS technology is six years and above”

M Tamhane, Director, Network Connectivity,

Chintak Dalal

Lifespace Business Unit, Schneider Electric

Country Sales Manager, Nexans India

expected to witness 15 percent growth in 2012.” Pinjarkar adds, “Intelligent cabling is ideally used in data centers where they need to have a DR plan. If the price gap between conventional structured cabling and intelligent cabling can be narrowed, the number of takers will go up.”

Fiber to the home Vendors have started propagating fiber-to-the-x (FTTX— including FTTN, FTTH, FTTC and FTTK) as the next wave in the industry that will promote the use of optical fiber to replace all or part of the usual metal local loop used for last-mile telecommunication. Fiber in the home space is a success across the globe. However, India is still relatively untouched by such installations. “FTTH solutions are targeted at large and medium enterprises; they allow system and network integrators to extend fiber optic broadband to the last access point,” says Ahluvalia. Residential complexes are likely to drive the demand for FTTH, with a single service provider in the complex looking at catering to voice, data and video requirements. Some of the success stories of its implementation can be found at Hiranandani Projects, Jaypee Projects and Lavasa.

Power over Ethernet The electronic security industry is moving toward IP-based solutions. Video surveillance cameras are becoming IP-dependent, and need Power over Ethernet (PoE) inputs to power the devices. “PoE technology is gaining acceptance, particularly after the ratification of the IEEE 802.3AT high power standards,” says Pinjarkar. “This completely eliminates the need for laying down electrical cables and points separately to power the IP cameras because it requires a lot of UTP cable and other accessories to install the IP cameras.”

Going green With the increasing stress on green IT, structured cabling vendors are also focused on making their solutions compliant with new safety standards and green guidelines. Deploying faster but energy-efficient cabling systems is the solution. Vendors are offering low smoke-zero halogen cables (that generate 50 percent less smoke than PVC cables) and Plenum cables generating zero smoke. “However, high prices and the absence of any legislation are hampering the growth of these products,” comments

Viswanathan. “While low smoke-zero halogen cables cost 15-20 percent more, Plenum cables cost about 20-25 percent more than PVC cables.” “While the initial spend on SCS solutions is lower, it must be kept in mind that re-installation costs are very high, and that at times it is difficult,” Dalal points out. “While the active components of the network and network software go obsolete in typically 15-18 months, the lifecycle of any SCS product or technology is always six years and above. Hence, going green, and deploying RoHS-compliant products and energy-efficient technologies such as PoE, are the right choices.”

Challenges The industry recognizes the volatility in copper and appreciating dollar prices as major challenges. “The price of copper cable, which forms 60 percent of the total invoice value, depends on two factors. First, the LME, which keeps on fluctuating. The second is the variation in dollar prices. As a result, the initial price quoted in large-scale projects (that take a long time to materialize) may not remain valid, so this becomes a challenge for vendors,” says Pinjarkar. According to Viswanathan, copper prices increased 2.5 times from the beginning of 2011 till the end of the year. Another challenge is the decreasing amount of investment in structured cabling. Notes Viswanathan, “During 1997-2000 about 10-15 percent of the entire networking budget was dedicated to structured cabling. By 2010-11 this was reduced to about 4-5 percent.”

Road ahead Wireless technology can affect the structured cabling market because it can easily provision or de-provision network resources depending on requirements. Since it eliminates the use of cables, it means less capex and fewer cables to throw away at the end of their lives. However, vendors believe that such technologies can only reduce, but not replace, cable use. “Structured cabling and wireless connectivity are complementary technologies,” argues Shetty. “Though there will be locations and situations where wireless is preferred over wired cables and vice versa, connecting a wireless router still requires a copper cable.” In the days to come, Intelligent Infrastructure Management, high-end copper and fiber solutions, fire-proof out-sheath on cables, and FTTX in campus residential complexes are some of the technical innovations which will be in demand. n

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cover story

Having gained market leadership in PCs, Dell spells out its top priority for 2012—winning channel confidence in the IT solutions space n RAMDAS S

T

here’s a look of satisfaction on the faces of the Dell India management team. The satisfaction comes from the fact that the team has delivered more than what it set out to achieve in 2007. Numbers don’t lie. From being just another MNC player trying to figure out the Indian market in 2007 with less than 4 percent market share in PCs, Dell at the end of 2011 is the undisputed leader in the Indian PC market. In the last three quarters its lead over its nearest rival has grown to over 100,000 units, or on an average a market share lead of 4 percent. It’s not just in the PC market that Dell has made gains. Dell’s x86 server market share, which was around 10 percent in 2010, has nearly doubled to 19 percent in terms of units and 23 percent by value as of Q32011. From being EMC’s largest storage partner till a couple of years back, Dell today boasts of a competitive storage portfolio of its own. IDC India’s Q32011 report ranks Dell as the No 2 in the SMB storage market. But it will be wrong to measure Dell’s India success simply by market share gains. What’s more impressive about Dell’s success is that it has been achieved largely on the back of a channel-focused go-to-market. Today, nearly 50 percent of Dell’s overall India sales revenue is contributed by channels. For a company that was best

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known for pioneering the direct-sales model in the IT market, this transformation is its biggest achievement. “In 2007, when Dell announced its intention to have a channel play, nobody believed it. However, in less than four years, the company has achieved what took many channel-focused bigwigs like HP, Acer and Lenovo decades to achieve,” says Dinesh Nair, VP, Aldous Glare Trade & Exports. Vishal Tripathi, Principal Analyst, Gartner India, credits Dell’s growth to its strong channel alignment. “One out of six PCs sold in India today has a Dell logo. Dell’s share of the PC market has grown substantially in the past five years. In 2006 it sold merely 290,000 units, while in 2011 it sold close to 1.6 million units.” Tripathi reckons that Dell’s channel strategies and management have been the most innovative and proactive of any channel-focused PC vendor. “Dell has shown great maturity in aligning with channels. They have been very consistent with their channel strategies. They have stuck to the fundamentals of marketing and channel engagement. In fact, many channel-led PC vendors were compelled to follow Dell’s channel strategies.” Nair points out that Dell hasn’t used any shortcuts to claim the market leadership in the PC market. “Their market leadership has come on the back of strong


cover story “Dell’s PC market leadership has come on the back of strong fundamentals—channel profitability, MOP uniformity, consistent marketing, and above all a genuine intent to work with the channels”

“Working with business partners is about providing them with the comfort that the channel will get priority over direct. Dell hasn’t still inspired that confidence”

Dinesh Nair

Neel Shah

VP, Aldous Glare Trade & Exports

Director, Insight Business Machines

fundamentals—channel profitability, MOP uniformity, consistent marketing, and above all a genuine intent to work with the channels. This is also the reason why Dell ranks number one in consumer mind share today, displacing a channel veteran like HP which had ruled the marketplace for over a decade.”

The next frontier Despite its phenomenal success in the PC market, Dell’s India leadership isn’t celebrating. The reason: they are focusing on scaling the new frontier of being the number one player in the commercial business consisting of servers, storage, software and services. Despite rolling out partner programs in the commercial space, Dell hasn’t achieved the success it expected Also, with Dell repositioning itself as an enterprise solutions company from just being a PC seller, the next big agenda for Dell is to become the preferred IT vendor in the commercial and enterprise space. The company knows this agenda can’t be achieved without strong channel play. Dell admits that it has made some wrong moves in the past in this space and hence has to work harder to win channel confidence. Several leading solutions providers and systems integrators have had not-so-good experiences working with Dell in the past. Moreover, there is still a lot of cynicism with regard to Dell’s balancing of its direct and channel-led business. “It’s not that we have not done business with Dell, however we didn’t have a very good experience,” says Neel Shah, Director, Insight Business Machines, Mumbai. “Working with business partners is about relationships and providing companies like ours with the comfort that their channel-led business will be prioritized over direct business. Partners haven’t still got that confidence.” Seconds Rajeev Mehta, MD, Zest Systems, Delhi, “We worked with Dell on a couple of deals where we found their channel policies lacking transparency. As a result, we lost those deals and in the process realized that Dell lacks the channel culture and partner sensitivity that is required to succeed in this business. Their approach is to work on deals rather than work on building partner relationships.” Ajay Maitin, CEO, Graphic Trades, Patna, is another partner who felt disillusioned with Dell. “Dell’s policies are good only on paper. Our personal experience is that while the DNA of HP is channel-centric, Dell’s DNA is still that of a direct sales vendor. Though Dell is trying to adapt to channels, they still have a long way to go. In fact, partner-led customers receive step-motherly treatment from Dell compared to their direct customers.” S Sridhar, Director, Marketing, India Relationship,

Dell, is candid. “Probably we didn’t have a clear demarcation of the direct and indirect business earlier, and as a result we lost the trust of certain sections of the channel. We have made mistakes in the past, but we are now ready to correct them. If one looks at our new Global Commercial Channel (GCC) program, we have taken all possible partner concerns onboard to ensure that there is least conflict between our direct and indirect business.” Sridhar goes to the extent of terming GCC as the best partner program in the marketplace today, better than the programs of IBM and HP. “I invite all partners who have had issues with the earlier engagement programs to look closely at the GCC program. We have gone to great lengths to address all the possible issues with regard to conflict between channels and Dell direct sales. My request is that partners should judge us on this new program.” Still, Dell’s top brass realizes that having a good or great program is no guarantee that it will be accepted by the channel. The other challenge Dell faces is that the commercial channel is largely divided between HP and IBM due to obvious reasons. As Neel Shah puts it, “Aligning with Dell is not easy for most leading IBM and HP channel partners who have been competing with Dell for several years. We have fought Dell tooth-and-nail, have won and lost business. Now suddenly going hand-in-hand with Dell to meet some of our long-term customers is not easy.” Harsha Lal, Executive Director & GM, Public & Large Enterprise, Dell India, acknowledges this. “Relationships are never built in a day. We realize that we need to create a positive perception among channels about Dell. More importantly, we ought to give them a very compelling reason to choose Dell over their existing vendors. We are slowly but steadily working toward ensuring that we move from a transaction model to one that’s relationshiporiented and thus win the channel’s confidence.” Dell has been slowly but steadily building a partner ecosystem around GCC. As in the PC business, it hasn’t taken any shortcuts; it has been working with smaller solutions partners, enabling them to grow profitably. According to Dell, even though they have not been able to win the bulk of the top mid-tier partners, they have developed a number of smaller resellers who have grown considerably in the past few quarters. “The biggest deal we won through a mid-tier partner last year was worth about $2.5 million. Besides, one or two established partners of the competition have even set up alternate companies to do business exclusively with Dell. We are proud to say that in the past two years we have engaged with several partners who have grown with us.” The Dell GCC program has three partner levels.

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cover story “While Dell is trying to adapt to channels they still have a long way to go. Partner-led customers receive step-motherly treatment compared to direct customers”

“We have made mistakes in the past but are ready to correct them. Our new Global Commercial Channel program takes all partner concerns onboard”

Ajay Maitin

S Sridhar

CEO, Graphic Trades

Director, Marketing, India Relationship, Dell

The basic tier is a registered partner, which requires no specific qualification. At present there are around 1,200 registered resellers, of whom about 400 do at least one transaction a quarter. In the middle tier is the Dell preferred partner, who has to commit a certain amount of business every quarter to Dell. On the achievement of the targets there are rebates— typically 1 percent for the client business, up to 3 percent on servers and up to 5 percent on storage. A Dell preferred partner also needs to commit to a separate revenue target for the enterprise business (server, storage & networking) as well as for the PC client business. Then there are Dell premier partners, who have to

ensure a bigger engagement with Dell. These partners get more rebates, and there is better hand-holding. The company’s new financial year starts on February 1, and Dell is betting on upgrading some of its preferred partners to the premier partner status. The GCC currently accounts for approximately 30 percent of Dell’s commercial revenue in India. “We plan to grow this number in 2012 and have already lined up several new channel enablement initiatives,” informs Suresh Reddy, Director, GCC. Suketu Shah, CEO of the Pune-based Genie Infotech is a partner who has benefited from GCC. “We started working with Dell six months ago when the GCC was

Dell acquisitions that matter to THE INDIAN channel While Dell has acquired over 20 companies since 2006, the Dell India team sees around seven acquisitions making an impact on channels in the country. Force 10 Networks (July 2011 / $700 million) Force 10 was acquired by Dell for its data center networking product line. Force 10’s Open Cloud Networking is based on open standards, automation and virtualization. “One of the biggest advantages of the Force 10 product line is that it consumes up to 96 percent less power compared to the competition and so offers faster ROI,” says Harsha Lal, ED & GM, Public & Large Enterprise, Dell India. Lal says that Force 10 products have already been offered through channels, and that Dell will soon offer the products for non-Dell platform solutions as stand-alone offerings. EqualLogic (November 2007 / $1.4 billion) Dell acquired EqualLogic for its Unified Storage and iSCSI product line. This has been integrated completely with the Dell storage line, and for the past two years the product line has been offered through channels. Dell has signed on 20 focused SIs for the storage business, and has roped in Fortune Marketing as a stockist distributor. The company is offering non-saleable demo material at 40-50 percent of the market price for partners. Compellent Technologies (February 2011 / $960 million) Dell acquired Compellent for its highly-virtualized storage solutions with automated data management features for enterprise and cloud computing environments. Though Compellent product lines have been completely integrated, in India the vendor is yet to test the waters. S Sridhar, Director, Marketing, India Relationship, Dell, says that in the next few months Dell would be aggressively going to market with the Compellent product lines. “Compellent’s Fluid Data architecture

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is industry-leading, and it helps organizations cut costs on storage by 80 percent.” Ocarina Networks (July 2010 / undisclosed) Dell acquired Ocarina for its compression and deduplication technologies. Lal says that the technologies acquired are being added to the Dell storage line, and will be fully reflected as Dell refreshes its product line. Exanet (February 2010 / $12 million) Dell acquired storage vendor Exanet to get its clustered NAS technology. The product line has already been integrated with the existing Powervault and EqualLogic lines. Scalent (July 2010 / undisclosed) Scalent forms the key to Dell’s data center management technology as it makes software which helps customers manage their data centers efficiently. The product line is fully integrated, and has been re-branded as the Dell Virtual Integrated System (VIS) architecture. There are now two product lines, Dell Advanced Infrastructure Manager and Dell VIS Creator. “The advantage is that you can manage just about anything in a data center, including non-Dell hardware, networking products and storage,” says Lal. KACE (February 2010 / undisclosed) KACE was acquired for its appliances which help CIOs manage client systems. Described by analysts as a appliance-based model to counter the likes of IBM Tivoli and HP OpenView, Dell has already integrated this product line. “The Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance meets all your system management needs—from initial system deployment to ongoing management and retirement—for up to 20,000 nodes. We are still exploring deals through channels, so a formal strategy will be announced later,” says Lal. n


cover story “We ought to give partners a compelling reason to choose Dell. We’re working to ensure that we move from a transaction model to a relationship-oriented model”

“The GCC program is comparable with those from HP and IBM. Dell has inculcated a strong channel culture within its teams”

Harsha Lal, Executive Director & GM,

Vineet Mittal

Public and Large Enterprise, Dell India

MD, VSM Agency

formed, and we found that it had a completely different approach to business. We showed some patience, and today approximately 35 percent of our `25 crore revenue comes from Dell. We are averaging over $400,000 every quarter, and we see this share growing in 2012.” Adds Vineet Mittal, MD of the Delhi-based VSM Agency, “We started a relationship with Dell almost six years back. At that time it was a pure opportunity business because Dell did not have any channel strategy in place. But steadily, over the years, Dell has become more channel-friendly. The GCC program is comparable with those from HP and IBM, and there’s very little that is different between their programs. What is important is that Dell has successfully inculcated a strong channel culture within its teams.”

Deciphering GCC Despite this endorsement by some partners, many still remain skeptical about Dell. Partners point out some fundamental differences between the policies of Dell and HP or IBM. The most significant one is the way Dell treats opportunities. One big thumbs-down given by partners is for Dell’s deal registration policy. Partners highlight that while IBM and HP have opportunity registration which works at an account level, the Dell deal registration process treats each inquiry as a separate deal. This means that a partner may do nine billings with an account, but the tenth deal can be routed to another partner or Dell may directly bill the partner. “In the case of HP, we are informed by their account manager if another partner has taken a quote, or receives an enquiry from an account we have been handling. Even if HP finally goes direct with the client—as in cases where the margins are less, or there’s stiff competition— we do get the ORC. In my experience, Dell does not have this policy, which means that just about anyone can break into an account, and also you don’t get any ORC,” says Mehta of Zest. Reddy says that while Dell believes in deal registration, they are also quite open to account mapping. “Ultimately, the Dell representative in charge of the business takes a call after speaking to the customer. Unless a customer gives Dell in writing that they would like to be directly billed, or that an order needs to be routed through another partner, Dell will always stick to the partner who brings in the business.” Shah of Genie says that Dell’s policies are transparent. “We know clearly whether we are participating in a deal or not within 24 hours of deal registration. Once that’s locked in, no other partner can quote for that query.”

The Dell management understands that another reason why many IBM and HP partners haven’t aligned with Dell is because many of the top partners are also service providers for HP or IBM, and that’s something they may not be comfortable losing. Dell is offering the authorized service partner status as a carrot to partners willing to provide it sales numbers. “Once a partner crosses a certain target he has the option to be a service partner. We would like a partner who’s committed to us to become an authorized service provider,” adds Reddy. Some partners are critical of Dell’s decision to not offer its commercial series of products for regular distribution. While HP, IBM and Lenovo offer the majority of their commercial product lines on a stock-and-sell model, Dell has only a couple of server and one storage model available through sub-distribution. Responds Reddy, “We know it’s a significant business for our competition. But making Latitude PCs or our Power Edge servers available through a stock-and-sell model defeats the USP which Dell offers—the most current prices, and deliveries within a few days. We get several requests from partners to stockand-sell, but we are firm on this resolve.” “The absence of a stock-and-sell model is a welcome change,” agrees Shah of Genie. “There’s only one price, and that’s back-to-back. It protects the interests of corporate resellers.” Another point of contention: Dell does not offer an official price list for its commercial range. This has also annoyed a few partners who were used to regular pricelist-based communication. Mahesh Bhalla, Executive Director & GM, Consumer & SMB, Dell India, explains the company’s point of view. “We don’t have a fixed price-list for Dell products because prices are always dynamic, and the idea is to pass on the best offer to the customer and partner at any point of time. We give partners budget quotes within a day, and price clearances within 48 hours. Today, even small SMB customers ask for discounts, so partners need to get back to the vendor.” Reddy says that Dell has included several new features to the GCC transaction form. “We have express deliveries for critical cases. We have staggered deliveries if the customer so desires, and all these facilities are available to channels.”

Transforming and winning Dell knows that for it to be a strong contender in the enterprise and SMB space it needs to create a strong partner ecosystem, and in this the GCC will play a key role. “Globally, Dell is transforming itself from a PC

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cover story vendor to an enterprise solutions company and made as many as 20 acquisitions including that of Perot Systems. Hence it is imperative for the company to create a good partner ecosystem to drive its new agenda and compete seriously with IBM and HP,” believes Gartner’s Tripathi. (See box on Dell’s acquisitions) Harsha Lal states that the key agenda for 2012 is to ramp up Dell’s storage business. “We believe that with the EqualLogic and Compellent acquisitions there are enough reasons for any customer to trust us with their storage requirements. We have signed up 20 focused partners for our storage business in the country. By the end of the first quarter of 2012 you will hear about some of our big wins through mid-tier channel partners,” informs Lal. Dell is offering free training and certifications to

channel partners willing to show commitment to sell its storage. In addition, Dell will focus on opportunities in the data center, cloud computing and security space. Dell has acquired companies such as Force 10 for data center networking equipment and Scalent for its virtualization management software. Considering that both HP and Cisco have been promoting their data center architectures (Converged Infrastructure and UCS respectively), Dell’s plans look ambitious. “We don’t have a unified fabric product strategy as yet, but we have the best-of-breed computing, storage, networking and data center management platform,” argues Sridhar. “CIOs and partners are smart; they understand that you do not always need a branded unified computing strategy. They know that they can build

the journey to PC market leadership

I

n the last year, one out of six PCs sold in the country had a Dell logo. In terms of market share, Dell has grown approximately 497 percent in the past five years. Dell’s ramp-up from being a PC vendor with less than 290,000 unit sales in 2006 to the undisputed PC market leader in 2011 can be attributed to a number of factors. Most importantly, the Dell has been very consistent with its strategies and has rarely rolled back the initiatives it has undertaken. It has stuck to its basic plans for every market segment. This consistency was rarely seen among other PC brands which often had to be VISHAL TRIPATHI reactive to Dell strategies. What has helped Dell to achieve its substantial growth is its marketing spend which has been the highest in the industry. While it’s difficult to quantify the exact spend, in terms of visibility Dell campaigns were so high-impact during 2010 and 2011 that an impression has been created that they spend 3-5 times that of their nearest competitor. It’s also important to note that Dell campaigns were without celebrity brand ambassadors, and were mostly focused on generating sales queries for Dell or its partners; this seems to have worked for Dell. The company rarely spent on electronic media, and stuck to print, the Internet and direct mailers. Despite Dell’s channel forays, around 50 percent of the business is still direct at Dell, and the direct business is expected to contribute heavily in future too. Dell was the first mainstream PC vendor in the country to explore a regional distribution strategy (without involving national distributors) through its MSA program. Dell’s foray in 2008 into consumer PC channels worked mainly because the channels found the Dell brand fresh and invigorating. Another smart move from Dell was the Sales Affiliate program which helped the small PC reseller earn commissions without the pain of stocking and selling. Since the margins offered were assured and better than offered by alternate

brands, thousands of partners across the country joined this program. Despite initial hiccups, Dell managed to build a stable MSA program. Even in territories where there were multiple MSAs, Dell chose to provide brand exclusivity by opting to push Vostro and Inspiron through separate distributors. This forced the competition (such as Lenovo, Acer and then finally HP) to react by introducing regional distribution or organized subdistribution for consumer channels. While so far Dell and the commercial channels treated each other only as opportunities, the GCC program could potentially give Dell a bigger share in future. Dell was price-aggressive through the past four years, and was often faster to the market with the latest SKUs compared to other PC vendors. Dell’s more efficient logistics have been instrumental in offering faster delivery cycles that are typically 10 working days—much better than the industry average of four weeks for PC products. The company’s biggest challenge is to keep its marketing machinery producing results, and to keep the freshness of its brand and product line among both customers and channels. The fact that HP is getting its PC act right after two years of strategies misfiring, that Lenovo is becoming very aggressive to capture market share, and that vendors such as Sony and Toshiba are also going aggressive will put pressure on Dell’s pole position. Nevertheless, the market is large, and Dell is still not a dominant player in certain segments such as class D and class E cities, government tender-driven deals, and national SI-driven orders. With India’s low PC penetration ratio, there’s a lot of room for everyone to grow. n The author is a Principal Analyst with Gartner India. He spoke to Ramdas S

Dell has been very consistent with its strategies. This consistency was rarely seen among other PC brands which often had to be reactive to Dell strategies

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cover story “We started working with Dell six months ago when the GCC was formed. Today nearly 35 percent of our `25 crore revenue comes from Dell”

“We don’t have a fixed price-list because prices are always dynamic. But we provide quotes within a day, and price clearances within 48 hours”

Suketu Shah

Mahesh Bhalla, Executive Director & GM,

CEO, Genie Infotech

Consumer & SMB, Dell India

a solution with faster ROI and lower TCO if they pick and choose the right building blocks backed by an established vendor like Dell.” Here too Dell plans to build a strong channel play. “Our Public and Large Enterprise team handles close to 10,000 accounts. We are in the process of passing half these accounts to our partners, thus creating more opportunities for them in the large enterprise space,” says Lal. The company is also taking the route taken by HP and IBM—it is aligning with ISV partners, and talking of connecting Dell channels with ISVs. “In the last quarter alone we have managed to bring 26 ISVs to the Dell camp, and we are piloting several initiatives across verticals,” says Sridhar. Dell has a development center in the Bengaluru, and through its Force 10 acquisition, an additional 250-developer base in Chennai. The India sales team plans to leverage this talent next year. Says Lal, “We are transforming into a solutions vendor, and our channels can leverage on our engineering strength too.” Dell is also scouting for channels with specific strengths in solutions building. “We are trying to look at partners with unique skill-sets that we don’t possess,” Lal adds.

The PC and retail biz While enterprise and SMB will be Dell’s focus for 2012, it also plans to consolidate its market share in the client business. Dell has maintained its PC leadership in 2011, and in fact managed to grow its share steadily QoQ. A lot of Dell’s success has been credited to its regional distribution strategy. When the strategy was launched in 2008 most detractors said that Dell was taking a huge risk in spreading itself wide. Notes Bhalla, “Today we don’t have any bad debts, nor do we have even payments outstanding beyond accepted credit limits.” The company has 35 MSAs (Master Sales Affiliates) across the country. It also has two national distributors in Supertron for consumer desktops and Global Infonet for its Vostro range. While some of the MSAs signed earlier dropped out of the business, Bhalla says that the model has gained maturity. “One of our successes is that we are very careful about overstocking; we generally see that stocks are kept for less than two weeks by our partners. Dell does not provide any price protection, so MSAs do not overstock. Also, if two MSAs are operating in a territory, they do not carry similar SKUs; this ensures that everyone makes margins, and that the MOP is intact.” Channels across the country say that the biggest reason why the customer pull for Dell is so high is the huge advertising spends that customers cannot ignore. A director of a leading MNC vendor claims that Dell spends

three times what his brand does to have its 4 percent lead over its closest rival. Bhalla dismisses this allegation. “According to our internal survey, we spent less than the industry median on advertising and marketing. We are very judicious in our spending, and focus only on print and Internet. We don’t have celebrity brand ambassadors. I would like to believe that we buy advertising space at the best rates, so the allegation that we are spending heavily to buy market share is baseless.” Channels report that Dell is facing stiff competition from vendors such as Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba and HP. “While the competition is aggressive, any weakening in numbers is only as a result of inflation. Consumers are spending more on fuel and food, and have less disposable income,” states Bhalla. Analysts such as Tripathi believe that Dell’s biggest challenge will be to keep intact the freshness and novelty around its products and brand. Bhalla feels otherwise. “Unlike the consumer electronics market, the PC industry has customers with strong brand loyalty. As long as we keep producing great products we don’t see much of a challenge in keeping customers interested in the brand.” Dell recently told its sales affiliates that it will be rethinking the commissions paid out for booking customer orders. Bhalla however says that “We are only planning to restructure the program, so average payouts would remain the same.” He also stressed the long-term rewards Dell offers. “We want long-term relationships, and we are restructuring loyalty programs based on the length and depth of the partnership. We are rewarding partners based on the milestones they have achieved with us—for example, clocking `10 crore selling Dell products.” Bhalla says that at the end of the day every business is driven with a focus on partner profitability. “An example would be our decision to exit the netbook market because the market is shrinking, and the only way to keep that market alive is taking a call on margins, which excites neither us nor our partners.”

Conclusion Dell has had a golden run over the past few years. As the vendor is trying to transform itself into an IT solutions vendor—and not remain just a PC player—it increasingly needs to depend on channels. While a cross-section of the channel is still skeptical, Dell is willing to go all out and woo them. “In the past our relationship might have been opportunistic,” concedes Lal. “But now we want channels and Dell to depend on each other so that if business does not happen between us it should hurt both.” n

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market focus

Externally yours The capacities of external hard drives keep going up while their prices keep going down. The floods in Thailand interrupted this trend, but not for long n abhijeet mukherjee

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ith convergence, there has been exponential growth in digital content which in turn is driving demand for external storage devices including hard drives and portable flash memory products. “Over the past couple of years, factors like social media, digital convergence, improved broadband connectivity and the launch of 3G services have given an impetus to the consumer storage market. As a result, the external storage market is witnessing strong growth,” says Sumanta Mukherjee, GM, Research & Consulting, Computing & IT Peripherals, CMR India. By industry estimates, the external storage market in India clocked approximately `1,680 crore and is expected to double by 2016. Despite the blip in the HDD market due to the shortage created by floods in Thailand, the external HDD market grew by a good 30 percent from 1.4 million units in 2010 to 1.83 million units, and contributed roughly `450 crore. The portable flash drive (USB drive) market recorded a unit sale of 18.7 million during the same period, aggregating to a market size of `470 crore, while the flash card market sold close to 41 million units to rake in `760 crore. Solid state drives, due to the push from companies like Transcend and Kingston, are gaining traction in certain segments. The recent HDD shortage seems to have provided it some push in the market.

HDD shortage Over the past three years, the external HDD market has grown at 70 percent CAGR, and had it not been for the Thailand floods it was expected to grow well above 40 percent even in 2011. “The continuing shortage has taken the sheen off the external HDD market. The shortage has led to an increase in prices by 50-60 percent, and this has impacted sales,” says Naresh Popat, MD, Checkmate Computers, a Mumbai-based reseller. While HDD vendors such as Seagate and WD have resumed their manufacturing in Thailand, they say that supplies will normalize only by Q32012. The price of an external 500 GB drive which rose from `2,400 to `5,000+ has now come down to `3,800. It’s expected to fall further as more supplies come into the market. Despite the shortage, storage vendors like Seagate, Western Digital and Iomega are bringing out innovative technology products such as media players that work as

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a unified storage medium for all digital gadgets and can be accessed as a wireless network drive for the digital home. “Most of these drives can also be accessed over the Internet from anywhere as a cloud storage. We have added apps that can be downloaded on your smartphones which can then be used to access any data residing on the home drive,” explains Khalid Wani, Sales Director, Branded Business For India, Middle East & Africa, WD. Seagate’s FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player, and WD’s TV Live Hub are some of the popular devices; the devices are priced at `7,000- `8,000 for the 1 TB versions. Both Seagate and WD have seen the demand grow for such home network drives. “The network drives are seeing increased adoption in Indian homes as the proliferation of digital devices continues. A typical home has multiple smartphones, 2-3 PCs and a digital player; a few homes also have smart TVs today. We see increased demand for network drives which can connect wirelessly across all digital devices and serve as a common storage for a digital home,” says Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager, Seagate India & Saarc. Seagate has also launched a slim HDD specifically for tablets. This is the first battery-powered external hard drive to wirelessly extend the storage capacity of any Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device. Devices are wirelessly connected to the GoFlex Satellite drive by use of the free GoFlex Media app–available now on iTunes on the Apple App Store and Android market place–or a Web browser. The drive is priced at `11,500 for 500 GB. “With tablet and smartphone shipments increasing, more data is being created and consumed on mobile devices. These devices however can’t be connected directly to the HDD as it requires a lot of power to boot and retrieve data. A battery-driven Wi-Fi storage becomes a perfect companion,” explains Khurana.

SSD market The SSD market in India is in its nascent stage and is driven mostly by the corporate segment and professionals. Prices of SSDs have dropped in the last couple of years, but they still command a huge premium over HDDs. A 128 GB SSD was priced at `15,000 a year back and is now available at below `10,000. However, it would still


market focus be 15 times overpriced if compared to a similar capacity HDD. While the prices will fall further in 2012, the prices will still be nowhere near the per GB cost of HDD, and will remain beyond the reach of the average consumer,” says Ajay Kogta, India Country Manager, Strontium Technology. Vendors such as Kingston, Strontium, Transcend, Iomega and SanDisk are focusing on creating awareness among corporate and professional users. “We are doing a lot of events in the corporate sector to create awareness. A lot is being done to publicize the advantages of SSDs over HDDs. We are also distributing the drives free of cost to help corporates test the product,” says Nidhi Sethi, Sales Director, Flash, Kingston India. An SSD consumes less power, and is light-weight and shock-proof. It’s also silent because it has no moving mechanical parts. Due to these advantages, sectors like airlines, transportation and banking have started using SSDs. “These drives solve many of the challenges of these industries. Airlines, for example, need a storage device that’s shock-proof for their on-board entertainment, and SSDs serve this purpose,” adds Sethi. The increasing demand for tablets and ultrabooks that use SSDs is also expected to create economies of scale for this technology, thus driving down its prices. Many believe that the shortage of HDDs can also help increase the demand for SSDs. “Due to the unavailability of HDDs we have been selling SSDs to many corporate and high-end professional users. While they are a lot more expensive compared to an HDD, when you explain the advantages to the professional user he is willing to buy it,” says Jimmy Joseph, CEO, Thomson Computronics, a Kanpur-based sub-distributor.

USB drives The market for flash drives is expected to grow at 15 percent in 2012. “Today, the entry level has become 8 GB, and in 2012 we expect 16 GB to become the entry level. The price of 8 GB today is less than `400, so going by that logic a 16 GB should cost a similar amount in the coming months,” remarks Manisha Sood, Country Manager, India & Saarc, SanDisk. With the commoditization of the product category, vendors like Kingston, Strontium, Transcend and SanDisk are trying to segment the market with features specific to certain verticals. Drives with security features are the most popular. Apart from software, some of the high-end drives come with hardware encryption where microchips within

“We see increased demand for network drives which can connect wirelessly across all digital devices and serve as a common storage for a digital home” Rajesh Khurana

Country Manager, Seagate India & Saarc

“SSDs solve many challenges. Airlines, for example, need a storage device that’s shock-proof for their onboard entertainment, and SSDs serve this purpose” Nidhi Sethi

Sales Director, Flash, Kingston India

the USB drive carry out automatic encryption. These devices offer additional features such as the ability to automatically overwrite the contents of the drive if the wrong password is entered more than a certain number of times. “The target audience for this is corporate users, legal professionals and CAs who carry confidential data. The prices of these products range from `999 to `25,000 depending on the type of security features and capacity of the drive,” Sethi informs.

Flash cards The flash card market which recorded 41 million units in 2011 is expected to grow to 50 million units by the end of 2012. With Android smartphones becoming popular and available for as low as `5,000, there’s increasing adoption of micro SD cards to store and share photos, games, music and video clips. Increasing affordability and the use of digital cameras with high resolutions are driving the market for highcapacity/high-speed flash cards as users look for a fast and secure storage medium to store more still pictures and HD video. Over the past several months, memory vendors have been segmenting the market by selling faster cards with Class 2, 4 and 6 transfer speeds. “With the market maturing, consumers are willing to pay a premium for faster memory cards. Many smartphone users and professional photographers opt for Class 4 and Class 6 cards which have transfer rates of 4 Mbps and 6 Mbps respectively,” informs Sood.

Different challenges While for HDDs the present shortage is one of the biggest challenges, for SSDs the challenge still remains its high price. For MicroSD cards the challenge is that the majority of the Indian population uses old mobile phones that do not support the higher-capacity cards. Gray products have also hit the external storage market. “Around 40 percent of the products, especially flash cards and drives, are smuggled from China,” says Mukherjee of CMR India. The volatility in dollar value is another challenge for the industry because most of the products are imported. “The recent fluctuations in the value of the rupee have also impacted the storage industry, but we expect the situation to normalize in another six months,” adds Kogta. Despite these challenges, the exponential growth in digital content will continue to fuel the external storage market and provide a good opportunity for the channel. n

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role model BEYOND THE CONVENTIONAL From working for a jute manufacturing company to heading his own `1,110 crore IT distribution organization, VK Bhandari, Chairman and Managing Director, Supertron Electronics, has come a long way n Amit Singh

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fter completing his graduation from Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur, in 1984, VK Bhandari joined Fort Gloster Industries, a jute manufacturing company. But after a short stint of one and half year he realized that his passion lay elsewhere. He realized that he was obsessed about IT and he found it one of the most promising and budding fields. He started his career in IT in 1987 as a Sales Executive with Sujata Electronics, an IT distribution and trading company. After gaining experience and securing a good understanding of sales, purchases, imports and the like, he began thinking of starting his own venture. Turning his thoughts into reality, Bhandari started his company, Supertron Electronics, as an IT trading and imports company in 1993. Today the company ranks among the top eight IT distributors in India, and is a key distributor for vendors such as Seagate, Dell, Acer, Buffalo, IBM, Kingmax, LG, Cyberoam and Transcend.

The beginning Bhandari started his venture in IT trading and importing in Kolkata with an initial investment of `3 lakh from his savings. The company did not have any significant hiccups due to Bhandari’s extensive experience. “We started with three employees and imported CRT monitors and PC components from Taiwanese companies. We were representing Chicony for their keyboards and TVM for monitors. In FY1993-94 we recorded revenue of about `4 crore,” informs Bhandari. In 1994 the company formed a partnership with Vintron to distribute its motherboards, CRT monitors and desktops in east India. In 1997 the company started distributing PC components and UPSs from Mercury. Extending its portfolio, Supertron became an import partner for Seagate HDDs in 1998. The company also became a regional distributor for Acer PCs and LG’s entire IT portfolio in 1999.

“Our engagement with our vendors extends beyond product distribution to one that comprises product positioning, brand building, marketing and distribution” 30

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In FY2004-05, Supertron changed its focus from regional distribution to national distribution; it stopped distributing Mercury products to introduce its Supercomp range of PC components and peripherals. “We decided to distribute IT products nationwide. In consonance with this objective we started opening branches in different states. We got national distribution tie-ups for the whole range of Seagate and Acer products in 2005. This helped our organization to flourish as a leading distributor,” Bhandari says. The company gradually expanded its network throughout the country and by 2005 had set up 13 branch offices. Riding on its tie-ups with Seagate and Acer, Supertron recorded revenue of `256 crore in FY2005-06. According to Bhandari, passion, teamwork and a determination to grow, along with fair and ethical business practices, have been key to Supertron’s growth. Supertron tied up with Transcend in FY2007-08 to nationally distribute its range of memory products. In addition, it partnered with Buffalo in 2008-09 as national distributor for its DVD writers, external HDDs and NAS boxes. In FY2008-09 the company got a national distributorship for IBM servers and storage, and for Dell’s desktops and TFT monitors. The company launched its Solitaire range of premium PC components and peripherals in 2009.

Current business Supertron is now considered one of the foremost valueadded distributors (VADs) with more than 9,200 registered channel partners. The company grew from `611 crore in FY2008-09 to `929 crore in FY2009-10. Then in FY201011 Supertron clocked a turnover of `1,100 crore. Of the total revenue, 95 percent was contributed by distribution while the rest came from its Supercomp and Solitaire brands. “We attribute our growth mainly to the Dell, Acer and Seagate business, and also to some new tieups. In the distribution portfolio, Dell, Acer and Seagate contributed more than 75 percent of our overall revenue while the other brands contributed the balance,” informed Bhandari. Supertron expanded its Dell product line by including servers, printers and projectors in FY2010-11. The company currently has 27 branches and 10 satellite offices. “A unique feature of our marketing


Role model

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2008

2008

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prices of HDD due to the floods in initiatives has been our upcountry MILESTONES Thailand, and the potential recession focus since demand in the metros round the corner due to low market is saturating. This upcountry focus sentiments.” fits very well with our overarching Started Supertron Electronics The company expects revenue mission of bringing the best IT Limited growth of about 22 percent in products to an underpenetrated FY2012-13 by capitalizing on its India,” says Bhandari. Partnered with Vintron for its As a VAD, Supertron works motherboards, monitors & PCs national distribution partnership with LG for notebooks, Digisol for closely with vendors and the motherboards, Belkin for keyboards channel to drive their businesses. Became RD for LG monitors, and mice, Cyberoam for Netgenie, “Our engagement with our vendors desktops and ODDs and Kingmax for its entire range. extends beyond the conventional “The IT industry is poised product distribution to one that Introduced Supercomp to grow at 15-20 percent in the comprises product positioning, components and peripherals coming years as the percentage brand building, marketing and penetration in India for computers distribution,” Bhandari says. Became ND for IBM servers is much lower compared to For its exclusive tie-ups with and storage other developing or developed Dell for desktops and TFTs, and nations. We will be adding some with Acer for eMachines, Supertron Became ND for Dell desktops more brands to our portfolio for created a reasonable market share and TFT monitors distribution. We are creating valuenation-wide from scratch. “We adding verticals in the organization introduced the eMachines brand of Became ND for LG notebooks, to address the SI segment with notebooks in 2009, and currently Digilite, Belkin, Netgenie and networking solutions, servers and bill about 8,000 units per month. We storage. In addition, we have plans also bill around 40,000 units of Dell Kingmax to partner with leading networking monitors per month,” he informs. vendors. We will also be getting According to Bhandari, the into telecom product line distribution.” employee attrition rate in Supertron is only 5 percent The company has formed a technical team of four against the industry average of 30 percent. “We have engineers to provide support and understand the retained our manpower through systematic HR policies, requirements of SIs. result-driven training, attractive incentives, an amicable work environment, freedom and responsibility. A hierarchy is in place, but the senior management is highly On a personal note accessible at all times, and communication lines are open Bhandari considers NR Narayana Murthy as his and transparent,” says Bhandari. business role model for not only what he achieved but Looking at the challenges of inventory and logistics also for the manner in which he did it. “I admire him management, the company has implemented an for his exceptional knowledge and leadership qualities ERP solution from Microsoft and started centralized combined with his humility and down-to-earth control of partner registration and credit. “The ERP approach.” system implemented in 2008 provides real-time He is a firm believer that people are our greatest asset. information, accelerates decision-making, and establishes “My leadership mantra is to focus on having a happy and organizational integration. The company’s ERP ensures productive workforce using vision, respect, motivation that credit and inventory control systems are in place, and connectedness, and to leverage the collective genius thus maintaining stringent control over receivables and toward shared goals.” inventories. It has also proved ideal for fund management Bhandari likes to spend time with his family and and sales analysis. We have plans to implement an online friends, and watch Hindi movies, mainly comedy. He CRM system soon,” Bhandari informs. also watches TV comedies. His favorite book is Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. He keeps himself engaged in various orphanages and old Looking to the future age homes during the weekends by distributing food and The company is targeting revenue of `1,250 crore in helping them financially. FY2011-12. “This will be only 14 percent growth against He has been involved with the Computer Association our targeted 25 percent; this reduction is against the of Eastern India (COMPASS) for more than 10 years; he backdrop of appreciating dollar prices, the doubled is also a founder member. “I served as a vice president for three years and as president for six years. It is a matter of great pride for me that I have contributed to “My mantra is to focus on having a happy the establishment of COMPASS as one of the best IT and productive workforce using vision, associations in India.” respect and connectedness, and to leverage His favorite cuisines include Chinese, Italian and Continental. He likes to visit Kashmir and Switzerland. n the collective genius toward shared goals”

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tech focus

The best of the best The world’s largest technology show was full of amazing gadgets and powerful products. Here’s a look at 10 products that impressed us n Rob Wright

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he Consumer Electronics Show (CES) enjoyed record attendance this year as more than 150,000 people showed up in Las Vegas to take in all the new smartphones, TVs, tablets and PCs the technology industry had to offer. Here are the top 10 items that impressed CRN last week at CES 2012, from the latest in HDTV technology and wireless storage to the sleekest ultrabooks and thinnest notebooks around.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Lenovo’s made a habit of using Las Vegas as a launch pad for flashy new PCs and mobile devices, and CES 2012 was no exception. The computer maker introduced the IdeaPad Yoga, an ultrabook hybrid that combines a classic notebook form factor with a convertible tablet. The Yoga’s 13.1 inch touchscreen display can be flipped 360 degrees into a tablet mode. Lenovo says the Yoga is the thinnest convertible ultrabook around— just 0.67 inches—and weighs just over three pounds. The Yoga, which comes with Windows 8, is expected to ship in the second half of this year for a starting price of $1,199.

HP Envy 14 Spectre HP’s ultrabook is ultra-sleek. In fact, it may be the first mass-market laptop with a chassis made almost completely out of glass (don’t worry, it’s scratch resistant). The Spectre boasts a 14 inch HP Radiance Display which supports a 1600x900 resolution, and comes packed with powerful hardware, including an Intel Core i5 processor, up to 8 GB of RAM, and up to 256 GB of SSD storage. HP’s new ultrabook is also ultra-portable at 20 mm thin and weighing just under four pounds. The Envy 14 Spectre is scheduled to launch next month for $1,399.

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Seagate 4G wireless storage With the rise of mobile devices like tablets, smartphones and digital media players, the importance of mobile storage has also increased. That’s why Seagate has teamed up with Verizon to create a new 4G wireless storage device. Based on Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite drive, the new 4G wireless device features 500 GB of storage and its own battery for an independent power source. In addition to a Wi-Fi connection, the device can also connect to Verizon’s 4G LTE wireless service for data uploading and media streaming. So if Wi-Fi isn’t available, the portable storage device can connect to your tablet, smartphone or notebook via 4G wireless. Pricing and availability have not been announced for the Seagate 4G wireless storage device, which is also awaiting a proper product name.

ExoPC EXOdesk ExoPC’s newest invention could be the future of digital signage. The EXOdesk is actually a 36 inch HD display that sits on top of a table or desk—hence the name—and allows the user to control a PC, Mac or virtually any other kind of system via the touchscreen display’s Exo UI. As a result, you don’t need Windows 8 or a touchscreen-ready OS to use the EXOdesk. The demo system at CES was running Windows 7. The easy-to-use Exo UI can launch a host of different apps, desktop shortcuts and widgets, as well as create a virtual keyboard or an old typewriter if you’re feeling nostalgic. Unlike other slick-looking interactive displays, the EXOdesk is affordable at $1,300. ExoPC expects the product to launch in September.

Samsung Super OLED 55 inch TV At CES this year, OLED (organic light-emitting diode) was one of the big buzz words. And with good reason, since OLED technology makes HDTVs even brighter, thinner and more energy-efficient. One of the best displays on the show floor was


tech focus Samsung’s 55 inch Super OLED HDTV, which comes with a dual-core processor and 3D support, not to mention a picture that features amazing clarity and brightness. The Samsung Super OLED TV also looks razor thin and has a barely-noticeable bezel. No pricing or availability have been announced for this monster TV, but it’s sure to be expensive.

Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone Microsoft needed a boost for its Windows Phone 7 operating system, and the gorgeous Nokia Lumia 900 might be just what CEO Steve Ballmer ordered. The device features an alluring design with a 4.3 inch Amoled touchscreen display and a frame that measures just 0.45 inches thick. The Lumia 900 also has an 8 MP camera and a 1 MP front camera, plus a 1.4 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network. The device’s battery life supports up to seven hours of 3G wireless talk time and 6.5 hours of video playback time. No word yet on pricing and availability for Nokia’s new smartphone.

Samsung Series 9 Notebook Ultrabooks may have been the big theme at this year’s show, but the Samsung Series 9 notebook predates Intel’s new category. In fact, Samsung says its secondgeneration Series 9 is the thinnest PC notebook, and it may be the closest device yet to a MacBook Air killer. The redesigned Series 9 is even thinner (approximately 0.5 inches thick) and lighter (2.5 pounds) than the first Series 9 model introduced last year; in fact, Samsung says the new 13 inch model is 28 percent smaller. The new Series 9 is also more powerful, boasting a 1600x900 screen resolution. It’s made of Duralumin, which in case you didn’t know is a light aluminum alloy used in aircraft construction. The secondgeneration Series 9 notebook is scheduled for launch globally next month starting at $1,399 for the 13 inch model and $1,499 for the 15 inch model.

Microsoft Windows 8 Microsoft’s newest operating system may have its share of skeptics, but Windows 8 certainly drew a crowd at this year’s CES. The completely redesigned OS was featured on a number of forthcoming notebooks and ultrabooks such as Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga. Microsoft showed off the latest build of Windows 8 at its booth to a heavy crowd of attendees, demonstrating the touchscreen capability and new tile UI as well as customization features. While the event was short on details for ARM-based device compatibility, Microsoft laid the groundwork for the operating system’s beta release next month. While Android has stolen some of Microsoft’s thunder lately, Windows 8 is looking more like a product that can get Microsoft back into the mobile device game.

Asus Transformer 700 Once again, there were lots of tablets in Las Vegas. One of the best models at the show was the Asus Transformer 700 series. Similar to Asus’ already-released Transformer Prime, the 700 series is a 10.1 inch tablet with a sleek metallic finish. The 700 series tablet comes with a few upgrades like Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and Nvidia’s Tegra 3 mobile processor. Best of all, the Transformer 700 tablet comes with an incredible 1920x1200 highdefinition display, which is the best of any tablet available in the market. The Transformer 700 series has a starting price of $599; the launch date has yet to announced.

Panasonic ToughPad A1 Leave it to Panasonic to make a ruggedized tablet. Following the footsteps of its ToughBook ruggedized laptop family, Panasonic has introduced the ToughPad A1, a 10.1 inch Android tablet that’s MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certified for ruggedness. The ToughPad A1 comes with Android Honeycomb and a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with embedded hardware security, as well as integrated 4G wireless (WiMax or LTE) and optional 3G mobile broadband in addition to Wi-Fi. The tablet also boasts of a protective frame to safeguard the device against drops, plus a userreplaceable battery that provides up to 10 hours of battery life. The ToughPad A1, which Panasonic calls the most secure tablet ever, will launch this Spring starting at $1,299. n

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channel buzz

n The event witnessed participation from more than 500 customers

HP wants customers to Demand More HP India showcased its latest range of LaserJet products and solutions at a special event (branded Demand More) for its customers in the government, SMB and enterprise segments as well as key channel partners. The event, held in Delhi, showcased HP’s M500 and M600 LaserJet printer series, along with the M4555 MFP series. The event was attended by more than 500 customers who also witnessed live demonstrations for various technologies and applications including HP ePrint, AirPrint, Secure Printing and Color Access Control. n

n Business school faculty members who underwent the training under the new program

IBM’s advance analytics skills program IBM is expanding its academic initiative for business analytics with new programs in India, China, Ireland and Scotland. In India, IBM is working with faculty members from 500 universities to help more than 30,000 students develop skills in predictive analytics. The company is conducting a series of training programs for business school faculty in predictive and business analytics in 15 major cities. The faculty members receive a certification process in analytics at the end of the program. Once certified, teachers can teach students about how analytics can be applied to their topic of study. The learning involves access to predictive analytics technology and focuses on how to act on the results.n

Intel hosts India Cloud Summit

n Tushar Sighat, CEO, D-Link India, felicitates a partner at the event in Kochi

D‑Link makes stronger Connections D-Link recently concluded the first phase of its channel engagement program—Connections—where it covered the nine cities of Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Jaipur, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kochi, Bengaluru and Vadodara. More than 1,400 resellers attended the program where D-Link felicitated its outstanding partners. The program was organized with the key objective of educating partners about D-Link’s range of networking products with special emphasis on a solution-centric approach. D-Link also showcased its range of new lifestyle networking products to give partners a first-hand experience through live demos. n

Intel India recently hosted the Intel Cloud Summit in Mumbai, reaching out to customers from verticals like banking, telecom, IT/ITeS and PSUs. It highlighted the various initiatives of the company on the cloud front including the Intel Cloud Builder Program and the Intel Open Data Center Initiative. It also shared the company’s cloud vision. The summit featured a keynote by Kimberly Stevenson, VP, IT, and GM, IT Global n R Ravichandran, Operations & Services, Intel. Director, Sales, Intel Stevenson spoke about how South Asia, speaking at the event intelligent connections are emerging through the cloud, and how the industry is working toward extending the benefits of cloud computing to enterprises across the region. The program also saw demos from leading companies such as Microsoft, Dell and Fujitsu. n

To feature your company’s events in CRN, send write-ups with photographs to editor@ubmindia.com 34

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new products Mercury mTab2

K Panasonic full HD 3D home theater projector

P

anasonic has launched its first Full HD 3D home theater projector, the PT-AE7000. The company says this is the world’s first 3D projector to use transparent LCD panels driven at 480 Hz. The newly-developed optical engine has a 300,000:1 contrast ratio and 2,000 lumens of brightness. The projector features five 3D effect modes for 2D to 3D conversion. It comes with a built-in 3D transmitter that lets users enjoy large-screen 3D images with optional eyewear. The projector’s power management system reduces the lamp power to the required level of brightness depending on the content being displayed. It includes an off-timer that reduces wasteful power consumption, a standby power consumption of 0.08 watts, and a 4,000 hour (normal mode), and 5,000 hour (eco mode) lamp life. The Panasonic PT-AE7000 is available in the market for `250,000 and is backed by a two-year warranty.

obian has launched its Mercury mTab2 which has a 7 inch (16:9) capacitive multi-touch powered by a Dual Core 1 Ghz processor. Designed on Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, it has an inbuilt storage of 8 GB and 32 GB MicroSD expandable slot. It also has an inbuilt 0.3 MP front camera and Wi-Fi feature which supports IEEE 802.11b/g. Additionally, it supports nearly all USB 3G dongles available in India. It has full HDMI output and provides battery backup up to eight hours. It also includes an inbuilt speaker and microphone. The product is priced at an MRP of `11,999 and is available with a warranty of one year through Kobian authorized distributors.

The products featured here have not undergone any benchmarking or testing. The trailers contain information provided by vendors and distributors. To feature your company’s products in CRN, send write-ups with photos to editor@ubmindia.com

Computer Reseller News

01/02/2012

www.crn.in

35


shadow ram GET

AMD on a roll? A

lot is happening at AMD India. Company insiders tell Shadow that the chip-maker is close to inking a big deal with the Indian government. They are very tight-lipped about it since the competition is said to be very keen to scuttle the deal. While the exact details are not known, it is believed that AMD is working closely on developing an Indiaspecific tablet PC under a project with the Indian government. A formal announcement is expected during the visit of AMD’s global CEO later this quarter. AMD is also working with leading OEMs to supply notebooks based on the ultrathin form factor. Touted as competition to Intel’s ultrabooks, these products are expected to be launched globally in a couple of months. Further, sources suggest that Wipro and HCL have planned to supply their share of the 260,000 notebooks to Elcot with AMD processors. Lenovo, Acer and Chirag are likely to supply their part of the notebooks sporting Intel processors. Seems like AMD has a lot to cheer about in 2012.n

Personal

“I’d like to meet the Dalai Lama” Sudhir Nayar, who handles the channel business and is responsible for planning and strategizing at Avaya, has 21 years experience in the industry. He started his career with DCM Data Products and worked at Fujitsu ICIM, Microland and CA before he joined Sun / Oracle where he worked for 11 years.

Sudhir Nayar

If not in the IT industry: I would have joined the media.

Biggest passion: Driving the right change. Behind the wheels: BMW. Gadgets I can’t live without: My mobile phone for the email service. Weekends are for: Family. Also, taking time off to review my plans and prepare for the week ahead. Favorite holiday destination: Switzerland. Hate the most: Dishonesty. Favorite movie: Chak De India. Favorite star: Amitabh Bachchan. Role model: Sachin Tendulkar for his dedication, honesty, achievements and humility. Ultimate ambition: Be a professional coach or mentor. Wildest thing I have ever done: Getting on the space shot from the 70th floor in Las Vegas. Thing I most want to do in life: Be a motivational speaker. If I became the PM: I’d change the Indian education system to encourage experiential learning. Celebrity I’d like to spend a day with: Sachin Tendulkar. One person I would like to meet and why: The Dalai Lama to connect with my spiritual side. Deepest and darkest fear: Being stuck in the status quo stage. n 

38

Computer Reseller News

01/02/2012 www.crn.in

— CRN Network


RNI NO. MAHENG/2011/39915 Postal Reg. No. MH/MR/NORTH EAST/193/2010-2012 Posted at Patrika Channel Sorting Office, Mumbai Due Date 2nd, 3rd & 16th, 17th Of Every Fortnight


CRN February1, 2012  

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