August 2010 | Rs. 50
Vol 2 Issue 18 | A 9.9 Media Publication
SPECIAL CHANNEL EDITION
FROM ERP Muralidhar Adireddy of Daksah ebiz Consulting is seeing a lot of traction in the mid-market enterprise resource planning market. And he is not alone
GREEN GRAPHIC CARDS
Vendors tout them, but do they sell? PAGE 12
Working together effectively has never been easier PAGE 20
THE SMART INVESTOR Ranjan Chopra of Team Computers on his success mantra PAGE 24
ERP’s New Clothes
Several partners have emerged as key to driving and sustaining business in mid-market enterprise apps
ot very long back, the Indian IT industry flung into the air two big buzzwords – SMB and ERP – and chattered excitedly about making huge returns from them. From the 800-pound-gorilla SAP to a ragtag bunch of desi wannabes, everyone was convinced that the gazillions of small and medium businesses in India were only too eager to press the ‘buy’ button when it came to enterprise resource planning software. Of course, it didn’t happen just like that. The SMB space turned out to be more complicated and the owners more tight-fisted with their money than many had imagined. Plus, most of these businesses had only begun to put into place basic computing infrastructure – and the ERP aisle was a long way from them in the tech superbazaar. Their immediate priorities were – still are – accounting, invoicing and the Internet (email and a basic website). According to estimates by research firm AMI-Partners, only one in 10 medium businesses in India has thus far invested in ERP. It’s also pertinent to note that, of late, the term SMBs is giving way to MSMBs – micro, small and medium businesses. For these reasons, ERP deployments grew gradually rather than explode (the downturn played its part, too). But a few good things happened as a result of many large vendors – notably SAP, Microsoft, Oracle – and others like Tally and Ramco putting the spotlight on mid-market. One, there was industry-vertical emphasis in most SMB implementations that took place. Two, several channel partners emerged as key to driving and
sustaining business in this segment. So the focus of selling changed from here’s-a-quicktrimmed-down-ERP-package-for-you-to-deploy to how-can-we-help-you-in-your-business-with-asuitable-application. And the partnering strategy of vendors began revolving around those channel members who had functional experts in certain areas and were ready to further invest in training their people on ERP. Now, there are two new buzzwords in the industry – cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service) – and they are already beginning to cast their spell on partners and customers alike. Fortunately, while most vendors seem too eager to hype up their ‘cloud offerings’ (for obvious and understandable reasons), the partners and customers are evaluating all aspects of the equation – fixing responsibility areas, looking at multiple pricing structures, taking into account security issues, etc – before jumping onto the cloudwagon. Where are you placing your bets in the new business apps sweepstakes? We would love to hear your tales.
SANJAY GUPTA Editor Digit Channel Connect
sounding board sounding board August 2010 | Rs. 50
Vol 2 Issue 18 | A 9.9 Media Publication
SPECIAL CHANNEL EDITION
Dev Chakravarty, Assistant Manager – Research, AMI-Partners: “ERP adoption within SMEs is on the rise since they are gradually moving up the technology adoption ladder. A majority of SMEs are still within the first wave of technology adoption – yet are aspiring to gradually migrate into the second and finally the third wave, where ERP is an integral component of the ladder.”
Jitendra Kulkarni, CEO, Winspire: “SMEs now look for domain expertise while choosing the partner [for ERP]. They also look for unique value adds that a partner can bring to them through his own IP. In such a scenario, it’s important that a partner goes for a focussed vertical approach.”
FROM ERP Muralidhar Adireddy of Daksah ebiz Consulting is seeing a lot of traction in the mid-market enterprise resource planning market. And he is not alone
GREEN GRAPHIC CARDS
Vendors tout them, but do they sell? PAGE 12
Working together effectively has never been easier PAGE 20
THE SMART INVESTOR Ranjan Chopra of Team Computers on his success mantra PAGE 24
Write to the Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Snail Mail: The Editor, Digit Channel Connect, B-118, Sector 2, Noida 201301
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
Muralidhar Adireddy, Director, Dakshah ebiz Consulting: “Quite often, a typical SME customer will have limited knowledge and awareness of ERP and needs to be educated. A partner must know how to provide employee training and change management for ERP deployments and give the go-live support.”
“OUR BIG CHARTER IS TO DEVELOP A FOCUSSED GROUP OF PARTNERS” – Amitabh Jacob, Secure World Channel Manager - India and SAARC, RSA
Jacob shares with Charu Khera the key trends in the security space and the company’s plans to appoint new partners and conduct training programmes DCC: What are your key focus verticals? Can you share with us your channel expansion plans?
RSA is in the process of signing up with new partner organisations, which will address the growing needs of the commercial segment. In the first phase, the company will sign up with a select number of partners across each region of the North, South and West. The partners will primarily be VARs and System Integrators (SIs), and will address the three product lines of RSA viz. SecurID (2 factor authentication suite), enVision and DLP (Data Loss Prevention). Simultaneously, RSA will continue its focus of deploying information-centric security solutions across the enterprise segment. Our key focus verticals are BFSI, telecom, high-end tech and government. These sectors are addressed by our six to seven national SIs on a case to case basis. RSA is working on further fine tuning this set of partners known as ‘Signature Partners’ and is aligning more closely with them. The Signature Partners will be attuned with a specific vertical/ product focus to help entrench RSA’s offerings further. DCC: Indian security market is growing in terms of vendors, technologies and product offerings. What is RSA doing to tap these opportunities in the Indian market?
RSA has always taken a holistic approach towards security rather than a point solution approach. And we will continue to work towards this strategy of information risk management in the
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coming years as well. A strategy, which is informationcentric and focuses on the risks involved, would be very effective in addressing the various threats that any organisation faces today. DCC: We got to know some time back that RSA will be recruiting 15 VARs and SIs, who will address the growing needs of the commercial segment. What has been the progress on the same?
We have identified the target partners regionally and are currently in the process of completing the sign ups and business plans with them. We will be announcing their names soon. DCC: What, according to you, are the new technologies that are driving the security market in India?
Security solutions must be information and transaction-centric versus perimeter-centric. Given the rapid proliferation of malware and attacks, and the increasingly dynamic nature of IT infrastructure, our solutions must take into account facts and circumstances that can be correlated to better mitigate risk. A good security strategy would have DLP as its core with other access and data controls supporting it. Most companies are waking to this reality today. DCC: Can you please share details on the training programmes that you are planning for partners this year?
RSA’s training programmes for partners is broadly across two tracks. One is the certification track, which covers
Channel partners are an extension of RSA. We realise the importance of this and of formulating and conducting training programmes to better equip partners to better equip partners to educate their customers and sell products to them. RSA will continue its focus of deploying informationcentric security solutions across the enterprise segment. Our solutions must take into account facts and circumstances that can be correlated to better mitigate risk.
sales and technical aspect and imparts the fundamental or base level knowledge for becoming an RSA partner and then the complexity level goes up based on the level of partnership with RSA. The second track is the quarterly classroom training provided across India. This one is more in line with the specific training needs of partners at a current point in time. This year, we have instituted a Partner Programme Office. DCC: Since most of your products are based on concept selling, how do you empower your partners to deal with customer queries?
We believe that channel partners are an extension of RSA. We realise the importance of this and of formulating and conducting training programmes to better equip partners to educate their customers and sell products to them. Our partners provide solutions and consulting services around data protection, encryption technologies and key management and our other solution offerings. DCC: What are some of the key challenges that you are currently facing on the channel front?
Currently, our big charter is to develop a small but focused group of partners across India to address the key markets that we have identified in our plans. The key challenge for us is in this area only – be it signing up with partners regionally, developing business plans or training them. n email@example.com
“THE NORTEL BUY HAS ACCELERATED OUR CHANNELCENTRIC STRATEGY” – Bejoy Antony, Director Channels and Strategic Alliances – India & SAARC – Avaya
Antony shares with Charu Khera the company’s channel-centric growth strategy, partnerships with other vendors and unified communications DCC: Can you brief us about your channel structure?
Avaya follows a channel-centric approach in India and in future too, we would try and transform to become a channel-centric organisation in every way we do business and drive a significantly greater portion of our business through the channel. Our global Avaya Connect Channel Programme, launched earlier this year, is setting the standard as a truly global programme for all our partners. Avaya has a network of over 4,000 channel partners, resellers, Systems Integrators (SIs), distributors and development partners globally. In India, we work primarily with two major distributors – Beetel and Redington – who also service a large network of resellers, helping to address the huge SME base in India. Our principal channel partners are AGC Networks, Wipro, IBM, HCL, Orange Business Services and HP. Our business model is to drive the vast majority of business through our channels. DCC: As per media reports, Avaya is optimistic about its SME-centric offerings. How crucial do you think will be the channel support in achieving this target?
SMEs are a critical segment for us and our efforts are centred towards providing efficient solutions to their business needs. We have an SME sales team focussing just on this segment. The channel support will be extremely crucial in achieving this target. The new Avaya, post the Nortel Enterprise acqui-
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sition, has been moving towards the high-touch, channel-centric sales model. Partners can take advantage of enhanced technical and marketing benefits through the Avaya Connect Partner Programme, which helps them attract and serve customers better. We also have a slew of marketing initiatives in the pipeline. We soon plan to organise a 6-city roadshow for channel partners to showcase the integrated product roadmap to the partner community. A demo for IP Office – our flagship SME product - is also being organised for our SME channels. DCC: What benefits have your partners inherited from Nortel being an entity of Avaya now?
The acquisition has increased our global scale, accelerated our channelcentric strategy, and enhanced our product portfolio and talent pool. Our partners are benefiting from a very strong, agile innovation engine. Within 30 days of the acquisition, we announced our combined product roadmap, as we had promised we would. This clarified a great deal of uncertainty in the minds of both our customers and partners, and has allowed us to move forward rapidly to build up our business momentum. DCC: Avaya has a long-standing partnership with HP, Microsoft and Polycom. How are these alliances beneficial for your partners?
We leverage our global partnerships in many ways, and work closely
We leverage our global partnerships in many ways, and work closely with our channel partners to ensure that the most effective solution can be proposed to the customer. We have a vibrant network of smaller development partners in our global DevConnect programme, providing new applications to complement our solutions. Avaya’s open, session-based communications helps employees to flexibly connect to other users, applications and systems across the enterprise.
with our channel partners to ensure that the most effective solution can be proposed to the customer. We also have a vibrant network of smaller development partners in our global DevConnect programme, providing new applications to complement our solutions. DCC: How do you see Avaya’s positioning in the Unified communications space by the end of 2011?
We foresee unified communications really coming of age in the latter part of this year and moving into 2011. With Avaya’s open, session-based communications, employees are able to flexibly connect to other users, applications and systems across the enterprise. DCC: As per industry watchers, Avaya is evolving to become a software company with nearly 80% of your R&D spend on software. How is this beneficial for the Indian channel?
Through Avaya’s DevConnect programme, we link some of the most dynamic software application creators with our business partners to ensure our customers always have the latest applications they need. DCC: What measures do you take to cope up with the challenges that you face?
A more coordinated programme, with better access to information, materials and a clear accreditation process prove to be of help. A focus on value selling for our partners is also a key element in our joint value proposition. n firstname.lastname@example.org
SECURE Channel partners are steadily taking on the role of trusted advisors to guide customers on how to protect their information and reduce business risks VINEET SOOD
MBs are now equipped with laptops, handheld devices, carrying confidential business data on them at all times. But, a mobile workforce, increasing usage of social networking for business purposes and employees participating in social networking activities at work, leads to enhanced business risks. While all these devices and online participation is certainly helping SMBs forge deeper ties with customers, suppliers and partners, it is also opening up an online threat scenario involving the spreading of malicious code, such as botnets, spam, or worms. Further, the mobile workforce phenomenon is leaving companies vulnerable to data loss, by not properly protecting devices. As a result, confidential information is at risk, which could not only result in its loss or business downtime, but also jeopardize important customer relationships. This can be highly detrimental for a SMB customer, impacting revenues as well as damaged reputation in some cases. The new era of the business internet is the perfect opportunity for solution providers to step in and guide customers on how to protect their information while embracing the uber-connected world. The consolidation in the IT industry is leading to a change in the business dynamics for the future. The role of channel partners has broadened, with many of them becoming trusted advisors to customers.
ensuring that information is readily available anywhere, anytime, while at the same time being properly protected. Helping customers evaluate the potential for risk is essential to maintaining that balance. Partners should be asking customers fundamental questions such as: Where is your confidential data? How is it being used? And, how do you prevent data loss? What is the cost of losing confidential data?
How to become a trusted advisor:
Educate customers about the inherent threats: One of the biggest challenges SMBs face today is
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Guide in the process of creating internet policies: For many years, SMBs have dealt with threat issues raised by employee use of the internet. The rise of social networking sites adds an extra layer to this challenge. There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question of how a customer should proceed. However, the heightened risks surrounding online social n e t wo r k i n g p r ov i d e a n opportunity for VARs to help customers refresh IT protocols and develop polices to ensure employees are properly using the internet.
Protect mobile devices: SMBs t h at h ave m o b i l e devices available to employees should
The role of channel partners has broadened, with many of them becoming trusted advisors to customers. With limited time, budget, and employees, SMBs look to their solution provider to help create plans, implement automated protection solutions, and monitor for trends and threats.
establish best practices specific to these devices to ensure information is secure. Partners can help executives and their employees feel safe in accessing confidential information without worrying it will end up in the wrong hands. A starting point might be making sure businesses are being vigilant about personal security. This means encouraging employees to use mobile devices that are password protected and reminding them not to leave handheld devices lying around.
Plan your IT Investments: Antivirus software alone won’t fend off today’s sophisticated cyber criminals. SMBs need multiple layers of security to protect their data from all angles. VARs may want to provide customers with an all-in-one suite that is easy to use and protects against malicious software, spam, data loss and downtime. The solution should have end-to-end protection, ensuring it is sophisticated enough to defeat known and unknown threats. It should also have effective and accurate anti-spam protection that automatically detects spam without requiring manual adjustment of filtering rules or monitoring of false positives. Finally, the solution should have rapid, reliable backup and recovery technology, enabling customers to easily restore data and protect against new threats. With limited time, budget, and employees, SMBs look to their solution provider to help create plans, implement automated protection solutions, and monitor for trends and threats. Every solution provider should see themselves as an expert – and position themselves that way in the eyes of their customers. Helping SMBs safeguard information in the new era of social networking should be a high-priority for solution providers. Moving beyond just selling to becoming a trusted partner to the SMB customer, is the ideal role to be played by channel partners in today’s scenario. n Vineet Sood is Head, Channel and Alliances, Symantec India.
best of biz Collaboration
COLLABORATION In today’s dynamic business climate, collaboration helps an organisation tap better into expertise and improve productivity
tion is a systematic approach to realizing measurable business value from improving the way people interact specific to their job roles, functional area and industry. This enables an organisation to become expertise-based and collaborate across their entire internal and external population in the context of how they work.
How do people collaborate to maximize effectiveness? Businesses must embrace change by creating a more agile, collaborative and connected business environment. Setting a collaboration agenda can make a company more profitable and productive, while giving people a better quality of work and life.
your business by redefining the way your people work. It’s about cost effectively building and deepening connections among people, systems, and processes in and beyond the boundaries of an organisation. Collaboration helps the organisation by discovering and combining expertise and information in time and in context, and tapping in to world class expertise from anywhere. It can be structured without delays and distractions or high costs. Collaboration can also contribute to better product development by connecting people to drive insight and deepen relationships to collaborate on new products and approaches. The world is becoming more connected economically, socially and technically. In this process, humans are key to systems becoming instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. People are the ultimate sensors where latency in business processes still exist, and where data is used to make decisions. As a result, we have to also focus on enabling people to work more naturally and efficiently, essentially without obstacles. Business leaders can solve challenges and address opportunities by better enabling people important to them. First, it’s critical to define challenges, issues and risks across the roles and patterns within a particular business area. Then, it can be determined how collaboration can solve those challenges and improve real business results.
he planet may be getting smarter, but it is also getting more dynamic and harder to predict, particularly the business world. Everything from swings in markets, to increasing global competition to new consumer expectations is changing at a furious pace. How do businesses evolve to adapt and respond dynamically? We also live in a time when people want to communicate in real-time, anytime, anywhere. Information and expertise abound, but gaining insight from it is harder than ever. Workers want to use new tools and personal technology to accomplish their goals.
A collaboration agenda differentiates
Setting an agenda for collabora-
Setting a collaboration agenda can make a company more profitable and productive, while giving people a better quality of work and life. Collaboration helps the organisation by discovering and combining expertise and information in time and in context, and tapping in to world class expertise from anywhere.
To set a collaboration agenda, businesses should: • Establish a clear strategy that makes fluid connections and interactions across customers, partners, employees, etc. • Design a roadmap that balances business impact, adoption and investment. • Optimize their organisationspecific interaction patterns showing how people really work together. • Define tangible metrics to measure return-on-investment.
How do you get started? Start by asking yourself tough business questions such as: 1 Does your organisation change effectively when it needs to? 2 Do you empower people to work wherever and whenever they need to? 3 Can you quickly and easily find the right information and expertise? 4 Are you spending time searching for information and not getting anywhere? 5 Are you making optimal use of people and resources inside and outside the organisation? 6 Do your systems take so long to change that they slow business response? 7 Are your major business processes stuck in silos? Answering these questions honestly may lead to the blueprint for a collaboration agenda - a view of the ultimate organisation of the future - yours. n Karthik Padmanabhan is Country Manager, IBM Lotus Software.
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
focus Graphic Cards
Going the GREENWAY The latest to tout the eco-friendly tag are graphics cards, but can you make money selling them? SAKET ANUPAM
n the last couple of years, ‘Green’ is the mantra that most IT vendors have been following to define their ‘innovative’ plans and strategies. Many vendors have been constantly investing in making their products ‘Green’ and eco-friendly. For example, many LCD TVs, monitors, motherboards, hard drives, printers, scanners, etc are now available with features that help consumers conserve power. However, a popular PC component that is gaining the ‘Green’ tag nowadays are graphic cards. Though most of us might still believe that graphic cards are power-hungry devices and are still far away from the ‘Green’ factor, it is time to take a relook at the market closely. Today, majority of graphic cards manufacturers, the likes of Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, XFX, Palit Microsystems, Sapphire and Big-Tek among others are talking about eco-friendly graphic cards. Maintaining an eco-minded profile, Asus has recently launched Bravo220, an eco-friendly graphics card, which (as per the company) offers approximately 21% more power savings compared to competing models. According to the company, various innovative features in
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the newly launched graphic card ensures quick heat dissipation and greater longevity, without falling back on power-hungry active cooling, thus minimising energy consumption. Another leading manufacturer of graphic cards – MSI has also recently unveiled a graphic card in this category. They say that their N9600GT Hybrid Frozr graphics card utilises the Hybrid Frozr technology, which enable users to monitor the temperature and control the ventilation for a more silent operation, high computing performance and effective heat dissipation. As per a company’s spokesperson, MSI will continue to pursue environmental protection activities and increase environmental awareness in a variety of areas. MSI has also claimed that the Hybrid Frozr technology
With the growing awareness in terms of eco-friendly products, the new range of eco-friendly graphics cards should attract a good amount of attention from all sectors. The call of the future would be for the manufacturers to make high-end eco-friendly graphics cards, and also SIs and VARs to help the manufacturers sell these products by educating customers about their benefits.
is distinctively designed to conserve and save energy resources. The spokesperson adds, “The Hybrid Frozr cooling technology has a built-in interior fan for temperature control and utilises 6mm thick heat pipes for effective thermal conductivity.” Gigabyte too has launched a GeForce 9600 GT Green Version graphic card with eco-friendly features.
Channel reactions While launching innovative products is the USP for growth of most IT vendors, for System Integrators (SIs), Value-Added Resellers (VARs) and Solution Providers (SPs) – the success mantra is to stay updated, and implement or sell all new products, solutions and technologies. Parag Shah, Proprietor of Mumbaibased Futech Computers, an Asus reseller, says that eco-friendly graphic cards are the latest “in” thing. He adds that Asus’ newly launched eco-friendly graphic cards have gained good acceptance in the market and such technology will define the future of graphic cards. “Though they are slightly over priced as compared to normal graphic cards, but users have to consider the fact that they would also save money in the longterm, i.e., their high investments will be compensated in the form of low electricity bills. I am optimistic that with the increasing popularity of green products, and with more and more people understanding the hazardous affects of using high power consuming gadgets to the environment, the future for eco-friendly graphic cards is going to be bright.”
The way ahead Looking at the future, it is safe to say that we would see more and more products being launched that are eco-friendly. A lot of vendors are already pushing various products such as motherboards, display monitors, hard drives and even a few laptops that are ‘Green’. Also, with the growing awareness in terms of ecofriendly products and the increase in usage of computers across enterprises, SMBs and even home users - the new range of eco-friendly graphics cards should attract a good amount of attention from all sectors. However, the call of the future would be for the manufacturers to make highend eco-friendly graphics cards, and also SIs and VARs to help the manufacturers sell these products by educating customers about their benefits. This would definitely make a major impact on the overall ‘Green revolution’. n email@example.com
cover story Mid-Market ERP
A host of channel partners are preparing
to benefit from revival
in spending on enterprise resource planning, especially for mid-market solutions PAYAL PRUTHI
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cover story Mid-Market ERP
t Systime, the past two quarters have been really busy. An Oracle platinum partner, the company not only completed a few rollouts but also witnessed a 30% increase in business queries pertaining to ERP implementation in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). For Hyderabad based Dakshah ebiz Consulting, it’s work time too. After two successful deployments, the ERP team is currently busy with another project. At All e Technologies and Team Computers, there have been four and eight mid-market ERP projects in the past few months. It’s a similar story with Winspire, which gets about 10 serious leads in a month and has added nine ERP customers in the past six months. If the above statistics are anything to go by, the mid-market ERP is already on a rebound in 2010. After taking a hit from the recent economic slowdown, the market has been picking up over the past six months. According to Bhavish Sood, Principal Analyst, Software Markets, Gartner, India still remains the third-largest ERP market in the region. “The overall ERP market will grow 6.1% in 2010 and will be a $307m market by 2014, registering a CAGR of 11% (2009-2014) in India,” he says. Kamal Vohra, Lead Analyst, Software and Services Research, IDC India, also feels that there is a revived momentum in the overall ERP market. “The India Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) solutions market [IDC uses the term ERM instead of ERP] was estimated to be $248m in calendar year 2009. The market is poised for a recovery and is expected to register a healthy growth in the forthcoming 3-5 year timeframe,” says Vohra. However, the biggest potential for the ERP market in India exists in medium-size enterprises. Says Dev Chakravarty, Assistant Manager – Research, AMI-Partners, “Only one in ten medium businesses owns an ERP system, and the penetration within this segment is estimated to grow by three to four percentage points over the next five years.” On the face of it, the raise looks small but, considering that the market witnessed a notable downturn in the last year, it is quite significant. “ERP adoption within SMEs is on the rise since they are gradually moving up the technology adoption ladder. A majority of SMEs are still within the first wave of technology adoption – yet are aspiring to gradually migrate into the second and finally the third wave, where ERP is an integral component of the ladder,” says Chakravarty. He cites various drivers for the mid-market ERP space, including the increasing curiosity among partners and customers alike around the cloudbased ERP model, competitive price point offerings by various players and the emergence of new verticals like education and professional services that have traditionally not taken too well to ERP. A look at the slew of ERP offerings in recent times clearly shows that vendors are coming out
“By focusing on certain verticals, many channel partners can maximize revenues. They are able to brand and differentiate themselves as having sufficient expertise in a given area.” MURALIDHAR ADIREDDY, DIRECTOR, DAKSHAH EBIZ CONSULTING
with affordable, low-cost and user-friendly solutions that can help alleviate the pain points of SMEs. For one, the on-premises SAP Business One ERP software suite is tailor made for SMEs and is quite reasonably priced. Microsoft Dynamics NAV and, recently, Microsoft Dynamics NAV Business Essentials solutions have also been developed for emerging businesses, are available at competitive price points and are quick to deploy. To make solutions simpler and affordable, Oracle also offers Oracle Business Accelerators (OBA) for faster and standard implementation. “OBAs are an implementation methodology that will make the implementation faster and structured. Therefore, it will help in cost savings for SMEs. It has a configuration tool which helps in quickly configuring the applications. In fact, one of the customers, Patel Integrated Logistics, completed its application implementation [done by Oracle’s partner ChainSys] in just 45 days,” says Cherian Varghese, Director, Alliances & Channels, Oracle India. One of the key contenders in the mid-market ERP arena, Tally, too, has wooed its vast customer base of lakhs of SMEs with highly competitive price points. “Tally ERP9 sales have been climbing month on month. We’ve been doing an average of 5,000 activations every month and there has been a 20% growth compared to last year. This reflects the mood of the SME market and the popularity of our ERP product,” says Shoaib Ahmed, President, Tally Solutions. To address the entry-level ERP segment, which mostly comprises organisations that need to migrate from an accounting package, Sage Software has also introduced Sage Accpac Professional Edition at the price point of Rs1 lakh (actual pricing will depend on number of users). To appeal more to customers in the SME segment, most partners and vendors have of late been taking an industry-focussed approach.
CASE STUDY: AGARWAL FASTENERS
he company, which specialises in manufacturing critical stainless steel fasteners as per customer requirements for a variety of industries, witnessed fast growth and expansion in its business over the past three decades. “Since we specialize in providing customized fasteners as per specific requirements of our clients, we need to deal with various vendors across the world for raw materials. Hence, we needed robust, modular and secure ERP software with tightly integrated inventory, operations and accounting modules that could help link our warehouse to the shop floor,” says Vikram Agarwal, Managing Director, Agarwal Fasteners. The company was using Fox Pro based local software application with separate packages for accounting and inventory to maintain stocks and generate invoices. Since the inventory and accounting packages were not linked to each other, the entries had to be made separately into each of them, causing duplication of labour and leaving room for human error, with some data security issues also there. Sage Software’s partner Greytrix suggested Sage Accpac for the company’s needs. Greytrix was able to understand Agarwal Fasteners’ unique requirements and then carry out a live system demonstration to highlight the strengths of Sage Accpac and also implement the software quickly and effectively. Agarwal Fasteners decided to implement a 10 user package of Sage Accpac comprising system manager, general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory control, order entry, purchase order, and transactional analysis and optional fields as the major modules. As a result, real-time inventory control now ensures that production planning is done accurately and the correct quantity of raw material is ordered at the right price from the right vendor.
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cover story Mid-Market ERP “Tally ERP9 sales have been climbing month on month. We’ve been doing an average of 5,000 activations every month and there has been a 20% growth compared to last year. This reflects the mood of the SME market” SHOAIB AHMED, PRESIDENT, TALLY SOLUTIONS
For instance, Winspire, a Microsoft partner, has developed a strong team of consultants by providing them with high-quality technical, functional and domain-specific training. Besides adding 30 consultants in the past one year, Winspire has invested heavily in developing its own industryvertical add-ons. “ERP has become much more strategic to an SME environment and these organisations now look for domain expertise while choosing the partner. They also look for unique value adds that a partner can bring to them through his own IP. In such a scenario, it’s important that a partner goes for a focussed vertical approach,” says Jitendra Kulkarni, CEO, Winspire. Other partners concur with Kulkarni’s views on the benefits of adopting a vertical approach. “By focusing on certain verticals, many channel partners can maximize revenues. They are able to brand and differentiate themselves as having sufficient expertise in a given area,” says Muralidhar Adireddy, Director, Daksah ebiz Consulting, Hyderabad. Having catered to SMEs in the pharma and manufacturing verticals, the Oracle partner is now getting many leads in the same verticals. According to Girish Madhavan, Director Technical, Quadsel Systems, Chennai, a vertical approach to ERP works much better both for the partner and the customers. “By specialising in a particular vertical, the partner is able to better understand the pain areas of the customer and hence offer the right services. At the same time, the customer, too, is able to set realistic goals about what to expect from the partner. At Quadsel, we are forming a team to evaluate some key verticals – automobiles being one – where we want to develop our expertise,” he says. Another partner that has been quick to scale up in certain verticals is Noida-based All e Technologies. “We have built our own expertise in certain industries like paints and chemicals, fully
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realising that customers want simple and userfriendly software that can be deployed quickly,” says Rajiv Tyagi, Director, All e Technologies. Among the company’s ERP customers are Asian Paints (for international operations) and Blue Dart. “Given the fragmented and varied nature of India’s vast SMB space, vertical specialisation by channel partners brings in order to implement the solutions to the necessary specificity that customers require,” says Jyothish Bharath F, Director of Business Development at BE Solutions. As a Tally partner, BE Solutions has been developing industry-specific solutions on the Tally.ERP9 package for schools, spas, beauty clinics and travel agents. For Delhi-based Team Computers, the success strategy, too, has been to customise solutions for different verticals. “We realised it very early that the customer has specific needs around which the solution has to be customised. As such, our focus has always been customer- and vertical-centric.
At Team, we constantly engage in recruiting, training and retaining technical talent that can cater to specific verticals,” says TS Kartik, Head Software, Team Computers. Vertical focus is a win-win situation for vendors and partners, feels Maurice D’souza, Vice President - International, Systime. “By adopting a vertical approach in categorising products, the vendors enhance their chances of winning deals. In turn, the partners, who develop skills around specific verticals, bring a unique value proposition to the table.” It is this verticalised approach and deep industry knowledge that most of the vendors are banking on to woo both customers and partners. With over 200 customers using its Accpac ERP in India, Sage is looking at adding another 100 plus customers in the next 12 months by helping its partners evaluate new opportunities in specific segments. “We have over 50 partners today who have built numerous add-ons to address specific verticals. Some of our partners also move on to become development partners, which enables them to do development work. For instance, we have a hospital ERP solution developed on the Accpac platform that is doing well in India,” says Thomas Abraham, Managing Director, Sage India. Oracle’s Partner Network programme is also aimed at identifying specialised partners and their area of expertise. “The programme further encourages partners to formally certify specialisations in the verticals they cater to, be recognized for their expertise and become preferred solution providers to Oracle customers,” says Varghese. Subhomoy Sengupta, Group Director, Microsoft Business Solutions, too, believes that going forward, partners expect vendors to help them align better with their chosen industry verticals and do joint marketing to accelerate their growth. One of the most talked about trends in recent times has been the emergence of cloud-based
“Some of our partners also move on to become development partners, which enables them to do development work. For instance, we have a hospital ERP solution developed on the Accpac platform that is doing well in India.” THOMAS ABRAHAM, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SAGE INDIA
cover story Mid-Market ERP CASE STUDY: TOWN ESSENTIALS
wholesale grocer for over eight years, Town Essentials employs 60 people and has over 200 customers. It provides a complete dry grocery supply solution to commercial kitchens such as restaurants, resorts, clubs and industrial kitchens. Town Essentials publishes a fixed price list periodically. Short term pricing contracts ensure consistency in prices, and help the customer get the full benefits based on credit terms and purchase volume. The company was using tailor-made software developed by a service provider. Though it met its requirements, except accounting, it was very unstable: suddenly, price lists would go missing. As a result, dependency on the service provider was very high. According to Ramamoorthy of Nova Technosys, a Tally partner, “Town Essentials was keen to have a simple, easy-to-use ERP solution. Based on this, we optimised the capabilities of Tally.ERP 9 to meet their specific needs.” The following reports, among others, were customised by Nova for Town Essentials: 4Profitability can be calculated precisely and includes the sales person’s margin. 4Transportation is optimised by routes and product weight for every transaction, reducing the overall shipping costs and reducing delivery times. 4Item-wise order details yields information about the raw materials Town Essentials has to procure or produce. This informs company managers about the total raw material available against the required weight of finished product.
ERP, especially for SMEs. Most ERP vendors have come out with cloud-based or hosted ERP offerings, such as Microsoft with its Dynamics suite, SAP with its Business ByDesign and Ramco with OnDemand ERP suite. “SMEs are worried by the high maintenance fees and complex implementations associated with major ERP software. This is where hosted ERP has some key advantages for the mid-tier segment like low or minimal initial capital expenditure, lower need of in-house IT resources, hassle-free operation, pay-as-you-use option, faster deployment and quicker RoI experience,” says Chakravarty of AMI-Partners. Ramco’s latest offering in this segment is an ERP product in a hosted cloud environment— Ramco OnDemand ERP. With 200 customers for its OnDemand ERP, this product is offered to customers on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. “SaaS is a popular delivery model and it is delivered through a web-centric interface to users. The benefit a company gets from using SaaS applications is huge savings in cost. ERP in a SaaS model is looked upon to be a ‘game changer’ and will elevate business processing to newer heights,” says R Sukumar, General Manager Sales, Ramco OnDemand ERP. Despite the hype and optimism surrounding SaaS and cloud computing, there are many who prefer to follow the wait-and-watch policy to see how the market will grow. According to Adireddy of Dakshah, a lot depends on how comfortable and well-informed a partner is in selling this kind of an ERP model. “Although it takes a few months to develop capabilities around cloud-based ERP, there is not much clarity on pricing. Also, even though a cloud-based ERP offering best suits an SME, there exist a lot of apprehensions around data security which deter organisations,” he says. Dakshah is exploring the cloud model, but has so far found few customers in the domestic market. However, some partners feel that cloud-based ERP will help them command a premium and
serve the clients better. “In a cloud setup, the customer has to be very clear about his requirement. This gives the partner further clarity to consult the customer on which modules to opt for. The partner enjoys better control on payment while the customer can also attach more solutions as and when required with much ease,” says Quadsel’s Madhavan. According to D’souza of Systime, the present adoption of ERP through the hosted model is still at an embryonic stage, though the customers are keen. “The fear about data security still exists in the minds of SMEs; a lot of businesses are circumspect about leaving their data on third-party servers. SMEs are also suspicious about the possible lack of flexibility in terms of customisation, overall TCO and possible bandwidth issues,” he says. In the opinion of Sengupta of Microsoft, going forward, customers will enjoy the flexibility of using both on-premises applications and off-the-
cloud services - depending on what suits their requirements best. “At the moment, businesses tend more towards on-premises deployment, and we believe that as we go along, there will be an uptake of hosted services,” he says. According to Adireddy, though the opportunities for partners in the ERP space are manifold, it’s important that they educate their customers on the benefits of implementing ERP and thus take on the role of a consultant. “Quite often, a typical SME customer will have limited knowledge and awareness of ERP and needs to be educated. A partner must know how to provide employee training and change management for ERP deployments and give the go-live support,” he says. A lot depends, says Sood of Gartner, on how a channel partner positions himself while approaching customers. “In the changing market dynamics, a partner must explore alternative delivery models and remain updated about the latest trends. The partners must position themselves as carrying reasonable knowledge of the vertical they are pitching for and provide customised and logical solutions to the customers,” he says. In the words of Ravi Shankara, proprietor of HSR IT Resource and a Tally partner, SMEs no longer view ERP as a nice-to-have investment and want both the vendor and the partner to show clear business value and RoI. Vohra of IDC feels that in the coming months, one will see large and very large enterprises opt for private cloud deployments; on the other hand, midsize and small businesses will opt for ‘public cloud’ offerings, with a higher propensity to experiment with ‘software on the cloud’ solutions as opposed to ‘platform or infrastructure on the cloud’ solutions. But cloud or no cloud, partners that stay focussed on the ERP segment and develop their own strengths are likely to spot more and more opportunities on the horizon. n firstname.lastname@example.org
“The PartnerNetwork programme encourages partners to formally certify specialisations in the verticals they cater to, be recognized for their expertise and become preferred solution providers to Oracle customers.” CHERIAN VARGHESE, DIRECTOR, ALLIANCES & CHANNELS, ORACLE INDIA
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glue, are critical to its operations.
How a company’s messaging needs evolve
It’s not just about email or voicemail anymore: it’s about a new way of working through unified messaging and enterprise collaboration SUMA E P
f a company can get its people to work together, it can become highly efficient. Before computers came, things were very slow. Letters had to be sent by snail mail or faxed to different buildings or cities; you had to wait for their reply and then take further action. A task that takes a few hours today would take days, often months, back then. In 1973, University of Illinois ran a system called PLATO to make education available to all. To enable the learning, the inventors built various communication tools such as message boards. By 1976, it had email, chat rooms, instant messaging, remote screen sharing and emoticons. Yes, way back in 1976! All the messaging applications we use so avidly now came up back then
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on PLATO. Then came computers, and PC networks. And that’s when the idea of getting your people to work together started taking off. But, it was a company called Lotus that created the conditions for these collaboration facilities to be leveraged on PCs. Lotus, of course, was bought by IBM, and collaboration tools under the Lotus brand continue. With the addition of http servers, once the internet became big, Lotus Notes evolved into Lotus Domino. Today, we live in the era of mobile phones, social networks, and, unified communications, which allow instant access and communication to people, so no one misses a beat. And today, no business wants to miss a beat either, and that’s why messaging and collaborative applications, acting as the company
Let’s look at the journey of a small company. It sets up its office, gets a domain, email server space, and a few email accounts from a hosting service provider. It’s cheap, and the company is in business with its own email IDs and website. As employees grow, it needs more accounts. Usually, an upgrade can be done at the service provider’s end to handle this. Soon, the company could be dealing with too many accounts, missing mails, and maybe a server shutdown. Or there could be a virus attack, or spamming levels go overboard. Now it’s time for the company to consider a more robust solution. This can be a dedicated email solution provider, or the company can consider going with any of the messaging solutions available. There’s Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange Server and several other tools. The company can opt for hosted solutions, or have one setup and run in-house. But as companies grow, can this email solution be enough?
New needs A company’s needs are very different today from what they were ten years ago. Back then, email was sufficient. Free instant messengers were widely used.
collaboration Most of the calling was on the landline; there were few people with laptops in a company. Today, the scenario is vastly different. Every employee has a mobile phone, and laptops are common. In effect, the employee is completely mobile. Having him or her tied down to a workstation could only mean productivity or business loss. If he is in the middle of cracking a huge deal, and he needs some information, would you not want to arm him with that knowledge so he can emerge a deal winner? So, messaging solutions are now evolving into unified communication solutions, delivering messages wherever the employee is accessible, on the landline phone, on the mobile phone or on the laptop. Fo r ex a m p l e, t a ke M i c r o s o f t Exchange Server 2010. It has voicemail with unified messaging. All types of messages, email or otherwise are made accessible through a universal in box. It packs in easy to use features to enable the use through speech to text previews, create customized greetings and call transfer options, etc. And you don’t have to worry about security and rights management issues, as the server has options to handle all this.
Social aspects to the enterprise Collaboration 2.0, a whitepaper released in December 2009 by Ovum says, “While most business collaboration continues to be conducted in the ‘Enterprise 1.0’ world of e-mail and shared folders, forward-looking organisations are increasingly considering socially oriented and real-time collaboration solutions as a way to instantly, seamlessly, and often virtually, increase productivity between employees, suppliers, customers, and stakeholders. In response, vendors are homing in on the market for socially oriented, web-based enterprise collaboration solutions, now commonly
referred to as “Enterprise 2.0”. The whitepaper identifies some of the key drivers for this shift. There is a definite need to address customer service levels, cost-reduction, innovation, riskmitigation, and market opportunities. There is a greater need to better manage relationships with customers, partners, and vendors. Also, no organisation should underplay the effects of the ‘consumerisation of IT’, it says. A firm’s employees are now connected like never before, through social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and all these channels of information are throwing up new ways for them to get, process and disperse information. And a company should not ignore that. This thought is echoed by IDC India. Sandeep Sharma, Analyst, Software and Services Research, IDC India says, “Social networking platforms have become immensely popular with the consumer segment and have started to make inroads into enterprises as well. Instant Messaging (IM) applications are a major feature of these social networking platforms that offer seamless communication to subscribers. The other functionalities that are popular amongst consumers are the ability to integrate and access video-chat and uploading of photographs. More and more enterprise wide networking applications will see integration of these features and their planned exploitation in the coming years.” Ovum sees a rise of online collaboration and information-sharing platforms which enable networks of employees, partners, customers, and stakeholders to connect, collaborate, and find information more easily. “The upshot of this is fewer e-mails, phone calls, and scheduling of meetings, and those that remain are more effective,” says Richard Edwards, of Ovum. Project management, sales and marketing, training and learning are
Unified Communication Solutions • In 1970s, the University of Illinois ran a system called PLATO to make education available to all. It had email, chat rooms, instant messaging, remote screen sharing and emoticons. • PCs and networks came later, and it was Lotus who leverage Plato’s communication tools for work. • Messaging solutions are now evolving into unified communication solutions, delivering messages wherever the employee is accessible, on the landline phone, on the mobile phone or on the laptop. • Online collaboration and information-sharing platforms enable networks of employees, partners, customers, and stakeholders to connect, collaborate, and find information more easily
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TODAY, NO BUSINESS WANTS TO MISS A BEAT, AND THAT’S WHY MESSAGING AND COLLABORATIVE APPLICATIONS, ACTING AS THE COMPANY GLUE, ARE CRITICAL TO ITS OPERATIONS. Messaging solutions are now evolving into unified communication solutions, delivering messages wherever the employee is accessible, on the landline phone, on the mobile phone or on the laptop. VENDORS ARE SIGNING IN WITH APPLICATIONS THAT MIRROR THE SOCIAL NETWORKING TOOLS, THUS UNLEASHING THE KNOWLEDGE WITHIN THE COMPANY AND MAKING IT ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE CONNECTED TO THE COMPANY.
the key areas where such collaborative work will reap dividends. Take the example of IBM’s Enterprise 2.0 offering. It has Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr, and Lotus Sametime. Connections packs in social networking features, but works in the organisational setting. A user can log into his homepage and interact with others in the company, across the world and stay updated on the latest happenings in communities he is part of. Quickr enables collaboration helping teams to work faster and connect better. Sametime is IBM’s answer to unified communications when it comes to messaging packing in chat, online meetings, collaboration, and so on. While IBM and Microsoft fight it out on the enterprise collaboration scene, a lot of small and medium companies across the globe are quietly moving to working collaboratively online on Google Docs. A public cloud that supports email, productivity apps, collaboration tools like chat, meets, calendars, is available for users from Google. It does not come with a heavy corporate tag, but it sure gets work done for most companies looking for cheaper options to collaborate.
The road ahead IDC India’s Sharma says, “The global economic slowdown proved to be a boon for the India Messaging Applications market, which witnessed a high YearOn-Year (Y-O-Y) growth rate in 2009, as compared to 2008. There has been a high level of interest in the instant and unified messaging solutions by business enterprises. Users in enterprises have leveraged these applications to reduce operational costs and increase collaboration amongst individual employees working in different divisions as well as those working within the same department. The India Messaging Applications market has seen steady traction from the BFSI, Communications and Media, and Manufacturing verticals. The deployment of messaging applications is expected to increase in the healthcare, government, and, education verticals in the years ahead.” Collaboration is the way ahead. Vendors are signing in with applications that mirror the social networking tools, thus unleashing the knowledge within the company and making it accessible to people connected to the company. It’s time to log in to the new ways of enterprise collaboration. n email@example.com
profile Ranjan Chopra
Investor Ranjan Chopra prefers to invest in people and ideas rather than in real estate and the stock market
o u d o n’ t ge t wh at yo u expect. You get what you i n s p e c t , ” t h at ’s o n e o f Ranjan Chopra’s favourite one-liners, borrowed from Lou Gerstner’s book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Not for nothing, he describes his role in his company as a system of inspections. It’s a core principle of his company, Team Computers, which he started in 1988 to service laser printers and support Apple shops. Over the years, the firm has become a significant IT infrastructure solutions provider, supporting more than 600 customers across the country and generating Rs 300 crore in revenue. This IIT-Kanpur alum, who has been a part of the founding teams of eight other companies, hates bureaucratic processes, spoonfeeding ideas and pushing people around. A sucker for the saxophone, he loves getting his Frankie’s songs right.
Lifestyle I wake up around 7 am. I like to have some fruit before reaching out for my
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profile Ranjan Chopra laptop to write my ECR. That’s short for executive contribution report, a kind of daily status update. I’ve been doing this for the past five years. My mentor, Dr Jain, suggested I do it and now it has spread across the organisation. Everyone in my company does the same thing. However, only 50 people send it to me. The rest send it to their supervisors. It’s just a way of keeping everyone in the loop about the stuff you are up to. Sometimes, it’s not even about work. For example, when the Icelandic volcano left me stranded in New York, I wrote about new jazz musicians who I had discovered. These write-ups are usually not more than 100 words. It’s a way of filtering your thought process. This usually takes me about 20 minutes. If I take more time, then I know I’m not doing something right. I try not to read emails right at the start of the day. I usually open the inbox just to send out the ECR. This done, I head for the pool. It’s very refreshing and helps me focus better. I usually do around 100 laps. The rush of water kick starts my thoughts. During this time, I usually take a particuular topic and deep dive into it. I spend about 30% of my time planning and thinking for the business, and this swim-time is a part of it. On some days, my six-year-old son joins me for a swim. This is almost the only exclusive time I spend with him. So I just love this bit of the day. Sometimes, he will ask me for help with his problems. I don’t give him the answers. I like to push him into doing his own thinking and get his own answers.
Way of working As a rule, I don’t like to give people solutions. Instead, I ask them to get to the root cause of what is troubling them. When you get to the root of something, you’re not just solving an issue; you’re dealing with a whole category of problems. Once a month, I sit down with the heads of my business units for a review meeting. These are more like coaching sessions. We f ir st go through what’s happened in the past month and then go about troubleshooting the issues that have cropped up. Monday mor nings are for the weekly conference calls. The busi-
ness heads of various units and their teams assess their performance in the previous week and set new targets for the week ahead. I don’t get involved with these anymore. There are two kinds of people in this world—those who believe that people don’t want to work and therefore, need to be policed. And then, there are those, like me, who believe that people want to work and are trustworthy. With this belief system, the whole policing dimension disappears. Instead, what stays is verification. So, I set a goal, assign a set of tasks and then verify it later. It’s not like a surprise check; it is more regular. When I go to office, I usually get fixed before the six screens installed inside my cabin. It gives the feeling of a cockpit. These gadgets give me whatever numbers I need. We use our own business intelligence software for this. In our office, we never waste time writing repor ts. The BI software ensures that all reports are readily available and constantly updated. I use this to verify and inspect what’s happening across our offices. It gives me a bird’s eye view of the business. And that is another 30% of what I do—inspection. I’ve converted my role into a system of inspections. I’m always online, thanks to my Blackberry. I get about 100 internal mails a day. I usually respond to them only after reaching office, if I go there. Else, I get to them after my swim and breakfast from my home-office. Since we moved into our new house four months ago, I try to work out of home for at least three days in a week; so there is no fixed daily schedule for me now. I even hold meetings here since we have the space to do so. Meeting people takes up the other 30% of my time. These could be meetings with existing, new or potential clients, which I like to call relationship meetings. I don’t get into transactions anymore. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I sell ideas, but don’t get into the deal itself. We have a team that is fully capable of carrying it out.
Hobbies I’ve been a voracious reader since college. I’m a speed reader now and conduct workshops on speed reading. I read a lot of books on management and philosophy. One of my favou-
“I have converted my role into a system of inspections.” “There are two kinds of people in this world— those who believe that people don’t want to work and therefore, need to be policed. And then, there are those, like me, who believe that people want to work and are trustworthy.” “In our office, we never waste time writing reports. The BI software ensures that all reports are readily available and constantly updated. I use this to verify and inspect what’s happening across our offices.”
rites is Lou Gerstner’s book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? I usually get home by eight in the evening. As soon as I reach home, I have to put on some music. That’s my way of unwinding. And, of course, there’s my saxophone. I love jazz.
Criticism and solutions My wife is my best critic. Everyone else, I feel, is a lot gentler. My way of dealing with it is to be quiet and absorb it. I try to look at it as a gift and accept it. Quite frankly, I manage to do this only about six out of 10 times. When it comes to me giving criticism, I try to follow the nine is to one rule—which is point out nine good things that a person does for every one point of criticism. Whenever I find myself in a crisis, I take deeper breaths to calm myself. It is the best way to get through a moment of crisis. I learnt that from Sri Sri Ravishankar. His teachings have had a great impact on me. This way, I can also get rid of anger much faster. I’ve realised that if you are angry and aware of it, you are in control of it. Being upset affects productivity. I’ve been a part of the founding process of around eight companies. But, I have also faced failure in building some other companies in the past. Way back, I tried to set up a printing solutions company. In the early nineties, I started a company that exported educational software to Australia. When satellite television started gaining popularity, a team of four of us tried to tap the market by distributing dish antennas. All of these ventures collapsed for a variety of reasons, but these experiences taught me valuable lessons. I don’t invest in the stock market or in property. I only invest in people, ideas and businesses. Some time ago, I also tried to create a platform for musicians. It’s still in the “pause” mode. I called it Zorba, after one of my favourite books on philosophy, Zorba the Greek. Like every entrepreneur, my relationship with failure is very important. When you fail, it’s important to do a root-cause analysis and move on. The worst thing to do is to fail and call yourself a failure. It is not just a linguistic thing. We live in the language. As soon as you say it, it becomes your stigma.n (As told to Jacob Cherian. Courtesy: Inc India)
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SQL SERVER 2008 R2
Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 R2 offers core platform enhancements and features that enable self-service business intelligence scenarios JASON BROOKS
ith the late April release of its SQL Server, 2008 R2, Microsoft has extended its popular database server product with core platform enhancements, new management capabilities and a raft of features focused on enabling selfservice business intelligence scenarios. On the self-service BI front, SQL Server 2008 R2 relies heavily on integration with Office 2010 and Share-Point Server 2010. As a result, the new release should pay the biggest dividends to organisations that have deployed all three products. On its own, the new SQL Server release still packs some worthwhile improvements, particularly at sites running the database on large machines that can take advantage of the new version’s support for 256 logical processors. Organisations running SQL Server on Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation platform should appreciate the product’s new support for live migration between Hyper-V hosts. I was also impressed by the product’s new facilities for managing groups of SQL Server instances from a central point. However, I’d like to see the feature expand to cover a broader range of SQL Server versions. SQL Server 2008 R2 is available on a per-processor or per-server and CAL (Client Access License) basis, and a CAL can be either a user or a device. All told, Microsoft offers eight versions of the database, ranging from the free Express and Compact to the Enterprise Edition.
Integration options One of the most compelling new features in both Excel 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 is PowerPivot, a tool that enables spreadsheetsavvy workers to take on larger amounts of
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data from within a spreadsheet-style interface. I’ve tested PowerPivot’s Share-Point integration options for sharing the workbooks, along with the options that administrators have for managing those worker-initiated PowerPivot resources that come to be viewed as mission-critical for their organisations. As with other Office documents, I could save a PowerPivot workbook to a Share-Point server through the regular Excel file dialog. Once the file had made its way onto my test server, I could view the PowerPivot worksheet in a gallery on the server. The gallery module taps Silverlight to display the gallery in a handful of different rich layouts, such as one reminiscent of Apple’s CoverFlow views of record albums. I wasn’t able to locate any plain old PowerPivot worksheet view, however, which meant that my test workbooks weren’t viewable from the Firefox on Linux combination that I tried out. As with my tests of SharePoint’s Silverlight enhancements to the Office Web Apps, the Linux-friendly Moonlight plug-in from Novell didn’t work for me. Version 2.2 of the plug-in left me with a blank window where the gallery should have stood, and the preview of version 3.0 crashed my copy of Firefox. But I was able to make it past the broken-onLinux gallery by copying the link straight to the PowerPivot workbook from Internet Explorer on Windows into Firefox on Linux. There, my test sheet—complete with all its PivotChart and Data Slicer functionality—rendered quite well. By combining PowerPivot with SharePoint in this way, workers can share the analysis tools they prepare with others in their organisation, including those without Office installed on their machines. What’s more, in the case of the flawed but workable Linux and Firefox combina-
techno touch SQL Server 2008 R2 relies heavily on integration with Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010. As a result, the new release should pay the biggest dividends to organisations that have deployed all three products.
tion I tested, members of an organisation can share PowerPivot workbooks with co-workers whose machines can’t run Office at all. Beyond these information-sharing gains, one of the benefits of pulling selfservice data analysis tasks out of discrete spreadsheets and into PowerPivot and SharePoint is the way that the duo can keep information up to date. Back at the Power-Pivot gallery view, I was able to configure a data refresh schedule for my workbook. Then, once I’d set the schedule, I could consult a refresh history to confirm that the worksheet had been pulling data down from my SQL Server data source as expected. The creation, sharing and refresh configuration of Power-Pivot workbooks can all be handled on a self-service basis, but if an organisation’s IT administrators wish
to step in to manage these resources— to adjust the scheduled refresh time to off-hours, for instance—they can do so through a PowerPivot dashboard hosted from SharePoint. From this dashboard, I could monitor the performance and use of the PowerPivot workbook hosted on SharePoint and of their associated queries. The dashboard sports a handful of charts for laying out this information, including a handy Workbook Activity chart that displays the users and number of queries for each hosted workbook, with a time slider beneath the chart for tracking the popularity and load associated with these resources. If a significant number of workers within an organisation began using a PowerPivot workbook created by one of their colleagues without the assistance of
Organisations running SQL Server on Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation platform should appreciate the product’s new support for live migration between Hyper-V hosts. PowerPivot enables spreadsheetsavvy workers to take on larger amounts of data from within a spreadsheetstyle interface.
the IT department, this chart could help alert IT to the growing importance of the workbook, enabling the administrators to bring it under management.
Building reports The ReportBuilder 3.0 application that ships with SQL Server 2008 R2 bears a striking resemblance to the components of Microsoft’s recently released Office 2010 suite, with an increasingly familiar “Ribbon” interface and several of the same new data visualization goodies that grace Excel 2010. For instance, I was able to outfit a test report with sparklines: single-cell charts with a knack for presenting data in a small space. I was also able to display data in my test reports as data bars and indicator graphics.
Manage and monitor Among the new features included in SQL Server 2008 R2’s Management Studio application is the SQL Server Utility, which enables administrators to manage and monitor multiple database applications and server instances from a central interface called a Utility Control Point (UCP). I used the SQL Server Utility to group a pair of Server 2008 R2 instances together and track utilization and policy information for the instances from the Management Studio’s Utility Explorer interface. I wasn’t able to add a SQL Azure instance to my control point, and Microsoft confirmed that the product does not yet support managing SQL Azure instances alongside regular SQL Server databases. I found a similar lack of support for managing SQL Server 2005 instances. For CPU and storage utilisation measures, I could consult usage charts with day, week, month and year timespan radio buttons for monitoring the performance of each instance. I could also consult a dashboard view of the instances enrolled in my UCP. I was also able to break out performance characteristics for particular applications hosted from my test instances and organised into data-tier applications. A developer can create a database application in Visual Studio and package it into a DAC package for deployment on a production system. I added a sample datatier application to my UCP, where I was able to monitor and set policies around it, as with the database instances in the control point. n Jason Brooks is editor-in-chief at eWEEK Labs. © eWeek
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trends Lenovo to appoint more ‘core’ partners for enterprise biz
ith the objective of further increasing its share of the Indian enterprise systems business from the existing 14.6%, Lenovo plans to focus on what it now calls ‘core channel partners’ – a clutch of 50 partners that drive the majority of its corporate business. The company has also rechristened its enterprise division as Key Account Business (KAB) to highlight the emphasis on the segment. Ta l k i n g t o D i g i t Channel Connect, Rajesh Dixit, who recently donned the mantle o f D i r e c t o r – K A B , Rajesh Dixit, Director - KAB Think Classic Products & Channel, said, “We have coined the term ‘core partners’ wherein we identify partners with the necessary skills and
focussed investments to drive our enterprise business. At our end, we realised that somewhere we missed the opportunity of leveraging on our channel strength and, therefore, partnering with the channel is one of Lenovo’s highest strategic imperatives for 2010.” Currently, Lenovo has close to 50 core partners and would soon add 10 more to the count. “We also plan to appoint a channel operations person to closely assist, monitor and review the performance of our core channel. In addition, we have started rewarding the channel representatives of the core partners for their efforts in driving business,” said Dixit. n Payal Pruthi
Toshiba launches Canvio portable hard drive
RT Outsourcing rebrands itself as ‘inTarvo Technologies’
T Outsourcing Services, a provider of integrated lifecycle management services, has embarked upon a new strategy as part of its consolidation and expansion plan, and has rebranded itself as ‘inTarvo Technologies Limited’. As per the company, its new identity ‘inTarvo’ stands for its core ideology of ‘Delivering Value’ (inT+arvo=Integration + Value). inTarvo now provides end-to-end lifecycle management solutions including installation & commissioning, technical helpdesk, service centers, repair & refurbishment, technical training, infrastructure management services and e-waste recycling. As part of this endeavor, inTarvo has brought its capabilities into a single facility in Noida. The new premises house its integrated support solutions for IT, CE, telecom & electronic security business. According to Pravin Jain, Chairman, inTarvo Technologies Limited, “inTarvo will consistently deliver value in integrated lifecycle management services through integrated offerings.” n
Social networks are now vital aspect of marketing
nalysts at Gartner have examined the way social networks shape consumer buying behavior.
oshiba has announced the availability of the Canvio Portable Hard Drive product line in India through its distributor, Rashi Peripherals. Toshiba Canvio Portable hard drive is a computer backup solution with up to 1 Terabyte (1TB) of storage capacity to protect large amounts of digital content being created and stored on computers. It weighs less than 170 grams and is smaller than a postcard. As per the company, the drive comes with a very easy set up process and “set-it-and-forget-it” operation with a facility to automatically and regularly back up a computer while it is in use. The Canvio also provides an option for complete system backup, enabling users to restore select files or the entire computer, even if the Windows operating system is unable to start. Toshiba Canvio is available across the country in various capacities like 320 GB for Rs. 3780, 500 GB for Rs. 5130 & 1 TB for Rs. 11070. n
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
Gartner’s social network framework defines the following roles: • Connector — Connectors perform a bridging function between disparate groups of people. They have contacts in different social groups and enjoy introducing people to each other. • Salesman — Salesmen have extensive social connections, but their defining characteristic is their propensity to persuade people to do things, buy certain products and act in certain ways. • Seeker — When seekers go shopping, they tend to seek advice from experts who tell them which are the best gadgets to buy, where to get them and at what prices. • Maven — Mavens are knowledge exchangers or information brokers. They are experts in particular areas, and other people go to them for advice. • Self-sufficient — These people prefer to find out for themselves what they need to know in order to satisfy their needs. • Unclassified — Two-thirds of the population did not definitively fall into any of these social network categories. This reflects Gartner’s approach to processing the survey data, which did not classify respondents who did not clearly fall into one of the categories. n
trends Anytime Anywhere
Gigabyte announces ‘5 Million Salebrations Programme’
igabyte Technology has announced the ‘5 Million Salebrations Programme’ for its channel partners. Under this programme, channel partners who purchase motherboards from Gigabyte premium partners or authorized distributors stand to win many prizes. Effective from 1st July to 30th September 2010, this scheme is in line with Gigabyte’s 2 tier channel structure programme for its value and premium partners. This program coincides with Gigabyte India reaching 5 million installed base of their motherboards in the country. Under “The 5 Million Salebration Programme”, value partners need to purchase their motherboards from either Gigabyte authorized distributors across India or premium partners in Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Mumbai. Each purchase will ensure a scratch card
with points and code which needs to be registered at http://event.gigabyte.com/india-reseller. Channel partners need to be registered in order to participate in this programme. Partners will win gifts worth the same amount as the number of points earned by them. All scratch cards also qualify for 6 lucky draws for each region and a mega draw at the end of the promotion where buyers can win bikes, LCD televisions, iPods etc. The scheme is applicable only on motherboards shipped between 1st July – 30th September 2010. According to Rajan Sharma, GM Gigabyte, “Through this programme, we want to encourage participation from all channel segments in metros & non-metros, especially in untapped markets to ensure good business overall. We hope the attractive scheme will help expand our present base of registered value partners and also give a platform to our premium partners to ensure spread and penetration in new customer base.” n
Moser Baer launches Knight USB flash drives
oser Baer India (MBI) has announced the launch of ‘Knight’ USB flash drives with value added features which allow users to customize their storage space as per their preference. As per the company, the USB flash drives are equipped with advanced features like MyZone, LED light in a sleek form factor among others for an enhanced user experience. The MyZone feature, which has been developed by in-house design centre of Moser Baer, enables the user to demarcate his personal and public storage space with a password. It can be set to any percentage of the drive’s total capacity. The password enabled storage ensures that the user data remains secure. The flash drive also offers an ergonomic design with LED light feature. It is billed as a true plug–and–play device, requiring no software installation on the host system. This “Knight” flash drive is compatible with all major operating systems including Windows 7, Macintosh and Linux platforms. The “Knight” USB flash drive is a cap based model with bright red LED at the rear end. The drives are currently available in the capacities of 2GB and 4GB at a price point of Rs. 525 and Rs. 700 respectively. Moser Baer Knight with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities will be launched soon. They are available at Moser Baer’s dealer outlets on a pan India basis. n
HCL led consortium bags largest PDS order
CL Infosystems has announced the awarding of the contract from the Gover nment of Madhya Pradesh for the implementation of India’s largest food-coupon based Targeted Public Distribution Systems (TPDS) in the state. HCL Infosystems led consortium bagged this order which would involve setting up an efficient model of food & civil supplies distribution in the state based on the UIDAI guidelines, for over 10 million expected transactions per month at Rs. 10.98 (per transaction per family) spread over 78 months. While the BPL & AAY families would get access to the scheme for free, the APL families will be paying a one-time subsidised registration fee of Rs. 250 only. The deployment would make use of technology to increase efficiency and transparency in the current system with food coupons distributed to the BPL, AAY and APL families. These food coupons will capture all biometric, tax, demographic and personal information details, enabling authorities to ensure proper distribution of food rationing and other benefits. The consortium would include Accor Services and Virgo Softech. n
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trends Transcend launches StoreJet 25D2-W hard drive
ranscend has announced the launch of the StoreJet 25D2-W, a portable hard drive designed to complement Mac computers. This new Apple friendly drive features a glossy white finish and certified compatibility with Mac laptop and desktop computers. The StoreJet 25D2-W offers a large storage capacity for synchronization and backup using software such as Mac OSX Time Machine or Transcend’s StoreJet Elite software for Windows. Under its case is an internal hard drive suspension system that helps prevent damage caused by accidental slips or falls during travel. The drive features anti-slip rubber feet that provide a stable base for resting on a table or computer case. Also an eco-friendly drive, the
HCL bags order from Census of India worth Rs 40 crore
CL Infosystems has announced the awarding of a contract by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India for Census of India. The company will be collaborating with the Government of India to digitise the data generated from Census of India project for the year 2010 –11. This project will involve an epic task of digitising data collected across the country including maintenance, indexing, scanning and storage at a central repository. The project will involve processing all data captured, including images, and would also require extraction of information in English language format. Specialised software and other tools like Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) will be deployed for extraction and cross verification. Under the scope, HCL Infosystems will digitise the information gathered from approximately 55 Crore survey forms and 1.10 Crore images. The information will then be stored at a central repository gathered from 15 different project locations across the country. According to J.V. Ramamurthy, President and COO, HCL Infosystems, “We deeply appreciate the Government’s vision to utilise technology as a driver for growth and look forward to partner in this task that involves every Indian citizen.”n
StoreJet 25D2-W is designed to automatically go into power-saving sleep mode after ten minutes of inactivity, allowing energy-savings of up to 30%. To protect against dirt and scratches, the StoreJet 25D2-W comes with a faux-suede travel pouch that allows users to carry it snugly and safely. As per the company, all StoreJet drives come bundled with Transcend`s own StoreJet Elite software that offers intelligent backup scheduling, internet tools and 256-bit AES encryption. Backed by a 3-year warranty, the StoreJet 25D2-W is priced at Rs. 6300 and available in 500GB capacity.n
Digilink launches monsoon scheme ‘Kismet Connection’
igilink has introduced a channel incentive scheme ‘Kismet Connection’ for its dealers and resellers. The scheme covers entire range of Digilink and Digisol products, purchased from authorized channel partners. The offer is valid till 30th September 2010. Under the “Scratch Karo, Kismet Kholo” offer, on purchase of certain amount of Digilink and Digisol products, a scratch card will be entitled. Each scratch card contain points, which can be accumulated and redeemed in the form of cash. The total prize money is of Rs. 2 Crore. Beside this, there are 44 special lotteries also to be won. According to Prabodh Vyas, Director – Sales and Marketing, Digilink, “The scheme is designed entirely on feedback taken from our channels partners. With this scheme, we bring to our partners a unique offer to help them realize the tangible benefits on an immediate basis. Digilink recognizes the need to reward its performing partners and is confident that schemes like this will go a long way in motivating partners to perform even better.” n
Olive Telecom launches its first 3G tablet - OlivePad VT100
live Telecom has announced the launch of OlivePad - VT100, which it says is India’s first 3G pad. Designed as a multi functional device, Olive Pad operates on an Android operating system and supports 3.5G HSUPA, wi-fi, and bluetooth. It has an inbuilt three mega pixel camera and a front camera, and can be used as a touch notebook for browsing, multimedia, instant messaging and easy access to social networking, GPS for maps and turn by turn directions,
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
gaming console, an e- book reader, television and voice and video calling. According to Arun Khanna, Chairman, Olive Telecom, “It is the true convergence device that brings together the computer, mobile phone and entertainment on one platform. The Olive Pad is aimed at today’s technology savvy generation who want easy on the move connectivity.” The OlivePad will be available countrywide at all Croma stores from August. n
trends HP launches new ePrint-enabled printer
ewlett-Packard (HP) India has launched its new HP Photosmart Plus eAll-in-One B110e printer, which is an ePrint-enabled ink printer. As per the company, the technology will allow consumers and creative professionals such as photographers, to print from any email device to their HP printer, from anywhere in the world. The new ePrint-enabled ink printer is designed to wirelessly print lab-quality photos, everyday documents, and creative projects. It features applications that are easily accessible through the 3.5-inch HP TouchSmart screen, which enables easy printing of creatives and more – all without turning on a PC. Users can receive updates according to their preferences, configure their devices, track ePrint jobs, and browse and suggest new print apps through the HP
ePrint Center, a home for all things. Priced at Rs.7570, the HP Photosmart Plus B110e reduces packaging waste, and is shipped in a reusable bag.n
Asus launches Gold Partners Programme
sus has announced the launch of the AGP Program (Asus Gold Partners) for its system business that includes notebooks and the Eee Family of products - Eee PC, EeeTop and EeeBox. The Asus AGP initiative aims to fortify the relationship with channel partners by helping them derive maximum benefits. As per the company, this special programme allows resellers to increase their exposure, thereby gaining a competitive advantage and also increases their focus on end-user sell-out of Asus system products. Once enrolled in this unique programme, channel partners become eligible to buy “Exclusive AGP Models” from Asus distributors apart from general channel models besides also avail demo discounts. As a part of the Asus Gold Partner programme, AGP’s will be eligible to buy ‘Exclusive AGP Models’ from Asus distis, apart from general channel models. As such, they can avail higher margins compared to standard market prices and end user price will not be affected. According to Rajeev Chaudhari - Director for Channel Management (System Business) at ASUS (India), “The Asus Gold Partners Programme is a special initiative that will enable us to fortify our relationship with our channel partners and vendors. The dealers enrolling in this programme will receive special discounts and higher profitability compared to competitors.” n
Delta launches new industrial power supplies
elta Group, a provider of switching power supplies and DC brushless fans, has launched a new product line of industrial power supplies in India. In this product segment, Delta is offering two categories of power supplies— DIN Rail Power Supplies and Panel Mounting Power Supplies. Both Delta PMC Panel Mounting and CliQ DIN Rail Power Supplies provide choices of nominal output voltage of 24V and 12V with a wide temperature range. As per the company, both products have enhanced safety f e a t u r e s l i ke s h o r t circuit protection, overload, thermal, a n d ove r vo l t a ge
protection. Additional features include the products’ lightweight and compact design. With this launch, Delta is targeting the new premium range for OEM to industrial automation applications and instrumentation machine and panel manufacturers. “All our products are ROHS compliant with ef f iciency higher than the competition at the same level. We are targeting customers who want superior product quality and reliability without paying exorbitantly high prices,” said Manish Walia, Director Sales, Industrial Automation Business Unit, Delta Group - India and SAARC region.n
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
trends Simmtronics unveils new desktop PCs
immtronics Semiconductors has announced the roll out of its new range of desktop PCs, which is available in two variants: SDC 2711S and SCD 2911S. The desktop PC range comes with 15.6, 18.5 and 20-inch LCD monitor options. In addition, SDC 2711S comes with a three year warranty and SCD 2911S with a three year onsite warranty. As per the company, the SDC2711S comes with Intel Pentium Dual Core processor, 1 GB of RAM (can be upgraded up to 4GB) and 500 GB SATA HDD. Simmtronics has also equipped the machine with DVD R/W Dual Layer, multimedia keyboard, optical mouse and slim cabinet. Simmtronics SDC 2711S comes preloaded with Ubuntu. On the other hand, Simmtronics SCD2911S
TLG invests $5m in cartridge company
e-feel Cartridge Engineering, a printer cartridge refill and laptop repair services’ company, has announced that UK based private equity company - TLG Capital - is investing around USD 5 million for a 36% stake in the company. The company, which follows a franchisee business model, will utilise the funds for expanding its franchisee network and expanding its chain of laptop repair stores. TLG Capital’s Sidarth Menon has been appointed Chief Financial Adviser at Re-feel. TLG will focus on working with Re-feel to expand its operations in India including taking its services into new areas such as print managed services and printer servicing. According to Samit Lakhotia, Director – Business Development of Re-feel, “We welcome the addition of this dynamic firm, who will work with us to consolidate and grow our business. The access to fresh capital will allow us to grow in accordance with the market and will help Re-feel stay ahead in the business. ” n
In the July 2010 issue of Digit Channel Connect (Vol 2, Issue 17), the picture appearing on Page 28 was that of Srikant Chakrapani, Director, Channels and Strategic Alliances for India, Hitachi Data Systems and not of Harikrishna Prabhu as indicated. The error is regretted.
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
comes loaded with Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1 GB RAM and 500 GB SATA HDD. The other notable features of the desktop include multimedia keyboard, optical mouse, slim cabinet and comes loaded with Ubuntu. “Simmtronics would also be exporting PCs to UAE, UK and USA within the year 201011 as we are well established globally,” commented Indrajit Sabharwal, Managing Director, Simmtronics Semiconductors Limited. Simmtronics SDC 2711S is available at a price of Rs. 13,490 and Simmtronics SCD 2911S is available at a price of Rs. 15,990. n
Logitech launches its latest speaker system
ogitech has announced the Logitech Speaker System Z313, which is a 2.1 system that delivers a balanced sound as a result of the 25 watts (RMS) of power. As per the company, the speakers feature a convenient control pad which allows the users to easily turn on the speakers, adjust the volume or plug in their headset when they want to enjoy private listening. The headphone jack also offers a convenient solution if the user want to listen to music from their iPod. The Speaker System Z313 is easy to set up. All the user has to do is connect the speakers to the subwoofer, connect the subwoofer into their computer using the provided cable, and plug in
the power. Since the speakers connect to a computer using a standard 3.5 mm audio output jack, they are compatible with any computer running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The Logitech Speaker System Z313 is available in India from August for a suggested retail price of Rs. 2195.n
Pinakin Patel appointed SITA President 2010-11
outh Gujarat Information Patel has also shared his vision Technologies Association and ideas with the members regard(SITA) has appointed ing the increase in profitability, P i n a k i n Pa t e l o f Ra i n b ow techno parks and organising events Informatics Solutions as President in remote villages to spread knowlfor the year 2010-11 in its 14th edge of IT and how it can be more Annual General Meeting. useful in making agricultural infraPinakin announced his team structure and their lives more better. where key-posts are being catered He also added that his most to Kaushal Choksi as Vice President, Pinakin Patel, President, SITA important agenda is to join hands Nilesh Desai as Hon. Secretary, with the Government of Gujarat Mitesh Rathod as Treasurer and Amit Desai as in their drive of e-waste management which is Official Spokesperson for the coming year. becoming a very serious threat. n
trends 3 Things HP IPG touts to grow its hold on channel
P’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) partners to expect more business and value has unveiled its biggest ever marketfrom HP, will run from August to October. The ing campaign, titled Demand More, campaign specifically targets SMBs as well. through electronic, print, internet and on-theBesides employing massive advertising and ground media. points of presence collateral, the company will According to V Krishnan, GM – Marketing, organise roadshows in 20 upcountry cities, in IPG, LaserJet printers are the addition to the six large cities focus of the campaign, which of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, will seek to establish three Bengaluru, Kolkata and key messages for its 6,000 Hyderabad. channel partners across the On the consumer side, country – biggest in terms of HP will be of fering 101 installed base of printers (2.7 gifts every day for various million) and service locations products to consumers who (350), smartest in terms of register them on its website features and bundled softbetween July 27 and October ware, and widest in terms of 31. range of products to choose HP’s renewed aggression from (over 170 printer comes at a time when it is models). facing a growing threat from The Demand More Canon in the single-function campaign, which urges V Krishnan, GM – Marketing, IPG laser printer market. n
PC sales cross 8 million units in 2009-10
he total PC sales between April 2009 and March 2010, with desktop computers, notebooks and netbooks taken together, were 8.03 million (80.3 lakh) units, registering a growth of 18% over the last fiscal, according to the findings of MAIT’s Industry Performance Review for the financial year 2009-10. The sales of desktops stood at 5.52 million (55.2 lakh) units, registering a growth of 5%. Notebooks and netbooks taken together recorded a consumption of 2.5 million (25 lakh) units, growing 65% over the last year. PC sales are expected to cross 9.35 million (93.5 lakh) units in FY 2010-11, growing about 16%. According to Ravi Aggarwal, President, MAIT, “Easing of the economic slowdown and improved sentiments among both the consumer & business segment are the reasons behind the impressive growth of the PC market, especially during the second half of the year 2009-10. n
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
SHAPE OF WORK
Gartner says the world of work will witness 10 changes during the next 10 years
he world of today is dramatically different from 20 years ago and with the lines between work and non-work already badly frayed, Gartner predicts that the nature of work will witness 10 key changes through 2020. Organisations will need to plan for increasingly chaotic environments that are out of their direct control, and adaptation must involve adjusting to all 10 of the trends. “Work will become less routine, characterized by increased volatility, hyperconnectedness, ‘swarming’ and more,” said Tom Austin, Vice President and Gartner fellow. By 2015, 40% or more of an organisation’s work will be ‘non-routine’, up from 25% in 2010. “People will swarm more often and work solo less. They’ll work with others with whom they have few links, and teams will include people outside the control of the organisation,” he added. “In addition, simulation, visualisation and unification technologies, working across yottabytes of data per second, will demand an emphasis on new perceptual skills,” he added.
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Organisations will need to determine which of the 10 key changes in the nature of work will affect them, and consider whether radically different technology governance models will be required.
De-routinization of work
The core value that people add is not in the processes that can be automated, but in non-routine processes, uniquely human, analytical or interactive contributions that result in words such as discovery, innovation, teaming, leading, selling and learning. Non-routine skills are those we cannot automate. For example, we cannot automate the process of selling a life insurance policy to a skeptical buyer, but we can use automation tools to augment the selling process.
Swarming is a work style characterized by a flurry of collective activity by anyone and everyone conceivably available and able to add value. Gartner identifies two
analyst speak phenomena within the collective activity; teaming (instead of solo performances) will be valued and rewarded more and occur more frequently and a new form of teaming, which Gartner calls swarming, to distinguish it from more historical teaming models, is emerging. Teams have historically consisted of people who have worked together before and who know each other reasonably well, often working in the same organisation and for the same manager. Swarms form quickly, attacking a problem or opportunity and then quickly dissipating. Swarming is an agile response to an observed increase in ad hoc action requirements, as ad hoc activities continue to displace structured, bureaucratic situations.
In swarms, if individuals know each other at all, it may be just barely, via weak links. Weak links are the cues people can pick up from people who know the people they have to work with. They are indirect indicators and rely, in part, on the confidence others have in their knowledge of people. Navigating one’s own personal, professional and social networks helps people develop and exploit both strong and weak links and that, in turn, will be crucial to surviving and exploiting swarms for business benefit.
Working with the collective
There are informal groups of people, outside the direct control of the organisation, who can impact the success or failure of the organisation. These informal groups are bound together by a common interest, a fad or a historical accident, as described by Gartner as “the
collective.” Smart business executives discern how to live in a business ecosystem they cannot control; one they can only influence. The influence process requires understanding the collectives that potentially influence their organisation, as well as the key people in those external groups. Gathering market intelligence via the collective is crucial. Equally important is figuring out how to use the collective to define segments, markets, products and various business strategies.
Most non-routine processes will also be highly informal. It is very important that organisations try to capture the criteria used in making decisions but, at least for now, Gartner does not expect most non-routine processes to follow meaningful standard patterns. Over time, we believe that work patterns for more non-routine work will emerge, justifying a light-handed approach to collecting activity information, but it will take years before a real return on investment for this effort is visible. In the meantime, the process models for most non-routine processes will remain simple “sketchups,” created on the fly.
This property is also implied in Gartner’s description of work swarms. Spontaneity implies more than reactive activity, for example, to the emergence of new patterns. It also contains proactive work such as seeking out new opportunities and creating new designs and models.
Simulation and experimentation
Active engagement with simulated environments (vir tual environments), which are similar to technologies depicted in the film Minority Report, will come to replace drilling into cells in spreadsheets. This suggests the use of n-dimensional virtual representations of all different sorts of data. The contents of the simulated environment will be assembled by agent technologies that determine what materials go together based on watching people work with this content. People will interact with the data and actively manipulate various parameters reshaping the world they’re looking at.
DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT
By 2015, 40% or more of an organisation’s work will be ‘nonroutine’, up from 25% in 2010. Simulation, visualisation and unification technologies, working across yottabytes of data per second, will demand an emphasis on new perceptual skills. Over time, work patterns for more nonroutine work will emerge, justifying a light-handed approach to collecting activity information. Hyperconnectedness will lead to a push for more work to occur in both formal and informal relationships across enterprise boundaries.
Gartner has published a major line of research on pattern-based strategy. The business world is becoming more volatile, affording people working off of linear models based on past performance far less visibility into the future than ever before. Gartner expects to see a significant growth in the number of organisations that create groups specifically charged with detecting divergent emerging patterns, evaluating those patterns, developing various scenarios for how the disruption might play out and proposing to senior executives new ways of exploiting (or protecting the organisation from) the changes to which they are now more sensitive.
Hyperconnectedness is a property of most organisations, existing within networks of networks, unable to completely control any of them. While key supply chain elements, for example, may be “under contract,” there is no guarantee it will perform properly, not even if the supply chain is in-house. Hyperconnectedness will lead to a push for more work to occur in both formal and informal relationships across enterprise boundaries, and that has implications for how people work and how IT supports or augments that work.
The workplace is becoming more and more virtual, with meetings occur ring across time zones and organisations and with participants who barely know each other, working on swarms attacking rapidly emerging problems. But the employees will still have a “place” where they work. Many will have neither a companyprovided physical office nor a desk, and their work will increasingly happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In this work environment, the lines between personal, professional, social and family matters, along with organisation subjects, will disappear. Individuals, of course, need to manage the complexity created by overlapping demands, whether from the new world of work or from external (non-work-related) phenomena. Those that cannot manage the underlying “expectation and interrupt overloads” will suffer performance deficits as these overloads force individuals to operate in an over-stimulated (information-overload) state.n
Published on Aug 10, 2010