Page 1

A 9.9 Media Publication

Channel Connect

If you are a tablet freak, then here are the best brands for you PAGE 36

Channel Connect Vol 03 | Issue 4 | January 2011 | Rs. 50

EXCLUSIVE INSIDE MANJIT SINGH

on the growth story of Ruckus Wireless PAGE 08

BALWINDER SINGH

on the expansion plans of Targus Technologies PAGE 20

ALEX HUANG speaks about the growth of netbooks in India PAGE 45

MANAGED SERVICES: UNDERPINS BOTTOM LINE GROWTH VOL 03 | ISSUE 4 | JANUARY 2011

Partners are hooked to Managed Services seeing an uptake in growth opportunity. However, certain caution is required in choosing the right services. Read On... PAGE 22


EDITOR’SNOTE

GEETHA NANDIKOTKUR

Getting Cloud Ready

I

BOARD

“Our conservative guess pegs the figure at about 1000 crores per annum for managed services in data centres, which is likely to grow at 30% year on year.” — UROOJ ABBASI,

ndustry players have been finding ways to reduce the complexity of offerings and make the customers life simple. The only possible means is the buzz around cloud which can offer this simplicity, which allows to pay for the services used. The unanswered question is whether the channel is part of this cloud revolution in breaking the rules of complex offerings. Well, the answer is no at this point of time, despite the fact that the channel is keen on aligning with the changes. There is logical thinking behind every move and this applies to the cloud based delivery model as well. It is imperative that the partners get themselves ready to address this hyped space. The hype around the managed services too began some time back and it is heartening to know that it is becoming a reality. Well, channel is getting conscious of the need for managed services, given the customer preference to enjoy lowered operation costs and improved RoI, besides tighter cost control. Partners and vendors are putting best foot forward in building capabilities around grabbing a significant share of the managed services market. Springboard has projected managed services market to be at US$ 3.8 billion in 2013. If channel is able to garner at least 10% of the same, it would enhance their growth largely. Channel is high in adrenalin in absorbing various innovations around managed services, taking a stake around storage management, enterprise applications, DR managed services, data migration etc. Most gratifying factor as one of channel partners observes, “Besides addressing the customization needs, partners are working on customers’ integration points and legacy applications as part of the managed services portfolio.” The challenges are umpteen, given the maze around unclear SLAs, erratic payment terms,

2

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DIRECTOR SERVICES SALES & OPERATIONS, APC SCHNEIDER

“Once the managed services start contributing to the monthly billing, it will start getting more lucrative.” — JITEN MEHTA, CEO OF MUMBAI BASED

ineffective management tools and customer attitude. However, the positive stride from vendors and partners together to navigate this maze is unfolding the mystery of the managed services in defining clear SLAs to drive profitability. Interestingly, partners are building capabilities around delivering hybrid delivery models around enterprise applications such as BI, ERP, CRM and the likes. Besides, they are keen to develop specific service delivery modules for specific industry verticals such as government, education, retail, manufacturing, healthcare etc.finding greater potential. Most channel find managed services contributing to 10% to their overall revenues currently, aiming at doubling the growth. The channel is keen on stretching itself to overseas customers in their managed services offerings, which is a positive gesture. Partners ability to address key challenges will help them mitigate cloud related risks.

GEETHA NANDIKOTKUR EXECUTIVE EDITOR DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT geetha.n@9dot9.in

MAGNAMIOUS SYSTEMS

“Forrester report estimated Indian IT managed services market to be $11 billion in 2014.” — VIKRAM SHARMA, VP AND HEAD OF MANAGED SERVICES BUSINESS; CISCO SYSTEMS

“Partners need to take vertical managed services approach, targeting manufacturing, government, education, healthcare, financial services and professional services, where the potential is high.” — ANTHONY LINUS, DIRECTOR, NORTECH


INDEX

VOLUME 03 | ISSUE 04 | JANUARY 2011

COVERSTORY

22

08

46

COVER STORY

20

COVER STORY

22 MANAGED SERVICES

One often hears of vendors choosing their partners and giving out details of their channel strategy. But what about partners choosing vendors? DCC talks to some partners about what they look for while choosing vendors.

ASSOCIATION CONNECT

FOCUS

46 MONO AND

28 ISODA TECH

MULTI BRAND

SUMMIT

ISODA (INFOTECH SOFTWARE DEALERS ASSOCIATION) HELD ITS FIRST TECH SUMMIT AT BANGKOK RECENTLY.

SPECIAL REPORT

33 STATE OF

ASSEMBLERS

White box manufactures have carved a niche by absorbing new technologies.

BEST OF BIZ

30 BUSINESS ANALYTICS

Business analytics is an emerging growth opportunity for the channel.

33 SPECIAL REPORT

COVER DESIGN BY PC ANOOP

STATEOF J A N U A R Y 2 011

DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT

There is enough space for both mono and multi brand IT retail outlets to co-exist in the market.

52 OTHERS

TRIED-NTESTED

02 EDITORIAL

PRESCRIPTION

08 VENDOR

36 THE

Get to know all about the latest breed of handheld devices – the snazzy tablets.

CONNECT

10 UP-TO-DATE 20 PARTNER CONNECT

28 ASSOCIATION TECHNO TOUCH

42 NETBOOKS

ASSEMBLERS

4

THEY SAID IT

The reality is that netbooks are proving to be a big source of revenue for partners.

CONNECT

42 TECHNO TOUCH – NETBOOKS

52 ANALYST CONNECT


Channel Connect VOL 03 ISSUE 04 JANUARY 2011 Managing Director: Dr Pramath Raj Sinha Publishing Director: Vikas Gupta EDITORIAL Executive Editor: Geetha Nandikotkur Copy Editor: Akshay Kapoor Sr. Correspondents: Sandhya Malhotra (Delhi), Payal Pruthi (Bengaluru) DESIGN Sr. Creative Director: Jayan K Narayanan Art Director: Binesh Sreedharan Associate Art Director: Anil VK Sr. Visualiser: PC Anoop Sr. Designers: Prasanth TR, Anil T Joffy Jose, Anoop Verma NV Baiju & Chander Dange Designers: Sristi Maurya & Charu Dwivedi Chief Photographer: Subhojit Paul Photographer: Jiten Gandhi SALES & MARKETING VP Sales & Marketing: Navin Chand Singh (09971794688) National Manager - Events and Special Projects: Mahantesh Godi (09880436623) National Manager - Channels: Krishnadas Kurup (09322971866) Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai: Vinodh K (09740714817) Delhi: Lalit Arun (09582262959) Kolkata: Jayanta Bhattacharya (09331829284) BRAND COMMUNICATION General Manager: Ankur Agarwal Asst Brand Manager: Arpita Ganguli PRODUCTION & LOGISTICS Sr. GM Operations: Shivshankar M Hiremath Production Executive: Vilas Mhatre Logistics: MP Singh, Mohd. Ansari, Shashi Shekhar Singh Published, Printed and Owned by Nine dot Nine Interactive Pvt Limited. Published and printed on their behalf by Kanak Ghosh. Published at:

WEBINDEX www.digitchannelconnect.com

WEB EXCLUSIVE NEWS

Zuckerberg’s Facebook page hacked: Sophos

Sophos has reminded computer users of protecting themselves while online after news broke that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had his Facebook page hacked. An unknown hacker had broken into Zuckerberg’s Facebook account. http://digitchannelconnect .com/content/mark-zuckerbergs-facebook-pagehacked-sophos

WEB EXCLUSIVE FEATURE

The Rise of the Tablet

Printed at: SilverPoint Press Pvt Ltd D- 107, MIDC, TTC Industrial Area, Nerul, Navi Mumbai- 400706 Editor: Anuradha Das Mathur Bunglow No. 725, Sector - 1 Shirvane, Nerul Navi Mumbai - 400706

International Data Corporation (IDC) has announced plans to establish a whollyowned India research business unit in Bangalore, India. The new research business unit is expected to open in the first quarter of 2011. http://digitchannelconnect.com/content/ idc-establish-research-business-unit-bangalore

OPINION POLL

How is the service support from tablet PC vendors? 64%

The latest trend in the technology wave is the tablet PC, which enables consumers to easily connect anytime, anywhere. The league of tablet makers seems to be growing at a fast rate. http://digitchannelconnect.com/content/ rise-tablet

NEWSLETTERS

Subscribe to web newsletters for constant updates! http://digitchannelconnect.com/content/ newsletters

Nine dot Nine Interactive Pvt Ltd Kakson House, A & B Wing, 2nd Floor,80 Sion Trombay Road, Chembur, Mumbai- 400071 INDIA.

IDC to establish research business unit in Bangalore

19% 17%

Satisfactory

Better

Not Satisfactory

The majority opinion is that tablet PC vendors give satisfactory service support.

QUERIES

For any customer queries and assistance, please contact : help@9dot9.in

AD INDEX SAMSUNG......................... INSIDE FRONT COVER HP............................................................. BACK COVER WESTERN DIGITAL............. INSIDE BACK COVER RASHI...............................................................................1 COMPUAGE...................................................................3 IBALL.......................................................................... 5,13 FENDA..............................................................................7 JUPITER............................................................................9

EPSON........................................................................... 11 NIRSUN IMPEX......................................................... 15 MOLEX.......................................................................... 17 GIGABYTE.................................................................... 19 PTC VALUE................................................................... 21 INDIA ANTI-VIRUS HPC........................................ 35 EMERSON....................................................... 45,47,49 SAKRI............................................................................. 51


VENDORCONNECT NETWORKING

INTERVIEW WITH MANJIT SINGH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INDIA & SAARC, RUCKUS WIRELESS

Our partners are no longer stuck with the SMB message “Ruckus has hospatility, education and healthcare as key focussed verticals in the enterprise segment.” Manjit Singh, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Ruckus Wireless.

Q Being a late entrant into the market, how do you see the acceptance and positioning? A Though a late entrant into Indian market in 2009, we witnessed humungous growth. Ruckus grew more than 240% in revenues and over 500% in unit shipments in one year’s time. Last fiscal, Asia Pacific constitutued 65% of the total global unit shipment, with India leading as a geography. The growth came from both enterprise and service provider segments. Ruckus won major deals in the hospitality, education and healthcare verticals.Some of the key wins have been with National Institute of Technology, Annamalai Univeristy, Lovely Professional University, Seven Hills hospitals, besides the chain of hotesl such as Hyatt Group, Marriott, Oberoi, Westin and Starwood properties. Q How is competition viewing you with your quick growth story. A Our success in India is attributed to our unique ability, through patented technology, to provide a much longer range, more reliable, easy-to-use and affordable

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wi-fi systems against legacy wi-fi suppliers such as Cisco Systems, HP, Motorola and Aruba Networks. Our competitors’ major focus has been around centralized management of wi-fi, who have failed to address critical RF issues that inhibit users from maintaining stable connections and consistent performance. Growth in wi-fi enabled smart devices such as iPhones, iPads, etc, called for robust system to manage RF interference and spectrum resources better.

Q You are known for the SMB sweet spot that helped you make your name. How are you tapping wireless enterprise deployments? A The ease of use, competitive pricing and industrialstrength, have found greatertraction among the small and medium enterprise segment. Ruckus’s robust multimedia rich applications solutions is driving the demand in the enterprise space. Our solutiotions provide greater scalability and flexibility. Our indoor and outdoor dual-band 802.11n products areconsidered the best performing tools. It’s become increasingly

difficult for enterprises to justify the premium they must pay for Cisco and Aruba, against the value they get. Our partners have been involved in the large projects around campus networking.

Q Elaborate on your channel strength. A In less than two years, we have signed up nearly 100 channel partners and roped in iValue Solution, Zen Exim, Telexel and VNPL as distributors. We reward our partners with healthy margins, compelling programmes, marketing funds and in-country support. We share product roadmaps and create lead generation programmes, provide online tools and demo gear that allow them to more easily sell our systems and increase their business quickly. Q What is your biggest challenge with channel partners right now in India? A Scaling the channel and getting the channel to think about selling wi-fi first is an uphill task. The key is to manage the channel to ensure minimum channel conflicts and to get top most mind share for our wi-fi systems. Educating partners to sell wi-fi enabled solutions is another challenge, given that they are used to do commodity selling. payal.pruthi@9dot9.in

For more UPDATES, Log on http://digitchannelconnect.com/resources/ctofconnect


UPtoDATE $15 bln

Projected worldwide mobile application store revenue in 2011, according to Gartner.

CHANNEL SCOOPS

R Manikandan leaves LG After serving LG India for almost 9 years, R Manikandan has left the company to join HP IPG group. Manikandan has been appointed as the Director for Inkjet Web Solutions at HP India. Manikandan has been a known face among the Indian hardware channel community. He has a strong hold in sales & marketing of IT hardware with strong insights to IT retail, IT channel management, functioning as profit centre head. – Sandhya Malhotra Trendnet Unveils new Router

Kingston’s new Lucky Bunny

Trendnet has launched its new wireless router, which connects to the internet either using a traditional hard wired connection or by cutting the cables and connecting with a compatible wireless mobile USB dongle from a 3G Internet service provider.

Kingston Digital has announced the launch of its Limited Edition Lucky Bunny Drive, available in 4GB. The company has designed the USB drive in the form of a rabbit because the year 2011 is the year of the rabbit according to the Chinese Zodiac.

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SANJAY YADAV, COUNTRY HEAD, RETAIL, DELL INDIA

Supertron to Distribute Dell Printers WITH ITS FORAY In the printer segment, Dell India is evolving a partner strategy to garner a fair share of the printer market. To this end, the vendor has gone ahead to sign up Kolkata based Supertron Electronics as its exclusive national distributor to push printers. Sanjay Yadav, Country Head, Retail, Dell India, pointed out, “Supertron has good footprints in the upcountry distribution, which is a big focus area for Dell. In the past, we have had a fair amount of success with our partners and Supertron will further help us leverage on that.” According to him, roping in printers to Dell’s product portfolio will provide significant value to the partners in providing end-toend offering. “While we are still finalizing the extent of our channel network, we plan to have nearly

50 regional partners across the regions and working closely with Supertron to ensure this execution,” said Yadav. “Dell printers will also be available at the Dell exclusive stores across the country and eventually through LFRs like Croma and Staples as well,” he informed. The products will also offer a one year carry-in exchange warranty on all the printer models. Meanwhile, Supertron has formulated a three-pronged strategy to position Dell as a vendor of choice among partners when it comes to printers. Discussing the game plan, Vibhor Agarwal, Director Marketing, Supertron Electronics said, “We are very excited about this new tie-up with Dell for printers and the plan is to first ensure that the products are made available across India.” – Continued on page 14

For more UPDATES, Log on http://digitchannelconnect.com/resources/news


UPtoDATE

ChannelConnect.com

TUSHAR SIGHAT, VP - OPERATIONS, CYBEROAM

Soon, Cyberoam’s New Security Tools CYBEROAM’S MAJOR FOCUS is on the SMB segment with majority of its revenues coming from this. The security vendor plans to roll out security tools to target the large enterprise segment, encouraged by its success in the SMB space. Tushar Sighat, Vice-President Operations, Cyberoam, maintained, “For the last two years, Cyberoam has been breezing ahead in its growth momentum with continued demand for its UTM appliances. Clearly, it reflects our ability to meet the growing requirements among SMBs and enterprises for comprehensive security through multiple product ranges and latest featurepacked versions of UTM.” “We intend to enter the enterprise segment and launch products with new features which can be absorbed by the enterprise customers,” he said. The vendor will launch solutions catering to 5000 to 6000 nodes networks. Besides, it will focus on its existing 1500iA model, which addresses 3000 nodes network. Besides, as per Sighat, the project size would also be significant, which

THROUGH THE NUMBERS

12

EVENT UPDATE

ISODA 2nd tech summitt: ISODA will be organising its second tech summit from January 26 - 29, 2012 in Singapore.

DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT

throws up immense opportunities for partners. “The projects would be multilocations in the size of Rs 1 lakh up to Rs 1 crore too, as the customers are looking at being connected to multiple locations,” said Sighat. Sighat and team are leveraging channel largely and imparting necessary training to address large projects. He does not rule out the channel role in driving the growth in the SMB space. “We will have select security partners selling our enterprise solutions going forward,” pointed Sighat. As part of its CCNSP and CCNSE certification programmes, Cyberoam has trained 800 engineers at different levels. The vendor has recently roped in Spectranet as its system integrator partner, which provides Cyberoam’s solutions on SaaS model. According to Sighat, the differentiating factors are around pricing, which is competitive, and the high-end features that come along with it. Going forward, Cyberoam has planned several channel schemes, webinars, and end-user road shows. With 70% year on year growth in the UTM space, Cyberoam intends to grow at a higher level with its enterprise side business to grow in this year. – N Geetha

IGATE BUYS PATNI IGATE, a US based software company, along with Apax Partners, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Indian software services player Patni Computer Systems for about $920 million. Apax, according to the reports, will invest about $500 million in iGate for the acquisition. The deal is being touted as one of the major acquisition in the Indian software industry, which will be completed in first half of 2011. “The combined PatniiGate entity will be almost a billion dollar entity,” as per Arup Roy, Sr. Research Analyst at Gartner.

STEVE HOOVER XEROX PARC’S NEW CEO

Steve Hoover has been named as the Chief Executive Officer of the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), a Xerox company. Hoover’s appointment follows previous CEO Mark Bernstein’s retirement from PARC. Earlier, Hoover was with Xerox Corporation where he was Vice President of the firm’s software and electronics development group, directing research and development investments that support multiple software and electronics platforms.

2 mln

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QUICK LINE: DELL HAS ANNOUNCED that it has signed a definitive

the no. of Windows Phone 7 sold globally by Microsoft: Reuters

1 mln

the number of Samsung Galaxy tablets sold globally: Samsung Reports

a


agreement to acquire SecureWorks, a global provider of information-security services.

FOUR

INTERESTING READS

1

LOOK OUT, TWITTER, IT LOOKS LIKE THE folks at VS Technologies are after you. The small company alleges that the site is infringing on patent 6,408,309, which gives “a method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of famous people.”

2

GOOGLE CEO ERIC SCHMIDT WILL BE handing the reigns over to company co-founder Larry Page. In a blog post titled “An update from the Chairman,” Schmidt detailed that he’ll be serving as executive chairman. Page will take over dayto-day operations.

3

FACEBOOK’S BRAND NEW MOBILE APPLICATION: FACEBOOK HAS ANNOUNCED A NEW MOBILE APP for regular, old feature phones – no “smarts” required. INSTEAD OF WORKING ON JUST A HANDFUL of devices, this new app will run on more than 2,500 phones including Nokia, Sony, LG and others.

4

APPLE’S RECORDBREAKING QUARTER: APPLE HAS TOUTED AN “ALLTIME RECORD quarterly revenue and earnings.” The company raked in $26.7 billion in revenue and $6 billion in profit, fueled in large part by sales of “more Macs, iPhones and iPads than in any previous quarter in Apple’s history.”

R.SIVAKUMAR, MD, SALES & MARKETING GROUP, INTEL SOUTH ASIA, AT THE LAUNCH

INTEL LAUNCHES SANDY BRIDGE PROCESSOR FAMILY: Intel Corporation has introduced the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family, which is popularly known as ‘Sandy Bridge processor’. Intel also disclosed some new features and services, and several unique agreements that deliver a new experience with processor graphics built in. New features include Intel Quick Sync Video, and a new version of the company’s Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), which now adds 1080p HD and content protection for those wishing to beam premium HD content from their laptop screen to their TV. According to R.Sivakumar, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing Group, Intel South Asia, “The built-in visual capabilities enabled by these new processors are stunning. This, combined with improved adaptive performance, will revolutionize the PC experience in a way that is obvious for every user to see and appreciate – a visibly smarter performance.”

3.1%

the amount by which worldwide PC shipments grew in the fourth quarter of 2010: Gartner


UPtoDATE

QUICK LINE: TATA COMMUNICATIONS HAS reached a definitive agreement to acquire BitGravity.

Avaya’s new Partner Club help them move to the next level where they can Avaya is strengthening its dream and execute big with India business with a special Avaya,” he added. focus on working closely The vendor plans to offer with Avaya Connect Partners. substantial rewards, addiIn one of its initiatives, the tional support and simplified vendor has launched what processes to the partners who it calls as the Avaya Connect have made it to the club. Partner Club (ACPC). As part The selected partners will BEJOY ANTONY, AVAYA of it, Avaya has handpicked have access to a broader 25 of its reseller partners out range of marketing support of the existing 300 to not only help them services and comprehensive technical scale up but also align their overall busiand design resources, in addition to gainness plan in line with its own. ing larger benefits and discounts as they Bejoy Antony, Director Channels & increase certification and specializations. Strategic Alliances –India & SAARC, Avaya “The ACPC partners will get to avail said, “We have adopted this council based clear benefits in terms of early access to approach towards select 25 partners.” the new programmes, getting a Proof of According to him, some of these partners Concept within their own premise and an have been with Avaya for a long time and all rounded business plan around sales, have emerged strongly from the capabilmarketing and technology investments,” ity standpoint. maintained Anthony. “We believe that this approach will – Payal Pruthi ENTERPRISE COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS provider

Dell-Supertron Partnership

VENDORVOICE

– Continued from page 10

“SUPERTRON WILL APPOINT partners

focused on selling printers and then formulating the right kind of incentive schemes to further boost the partners,” maintained Agarwal. To begin with, Supertron will appoint around three focused sub-distributors or stockists in every city who in turn will feed the retailers and the resellers. “We are already getting serious inquiries from partners who want to stock the products. They are volume partners who we would be focusing on to drive significant sales for Dell printers,” observed Agarwal. He expects the partners to make a straight margin of over 4% on the printers. – Payal Pruthi

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“We are empowering partners for our innovative and cost effective IP surveillance cameras, tablets, portable routers and 3G broadband router.” CHARLES CHEN VP, ACCTON ASIA PACIFIC AND SMC

TRANSCEND LAUNCHES NEW USB 3.0 FLASH DRIVE TRANSCEND Information has announced the addition of the new JetFlash 700 USB flash drive to its USB 3.0 product portfolio. As per the company, Transcend’s JetFlash 700 USB flash drive takes advantage of the next-generation USB 3.0 and delivers fast data transfer rates of up to 70MB/s—nearly twice the read speeds, and provides much quicker and easier access to rich digital content. Transcend’s JetFlash 700 is fabricated with the ultrasonic welding technology, and features a sturdy structure, smooth surface, and a streamlined appearance. Users of the JetFlash drives can download the JetFlash Elite data management tools, which allow users to check their email from any compatible computer. The tools also use the JetFlash drive as a key to automatically log on to website accounts, and much more. The JetFlash 700 is now available at an MRP of Rs. 1,300 for the 8GB model, Rs. 2,000 for the 16GB model and Rs. 5,600 for the 32GB model. The Transcend USB 3.0 flash drive is backed by the company’s limited lifetime warranty.


UPtoDATE

QUICK LINE: ENTERASYS NETWORKS HAS announced a distribution agreement with Virtual NetComm.

ACER launches ASPIRE Z5763 PC

ASHWINI AGGARWAL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MAIT

ACER HAS ANNOUNCED the launch of the Aspire Z5763, which as per the company, is one of the first 3D Visionenabled all-in-one PCs. The new Acer HN274H 27-inch and GN245HQ 24-inch monitors, which include built-in 3D Vision emitters, support both DL-DVI and HDMI 1.4 inputs, enabling users to experience 3D games, movies, photos, and more when connected to any 3D Vision PC or consumer electronics device with HDMI 1.4 connectivity. As per the company, the Acer Aspire Z5763 is one of the first all-in-one PCs that support Nvidia 3D Vision. It

has features like a 23-inch, full HD 3D Vision display, Nvidia GeForce GT440 or GeForce GT445M GPUs, a built-in 3D Vision emitter, advanced Dolby surround sound audio, etc.

MAIT Provides National Platform to IT Associations

BENQ LAUNCHES NEW PROJECTOR

have been planning to join hands to form a national IT body. To this end, Manufacturers Association of IT Industry (MAIT), the apex body representing the IT hardware industry in India, has taken the initiative to enroll different associations on one platform in order to play a stronger role in the national policies and to improve the penetration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in India. MAIT has extended its membership to IT associations like Ahmadabad Computer Merchants Association (ACMA), Computer Association Of Eastern India (COMPASS), Trade Association of Information Technology (TAIT). In the days to come, more associations are expected to join MAIT. Talking about the nationwide partnership, Ashwini Aggarwal, Executive Director, MAIT says, “With IT associations coming on board, not only will it strengthen our footprint, but will also provide a common forum to jointly address various issues.” MAIT has set the ������������������������������������������ strategic agenda to take this partnership forward by creating demand for ICT products through appropriate IT policy interventions and at the same time create a globally competitive, standard compliant and ethically clean ICT ecosystem in India. – Sandhya Malhotra

BENQ has announced the release of the MX880UST ultra short throw projector for the education market. As per the company, the new projector is ideal for small environments with big picture needs. The MX880UST has an aspherical lens projection design – offering extra projection flexibility for small-sized classrooms. Designed predominantly for the education sector and for use with interactive whiteboards, the new projector takes up limited space due to its ‘ultra short throw’ of just 0.3, projecting a large image in a small area. BenQ MX880UST is available at a price of Rs. 92,000. The model is available across India.

OVER THE PAST few years, various IT channel associations

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UPtoDATE

QUICK LINE: TULIP TELECOM HAS announced the acquisition of a data center facility in Bengaluru.

SUMIT DHAWAN, CITRIX SYSTEMS

Citrix Bets Big on VDI HAVING OVER 3000 customers in the country around XenApp solutions, Citrix is betting big on its newly launched Xentop, desktop virtualisation solution. Sumit Dhawan, VP, Product Marketing, XenDektop, Citrix Systems, finds the changing customer trends to throw up opportunities for partners for desktop virtualisation. “Changing behavior of the user work force and their expectations, CIO expectations around reducing the cost of ownership, PC refresh with the Windows 7 launch, introduction of tablets and smart phones etc., are opening up various opportunities for newer virtual applications,” said Dhawan. “The desktop transformation model is increasingly

driving the concept of virtual computing model amongst the users across the spectrum, which is influencing the partners to look at it as a serious business option,” he remarked. With the demand for desktop virtualisation tools scaling up, particularly from the telecom, banking, PSU, IT\ITeS etc., segments, Dhawan has plans to put right investments in place to enable the partners to address this growing space. As part of its marketing initiative, Citrix is conducting CIO specific road shows to drive awareness around Xendesktop. “We are working on a 100 city road show along with Microsoft to showcase our solutions and speak about the RoI it brings in,” said Dhawan. The vendor is keen on co-funding to build proof of concepts with partners, which Dhawan thinks is the primary way of accessing the customer interest and tapping new customers. Citrix will soon launch ‘Trade Up’ scheme for partners which enabled the partner to sell Xendesktop as a trade-up to the Xenapp customers. The products, as part of this programme, will be almost 90% off on the list price. “The objective is to enable the customers to migrate to xendesktop solutions at no cost or very negligible cost,” said Dhawan. – Geetha Nandikotkur

SONY LAUNCHES NEW VAIO YB SERIES SONY INDIA has announced the launch of its new Vaio YB series of laptops, which is fitted with the latest Vision Technology from AMD. HD content can also be enjoyed on a large screen by simply connecting the new laptop to a monitor or TV. As per the company, Vaio YB has a user-friendly interface that ensures hassle free navigation through all technical features. It comes with an 11.6” wide display and the isolation keyboard of the laptop provides comfortable, precise typing and an ergonomic touchpad for precision gestural control. The new laptop also comes with the ASSIST button, which offers instant access to Vaio Care, Vaio original software, which simplifies basic maintenance and troubleshooting tasks. The Vaio YB, which is priced at Rs. 26,990, will be available across all Sony Centers and other major electronic outlets in India from 2nd Feb, 2011.

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Buffalo unveils LinkStation Pro Quad

BUFFALO TECHNOLOGY HAS announced the LinkStation Pro Quad 4Bay network storage. As per the company, it offers instant storage expansion and file access on the home network and over the internet. The LinkStation Pro Quad utilizes a 1.6 GHz processor, giving users a network transfer speed up to 78 MB/s. It is equipped with 4 HDD thus data redundancy by using RAID 0/1/5/10 features. This storage device is also available in Enclosure Model (without hard drive), therefore providing the flexibility to customers of using own hard SATA hard drives. According to Susumu Kobayashi, Country Head, Buffalo India, “With the new LinkStation Pro Quad, users can access and share their data at a much faster rate as they would with a standard NAS device.” Also, Buffalo’s WebAccess feature allow users to easily stream digital content stored on any Buffalo network storage solution from anywhere in the world via a web browser, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Backed by 3 years of warranty, the LinkStation Pro Duo is available in 3 different capacities of 2 TB, 4 TB, 8 TB, as well as in Enclosure (Empty Box) Model.


PARTNERCONNECT TARGUS TECH

DOSSIER

Name: Col. (Retd.) Balwinder Singh Designation: Director Company: Targus Technologies Profile: Targus Technologies was founded as a corporate reseller. Today, it enjoys partnership with companies like HP, IBM and Microsoft as a prominent system integrator. The company recorded a turnover of over Rs. 120 crores in 2009-2010 and is targeting over Rs. 200 crores in the next fiscal year.

Q How has your firm grown since its inception? A We started our operations during the IT boom in 1997 with a turnover of around Rs 1 crore in the first year. It’s been over 13 years and the company is now present in 9 locations across India, catering to 40 locations with a turnover of over Rs 120 crores. We’ve also attained a global footprint with presence in Canada and Singapore. Today, we have the capability to provide technology solutions to our clients irrespective of the underlying hardware, software and networking available. We can provide a complete solution, including pre-sales, sales and implementation support. Q Can you tell us about your key IT services in the offering? A We offer a broad range of turnkey services largely, including system integra-

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DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT

INTERVIEW WITH COL BALWINDER SINGH, DIRECTOR, TARGUS TECHNOLOGIES

“We’re targeting Rs 200 crore turnover this financial year & aim to become one of the top 10 network integrators in India.” tion, network and infrastructure design and solutions for connectivity, messaging, storage, audio/video, office automation and facility management. We offer end to end IT services to various clients. Hence, to cater to them, we have got in-house groups including Network Integration Group (NIG), System Integration Group (SIG), Technical Services Group (TIG), International Business Group (IBG), Audio Visual Group (AVG), and Software Solutions Group (SSG). Going forward, we are venturing into remote infrastructure management, implementation services and structured cabling.

Q How is your firm positioned? A Targus Technologies has emerged as

an IT infrastructure solution provider supporting over 700 clients from all verticals. Today, we are amongst the top 5 system integrators in northern India. Over the years, we achieved the highest level of partnership with major vendors like HP in ESSN space. Moreover, we are gold partners for Microsoft and Oracle. Of late, we shared elite partnership level with Juniper. Besides this, we have strong relationships with organisations like IBM, Cisco, Red

Hat, F5, Radware, Fortinet, AMP, VMware, Citrix and Symantec etc.

Q Can you tell us about some of your key projects? A In the current fiscal, the company bagged several large projects, including a project from Religare to set up their data center, a Rs 7 crore project from MTS, and Bharti’s Rs 9 crore projects to deploy superdome servers. Also, Terminal 3 at Delhi International Airport is being networked by us. Q What are your future business expansion plans? A We are targeting a revenue turnover of Rs 200 crore in the current financial year and aiming to become one of the top 10 network integrators in the country. The company intends to go public in 2015. It has plans for moving up the value chain in overall offerings as a systems integration organisation. To expand our services portfolio, we have a separate business division, which would help our services business to grow at a CAGR of 100% over the next 5 years. sandhya.malhotra@9dot9.in

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COVERSTORY

22.8

%

the CAGR rate at which India’s IT managed services market is expected to grow.

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$3.8bn the amount by which the managed services market is expected to reach in 2013 from $1.6bn in 2009.


MANAGED SERVICES COVER STORY

MANAGED SERVICES:

UNDERPINS BOTTOM LINE

GROWTH Partners are hooked on to managed services, seeing an uptake in growth opportunity. It is a way to get inclined towards the cloud model. However, certain caution is required in choosing appropriate services. Read on‌ BY GEETHA NANDIKOTKUR | ILLUSTRATION BY PC ANOOP

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t wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the managed services business will grow significantly, given the fact that the CIOs prefer to engage with a managed services model over the strategic outsourcing model. The obvious reason for this is to have access to the best breed of services without losing control of IT. Besides the positive trend, the revenue opportunity that the managed services market is throwing up is enticing the vendors and partners alike to enter into the space. Urooj Abbasi, Director Services Sales & Operations, APC Schneider maintains, “Our conservative guess pegs the figure at about Rs. 1000 crores per annum for managed services in data centres (Network Critical Physical Infrastructure), which is likely to grow at 30% year on year. Springboard Research expects India’s IT managed services market to grow at a CAGR of 22.8%. The research group

expects the market to reach US$3.8 billion in 2013 from US$1.6 billion in 2009. Vikram Sharma, VP and head of managed services business,Cisco Systems observed that Forrester report estimated Indian IT managed services market $11 billion in 2014. As against the traditional approach of addressing the managed services portfolio directly, the IT vendors are leveraging the partners support in cracking into the accounts. Cisco’s channel partner Anthony Linus, Director, Nortech Infonet observes, “Besides addressing the customization needs, partners are working

on customers’ integration points and legacy applications.” IT vendors such as IBM, HP, Cisco, CA Technologies, APC and application vendors are rolling out partner centric initiatives to build partner capabilities. Partners are building capabilities to address this niche service area and to drive profitability, amidst challenges.

Rate of adoption Most common amongst the managed services has been around MPLS connectivity, LAN management, desktop management, storage management, security management, data center services etc.

“I want to evolve a model where partners can look beyond regular license sale for their SMB customers.”

Vijayant Rai, Director – Channels (India & SAARC), CA Technologies

“A partner model with a select 30 partners is ideal to crack large deals in the managed services space.”

“On an average, 30% revenues from the services delivery can be assured in the managed services model.”

mgt. & Development, global technology services, ibm India / south Asia

Locuz Enterprise Solutions

Akash Saxena, VP, offerings

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DIGIT CHANNEL CONNECT

Uttam Majumdar,

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MANAGED SERVICES COVER STORY The channel is putting its stake around storage management, applications, DR management, data migration services, UC etc. According to Kamal Vohra, IDC India’s lead analyst, lowered operation costs and improved RoI, and tighter cost control is driving the need for managed services. Vikram Sharma, VP and Head of managed services business, Cisco Systems finds enterprise, corporate and SMB driving the demand, with BFSI leading the space, followed by government and manufacturing. About 75% of the business for Cisco comes from the enterprise market wth managed collaboration services around Unified Communication and IP based PBX taking certer stage. Cisco works with both the service providers and channel partners around three key areas, which include envisioning the services concept, building partner skills and enabling them to sell. APC’s Abbasi plans to appoint channel partners to drive the managed services portfolio and opines that partners’ reach, geographical depth and delivery models add flexibility to the value proposition to the end customers. “Energy management in data centers is becoming a huge opportunity as part of the managed services,” points Abbasi. Vijayant Rai, Director – Channels (India & SAARC), CA Technologies, has been debating around evolving a partner model around managed services. Rai plans to work out a model for Indian partners on the lines of the US model. CA has launched ‘Instant Recovery and Demand’ concept in the data management solutions in a managed services environment for its North American partners. Rai remarks, “I want to evolve a model where partners can look beyond regular license sale for their SMB customers.” Rai will rope in select partners to address this space, which will enable them to drive the cloud based delivery model. IBM, which has deep footprints in the managed services space, with

most of its customers deploying its services, has built a partner ecosystem around it. Akash Saxena, Vice President, Offerings Management & Development, Global Technology Services, IBM India/South Asia, clearly

points out that partner model with a select 30 partners is ideal to crack large deals in this space. “IBM has made huge investment around its Tivoli Suite to enable partners to play a major role across

CASE STUDY-1

“We see good traction for managed services” Vipul Datta, CEO of Mumbai based Futuresoft Solutions Pvt. Ltd., finds a good traction in the deployment of managed services. We have more than 20 customers across leading customer verticals.” he says. Key offerings & Growth Datta’s engagement begins with helping his customers rightly define their requirement and document the solution method. Futuresoft in equipped to provide SLA based services hybrid service delivery models. Growth comes from the well-documented SLA around the service offerings and outlinining the customer’s technological needs from a futuristic perspective. Datta’s thrust on quality delivery and attention to factual details and transparency has resulted in reduced differences in opinion. It has also helped in customer retention, command premium on renewals and deeper engagements. The strategy is to focus on the small and core capability besides quality service delivery, which will open up doors for larger projects.

Business sense Managed services does make business sense for Datta, as he sees a gross profit in the excess of 30% on an average from the services. “The process oriented execution ensures that the net profit from a project remains in double digits,” he admits. Challenges being around retaining staff, Futuresoft garnered 12%, around Rs 4.2 crore of the business from managed service out of its revenue turnover of Rs 35 crores during 2010. With 100% growth target for overall revenues, Datta aims at clocking 17% of the total business from the managed services this year.

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COVER STORY MANAGED SERVICES

CASE STUDY-2

“30% of the project size will be managed services revenues”

Hyderabad based Uttam Majumdar, CEO of Locuz Enterprise Solutions Ltd., finds 30% assured revenues from the managed services projects. Majumdar is impressed with the gross margins that the managed services brings in, which is to the tune of 40% on an average. Market opportunity Locuz attempts at converting every business opportunity into managed services opportunity by building key applications and delivery models around it. The company has been in the managed services space for the last two years. “We have been managing the private cloud for our customers through our data centre, and managed services component is getting strengthened,” says Majumdar. The key specialty areas for Locuz around managed services is application hosting, DR hosting, application delivery, managed network, evolving a shared model, RIMs, reporting and dashboard services etc. “We find oil exploration, defence, scientific labs education, and, government segments opening up for managed services model,” comments Majumdar.

Where is the money Locuz has 24 customers in the managed services space and its recent win has been with defence sector from the Immigration services department for complete IT infrastructure managed services and the project size happened to be in the tune of $1 million. According to Majumdar, the projects in this business are sizeable, and would be anywhere in the range of Rs 70 lakhs and upwards. Currently, Locuz generates 10%, which is about Rs 13 crores from the managed services, out of the total Rs 130 crore revenues. The aim is to drive 20% of business from managed services this year, going by the demand in the virtualisation related services and storage management services.

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verticals, besides addressing huge deal size,” opines Saxena. “IBM global financing arm supports the partner in terms of customer financing if the partner lacks the financial muscle to support,” he reiterates. The partner league finds managed services helping in organisational sustenance. Vipul Datta, CEO of Futuresoft Solutions Pvt., Ltd., software partner maintains, “Our engagement begins with helping our customer rightly define its requirement and document the solution method.” Datta and his team align the delivery model with customers expectation and provide SLA based FMS, Hybrid Remote/On premise support, infra management, infra optimization, converting the capex based model to opex, high end server & application optimization services, business solutions such as HRMS, CRM, BI & ERP.

Partner profitability The big opportunity lies in spotting the right source, to emerge as the cloud managed service provider. Chennai based Girish Madhavan, CEO of Quadsel Systems, a partner for HP, looks at the application layer of managed services in creating a share point portal for its customers on an open source platform. “We integrate email exchanges, portal uploads, offer network management services as part of the activity, but intend to drive managed services around DR, storage on a pay per use model going along,” he notes. Quadsel currently has two customers on this portfolio in the SMB space catering to 300 users, and will add 7 customers to its list soon. Madhavan finds Rs. 15 crores business out of the total revenue turnover of Rs 150 crores coming from managed services at this point. “We set a 20% business target in the coming year as we add more services,” he says. Interestingly, Hyderabad-based Uttam Majumdar, CEO of Locuz Infotech Enterprise Solutions Ltd, converts every business opportunity into managed services. Locuz has grabbed good deals around data center services and it recently bagged a $1 million deal


MANAGED SERVICES COVER STORY from defense immigration services department. Jiten Mehta, CEO of Mumbai based Magnamious Systems observes that it is critical to work the cost analysis to arrive at a break even. “Once the managed services start contributing to the monthly billing, it will start getting more lucrative,” he says. K Venkatesh, Director, Precision Techserve points, “We’re developing application capability around providing support on ERP for our customers.” The investment that Precision makes is around having pan India presence, and manpower resources to fetch better topline and bottom-line growth. “The average project size in the managed services is around Rs. 20 lakhs to Rs. 20 crores,” says Venaktesh. Precision has 60 customers for managed services, spread across BPO, BFSI and garners about Rs. 38 crores out of the total Rs. 250 crores revenues from managed services alone. About 15% of the business currently comes from managed services, as Venkatesh aims at 30% share in the coming year. Anthony Linus, Director of Nortech believes that partners need to take the

and better RoI. Vipul Datta of Futuresoft finds a gross profit in excess of 30% on an average and process oriented execution ensure that the net profit from a project remain in double digits.

Clear on SLAs

“We’re capitalizing on the trend of hybrid based delivery engagement model and are being signed up as service partners.” Vipul Datta, CEO, Futuresoft Solutions vertical managed services approach, targeting manufacturing, government, education, healthcare, financial services and professional services, where the potential is high. Linus has 25 customers and believes that managed services using a cloud-based platform will ensure better delivery, better reach

BEING TRENDY

IDC INDIA FINDS the managed services space getting crowded owing to increased competition. Kamal Vohra, Lead Analyst, Software and Services research, IDC India, opines that new technologies such as utility computing, convergence and virtualisation is driving the momentum with shared risk and reward model getting popular. IBM’s Saxena finds the SMB market maturing and partners streamlining the IT processes for these. Partners are understanding customer pain points and entering into one year to three or five year contracts. Urooj Abbasi, Director-services, (sales & operations), APC Schneider, remarks that managed services market is commoditised, with many small players offering vanilla managed services. Jiten Mehta, CEO of Mumbai based Magnamious Systems maintains, “We want to have a select 10% of our customers as home customers and sign up SLA for three years contract, with annuity payment cycle which would be lucrative.” Mehta is contemplating to drive DR on cloud model going forward for a select group of customers to understand the nuances and also its implications. Precision Techserve’s Director K Venkatesh recommends having a longer contract on the managed services preferably around three to five years.

The ideal business proposition in the managed services revolves around the clarity around SLAs. They could be around performance, contract period, uptime, commercial and standard agreements, billing cycle and other deliverables. APC’s Abbasi avers, “SLAs need not be just defined, they need to be linked to payouts and pricings and only those with well defined value propositions will survive.” IBM’s Saxena reiterates that the level of maturity in articulating the SLAs will easily fetch 20% of the project revenues as managed services revenue. Linus states that SLAs are discussed during the initial contract negotiations, but rarely thereafter. The critical part for Linus is to ensure mention of downtime service performance credit, service exclusions, service downtime exclusions, billable system administration, server hardware for full managed and unmanaged servers, and business continuity.

Setbacks and hope The return on investments for partners is very low with customers’ erratic payment cycle. Precision’s Venkatesh opines that partners should distant themselves from re-sourcing or Time & Material (T&M) model which will not yield results, while attrition management is critical. Hope is not lost. Vendors are getting future ready, so are partners. IBM’s Saxena affirms that the company is making huge investments in creating assets and tools around managed services and enabling its partners to use them to address varied needs. Nortec’s Linus expects to grow more than 100% in this space, while tapping newer geographies like Middle East and Africa. geetha.n@9dot9.inw

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ASSOCIATIONCONNECT

ISODA

EVENT CALENDAR

CONFED-ITA TO ORGANISE SUMMIT 2011

ISODA

ISODA Members Pledge Unity. The pledge, taken at the association’s first tech summit in Bangkok, will help an entrepreneur to find new avenues.

The event saw good attendence. Confed-ITA is all set to hold its 2011 summit at Hotel Beach Orchid in Kollam on February 26th and 27th, 2011. The event will have a Kerala theme programme, DJ musical night, boat cruise and a number of water activities.

COMPASS holds its IT fair

Computer Association of Eastern India (COMPASS) held IT fair COMPASS 201011 from January 28 -31, 2011, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata. This year, the event witnessed several new product launches. The theme for the event was ‘Solutions -End to End’.

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AT THE FIRST ISODA (Infotech Software

Dealers Association) Tech Summit at Bangkok, which was attended by 100 CEOs, partners and vendors took a pledge to work in collaboration with the ISODA members and set a new direction for taking the association to the next level. The conference, which was held from 20th January to 23rd January 2011, saw participation from a mix of systems integrators, VARs and resellers from India. The event managed to communicate the agenda of TOP - Transform, Organise and Profit to a great extent to the delegates that were present. In the inaugural speech at the event, Rajesh Kothari, Chairman, ISODA said, “I am glad to see the overwhelming trust and support of members. Today, all the ISODA members are united and working in collaboration within the strong ecosystem. The success of our partnership is evident in the form of organising the first tech summit.” Talking on the collaboration aspects, KV Jagannath, Managing Director, Choice Solutions and member of ISODA said, “Essentially, our association’s prime objective is to teach our members how they can earn and enhance profitability within the existing infrastructure. It will be a stepping stone for a new entrepreneur to work in collaboration, which will offer them new business avenues and platform for exchanging new ideas. Moreover, most of the ISODA members are into the business of packaged software and development for the last 20 years. Hence, our members can exploit their

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100 CEOs attended the first ISODA Tech Summit at Bangkok

140 members constitute ISODA

Harinder Salwan, Secretary, ISODA, addressing delegates.

experience in business best practices, while working in partnership and a revenue sharing model.” The two day event was a learning experience for the partners and vendors. Vineet Sood, Director, Channel & Alliances, Symantec Software Solutions , one of the platinum sponsors of the event said, “We had extensive interaction with new and existing partners. Also, we learned about the needs of partner and their expectations.” Members also saw a presentation made by other principal companies such as CA technologies, Trend Micro, Quest Software, Hitachi, Netcore, MIEL,

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ISODA ASSOCIATION CONNECT

Microdium, and, Choice solutions at the event. With the active participation of members, ISODA made some important announcements at the event: Formation of code of conduct: During the event, ISODA members decided to form a code of conduct. Volunteers have given their names to work for the committee. M Prabhakar Kini will be introducing the first draft of the code of conduct. “There is an urgent need of a code of conduct which will set benchmark for the members,” said Kothari. To establish ISODA as a brand: One of the top priorities of the ISODA committee is to establish the association as a major brand. Today, ISODA has been recognized by the central government and other premier associations like NASSCOM, CII and MAIT. But ISODA wants to emerge as a bigger association. Kothari added, “For becoming a bigger brand, we have to increase our membership base. Today,

we have 140 members, but we have to double the headcounts by the next tech summit.” Motivational workshop for members: Implementation of collaboration at the members will be done in the form of various workshops. To start with, ISODA will soon start a motivational workshop for members. “The objective of such a workshop is to energize our members, so that they can start participating in the day to day activities of the association. We don’t want the association to be driven by only a few people. Hence, each member has a key role to play for taking the association beyond geographies,” said Biren Shah, CEO, Adit Microsys. Institution of Business Excellence awards: At the summit, the Business Excellence Awards were instituted with the help of a donation by M Prabhakar Kini. The awards will be called as MP Kini and will be given to resellers and solution providers. The first edition

CONFED-ITA SCRAP ‘GET TOGETHER TO GROW TOGETHER’ EVENT

CONFED-ITA has decided to postpone the ‘Get Together to Grow together’ or GT2GT meeting, which was scheduled to take place in the month of January, 2011. GT2GT is an annual meeting that takes place before the annual summit. However, this time, due to the high registration of delegates coming for the annual summit, the association has scrapped it. As per Muthuswamy A, President, Confed-ITA, “Instead of managing 2 events back-to-back, we decided to postpone the GT2GT and focus on the annual summit.”

– Sandhya Malhotra

of the awards will be held at the next AGM of ISODA. Informing about the criteria behind the award, Kini said, “We will soon form a four member committee, which will be chaired by me. Moreover, we will take help from distributors to nominate their leading partners. The winner will get a gold medal and a citation.” To start dialogue with distributors: The first tech summit could not establish a link between resellers and distributors, besides regional distributors. Salwan said, “Large distributors see ISODA as a threat to their business, but we are open to work in tandem. Without distributors, our ecosystem is incomplete. So, in the next tech summit, we will seek participation from distributors as well.” Lastly, at the first tech summit, the association has announced to hold its next summit in Singapore between January 26-29, 2012. ­— sandhya.malhotra@9dot9.in

WHAT THEY SAY ON 1ST ISODA TECH SUMMIT “At the ISODA Tech Summit in Bangkok, we realised that we can collaborate on various things in the market place.” BIREN SHAH, MD, ADIT MICROSYS

“We were able to network with 80 CEOs, and towards the end, many business opportunities came up for the participating members.” DEVESH AGGARWAL, DIR., COMPUSOFT

“Awareness about newer avenues, specific skill building & networking have been some of the learnings from this event.” GM KAMAT, DIRECTOR, PC TECHNOKNOWLEDGE CENTER

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BEST OF BIZ

BA

BA has moved into the realm of all users across segments, used for strategic, operational and tactical decision making.” PALLAVI KATHURIA, DIRECTOR – SERVER BUSINESS GROUP, MICROSOFT CORPORATION INDIA

BUSINESS ANALYTICS:

Business Analytics is an emerging growth opportunity for the channel. Claimed to be the next critical business differentiator, it is time for partners to faucet this bounty. BY PAYAL PRUTHI

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LOOK AT THE top technol-

ogy predictions made by various analysts, and one would unarguably agree to a promising future of Business Analytics (BA) Most industry segments clearly recognize the value analytics can provide in not only driving compelling business solutions, but also help differentiate themselves to customers, investors and regulators. Gartner finds organisations shifting focus to forecasting and creating dashboard for real time information

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PHOTO: PHOTOS.COM

Next Dive for Partners


BUSINESS ANALYTICS BEST OF BIZ

and reports, which deploy business analytics tools. CIOs across industry deploy the tools to collect, assemble and analyze the data with regard to the products, services, marketing, business etc. These tools enable the business heads to expedite the decision making process which indirectly results in better utilization of resources. Boris Evelson, Principal Analyst & VP, Forrester Research, opines that the traditional BI applications (reporting, ad hoc querying, dashboards, and OLAP) have certain limitations in meeting all the needs, and that is where BA supplements the BI and fills the gap in addressing critical information and data analysis requirements. IBM’s own recent CIO study revealed that 83% of business leaders listed BA as the top in their business priority list. According to an industry report shared by IBM, the global BA market size is pegged around $105 billion and is growing at a CAGR of 8%. Forrester research group claims that globally, the BI market is unaffected by the current economic crisis and is expected to grow to $14 billion by 2014, with its current size being $9.4 billion. New categories of advanced analytics will fuel the growth and merge into the core BI market, including business performance solutions, text analytics, predictive analytics, and complex event processing. This will have a cascading effect on the Indian business analytics market as well.

Fuelling growth The industry experts feel that the demand for business analytics in the country will emerge out of the need of the customers to drive better value addition and mileage which will result in better business growth. According to Prashant Tiwari Country Manager, Cognos, IBM India/ South Asia, information explosion and change are the key contributors to the rapid growth in analytics. IBM has invested $12 billion in the business analytics area over the past

two years. “We have acquired companies associated with information integration, information sharing, content and data management, and business consulting services,” maintains Tiwari. Maneesh Sharma, Head - Business Analytics and Technology, SAP India, points “The cost and complexities associated with traditional, on-premise applications, broad-based acceptance of consumer-oriented, on-demand services that are setting the standard for software ease-of-use and cost-effectiveness and increasing social media usage is driving the adoption ratio.” Analysts from IDC India account that the large enterprises have already

deployed tools around data capturing. Ashit Panjwani, Executive DirectorMarketing, Sales & Alliances, SAS Institute observes the trend of organisations looking at business analytics solutions is largely for uncovering patterns, behaviors, and trends pertaining to their brands, products, and customers, which drew more accuracy in forecasting. Industry verticals such as health, defense, banking, government, manufacturing and retail are spotting the need for BA tools. Pallavi Kathuria, Director – Server Business Group, Microsoft Corporation India however feels that analytics and BI is no more for a niche set of users in the enterprise. “BA has moved into the realm of all users across segments, used for strategic, operational and tactical decision making,” points Kathuria.

Right fit for partners

Customers look at business analytics to uncover patterns, customer behaviors, novelty in brands and products for accurate forecasting.” ASHIT PANJWANI, ED, MARKETING, SALES & ALLIANCES, SAS INSTITUTE

Most vendors opine that BA offered partners a host of opportunities in consulting, implementation and services support, besides the license revenue on the product sale. Cognos’ Tiwari reiterates that besides implementation and planning, solutions around operational risk and regulatory and compliance can supplement revenues for partners. Microsoft’s Kathuria associates partners selling CRM and BI to integrate BA into their offerings to harness the full potential of the analytics capabilities. Microsoft has in excess of 56 partners in the country selling BI and analytics tools. Despite the challenges that partners find in taking a stake around BA solutions, there are some early adopters. Partner like Amit Trivedi, Director, Mondial IT Consultants, finds business analytics accompanied by BI to be a big revenue earner. Trivedi has tagged 17 customers to his fold, spread across financial services, trading and manufacturing segments. He derives greater benefits from consulting on BA tools, besides regular implementation services. For Trivedi, the early

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BEST OF BIZ BUSINESS ANALYTICS

CASE STUDY

Cost-effective solutions

VK SUDHAKAR, CEO, D2K TECHNOLOGIES, talks about how two public sector banks were able to achieve 50% cost savings with their CRisMac solution powered by MS SQL Server 2008.

P

olicy and decision-making processes in banks are becoming more information intensive. Demand from the regulatory authorities, coupled with banks’ internal information quest, continues to be on the rise. Customer Requirement: Two of the mid-ranged public sector banks - Union Bank of India and Andhra Bank - were facing multi-dimensional challenges. The regulatory reports were many and the data inputs required for compilation were sometimes nonexistent. Management was continually struggling for the right information to take timely decisions in the form of dashboards and graphical visualization for tracking the trends. Banks needed to make decisions that could increase customers, sales and profitability, growth and new opportunities. Solution Offered: When it came to choosing a solution, both the banks opted for CRisMac powered by MS SQL Server 2008 database and .net platform from D2K Technologies. Different modules were used for recovery and known portfolio analysis and for movement of non performing assets analysis. D2K Technologies’ proprietary product CrisMac brought data analysis, reporting and data consolidation / integration benefits to the customer under one umbrella.

Key benefits obtained

The project was divided into phases. The first phase was completed within 12 months. In case of Andhra Bank, all the phases of the project were concluded in flat 14 months. D2K charged implementation fee (bundled with consulting services) and Annual Maintenance Charges (AMC) from the second year after implementation was over (First year being the free warranty period). D2K, in its solution package, implemented a centrally managed intelligent user interface, enabling the grass-root level user to capture all the unstructured data elements at the source. The new solution brought in near real-time decision support system and ensured the presentation of data in its most informative structure.

adopters on the BA have been BFSI, telecom, IT and manufacturing segments. Microsoft’s Kathuria is optimistic about the changing scenario, as smaller and niche partners are able to drive analytical tools effectively meeting integration needs of each vertical. Another start-up - Bangalore based Channel Company Loyalty Square, which is focused on niche offerings, is exploring opportunities around BA.

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Loyalty’s MD, Nitin Godawat, has successfully added four customers on the BA front. “Using the tools, I take up projects related to customer profiling, rule based strategies, scorecard development, text mining, web crawling and setting up campaign management, besides developing MIS platform,” avers Godawat. Partner like VK Sudhakar, D2K Technologies advocates that partners

need to be more practical and get the basics right and not get swayed by analytic fads. As a vendor SAP’s Sharma finds opportunity in the mid-size segment around formatted reporting product provided by the channel partners, combined with BA crystal reports.

Partner concerns While most vendors are bullish about BA being a pervasive technology that partners can cash on, there are various challenges that partners spot. Chennai based Sudarshan Veeras, CEO, Veeras Infotek, had a bitter experience with the BA experiment. “A partner must venture into BA, only if he has good analytic skills, understanding of business and industry. The cost of hiring these trained people was also something we could not afford,” admits Sudarshan. Arun Rao, CEO, Fingertips Software Syste admits that while most corporates have aligned their data, the real challenge for partners is with SMEs, where the data is highly unorganized. Rao also laments that there is no right skills and training coming from the vendors.

Capturing trends The trend that IBM’s Tiwari spots is that business analytics tools are available online, which allows one to track traffic to a specific page of a website, the sources of that traffic, and clicks of online advertisements. Offering BA on SAAS model is gaining momentum in the country. SAP’s Sharma finds many users accessing analytics functionality through SaaS model globally and it will cascade to India as well. Sharma observes that large enterprises are now deploying a combination of on-demand and on-premise applications, were BA forms a major component, with more hybrid tools coming into fold. payal.pruthi@9dot9.in


SPECIALREPORT WHITE BOX MANUFACTURERS STORY ROI White box manufacturers are leveraging technological innovations and transforming the way of doing business.

STATEOF

ASSEMBLERS BY SANDHYA MALHOTRA

UNDETERRED BY THE SHRINKING SIZE OF THE WHITE BOX DESKTOP PC, WHITE BOX MANUFACTURES HAVE CARVED A NICHE BY ABSORBING NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND SERVICES ESPITE THE FACT that the branded PC is cannibalizing the sales

of white box PCs, the white box manufacturers don’t intend to lag behind. They are leveraging technological innovations and transforming the way of doing business. Giving an account of the wallet share of the assembler market, Gartner accounted the share of assembler market at 70% in the past, which reduced to 40% now. Over the last decade, thousands of white box PC makers across the country have abandoned the business, have taken to reselling branded PCs, or moved to other forms of business.

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SPECIAL REPORT WHITE BOX MANUFACTURERS

In the small business market, if you can get the right economics for the end user, it works.” AMIT RAMBHIA, FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, VARDHAMAN TECHNOLOGIES

Chetan Shah, Managing Director, Xpress Computers Ltd, who focuses on custom build business PCs, gaming PCs, workstations, media center PCs, Pedestal & Rack servers says, “The decline in the market of system integrators can be attributed to factors like non-viable margins, high levels of competition, deeper penetration by OEMs.” The major challenge is in retaining the workforce, low profitability, and heavy overheads as well.

Never say no Hope never dies and so are the white box PC makers, who are putting up a tough stance. New product evolution with differentiating features at attractive price points is on cards. Amit Rambhia, Founder & Director, Vardhaman Technologies, sounds bullish about the positive change that the assemblers can bring about. Vardhaman has been observing a year on year growth of 30% in the last two years,

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aiming at doubling the growth in the coming year. Addressing niche space such as small form factor PCs, digital signage and thin clients turned out to be lucrative proposition for Rambhia. Raghuraman P, Director Transaction Business, AMD India sounds optimistic when he says, “There would be lot of opportunity for desktops in tier II and III cities in the next two to three years for partners.”

New methods System builders are clued into market realities as they decide to venture beyond mundane products. They plan to bring changes in the business strategies and re-align their business. For instance, Vardhaman, which targeted SMB-focused resellers, is now chalking out a strategy to address varied customer services along with products. While sharing the new business strategies, Rambhia explains, “We are

There would be a lot of opportunity for desktops in tier II and III cities in the next two to three years for partners.” RAGHURAMAN P, DIRECTOR TRANSACTION BUSINESS, AMD INDIA

opening up to the entire reseller market and follow the traditional distribution model to drive our solutions.” “We know that in the small business market, which is where personal computers and thin clients are targeted, if you can get the right economics for the end user, it works,” reiterates Rambhia. The assembler added new line such as disaster recovery and point of sale solutions to the portfolio.

New line of defense Assemblers have started positioning the product across all verticals unlike in the past when it was sold to a specific segment. Limesh Parekh, CEO, Enjay Network Solution says, “We cater to all the verticals in the market. Our product range provides solutions to SOHO clients to large government enterprises to multinational IT firms. Our solutions are available for everyone.” Parekh opines that managed services, green IT, cloud computing are


WHITE BOX MANUFACTURERS SPECIAL REPORT

emerging trends and the future competencies will be developed around these. Enjay finds major chunk of the business coming from manufacturing, hospitality, ITeS and BFSI. With the demand for services rising, Parekh is building skills to address all service issues which will give impetus to the product growth. Xpress’s Shah admits, “To remain focused in the business, we are dynamic, direct to customer, able to respond to new challenges very fast, able to offer comprehensive IT solutions and not just box products. The new opportunity areas for us are remote infrastructure management, scaling out to SMEs, IT services, and solution sales.” Raghuraman bets on the growing SMB space where the demand for entry level PCs and gaming PCs is on the rise.

Innovation & R&D must Systems builders are taking the innovations route that is leading the way to the big league.

Rambhia claims, “We embraced the technology much before anybody else even could think about it in the Indian market. We launched small form factor much before the brands plunged at it. We introduced All -In -One solutions way before the launch of the brands.” Other innovations that Vardhman is planning are to launch tablet PC at an affordable cost. He further added, “Our R & D team and investment gives the company an innovation edge. Vardhman invests about 2% of the total sales revenues on R&D and plans to open a center in Taiwan soon.

Vendors in the loop Vendors including Intel, AMD, Nvidia and Via are putting their best foot forward in aligning with right ODMs who help partners create a niche product line. Partners are given access to early samples, and expert support.

“Intel works with more than 1000 Genuine Intel Dealers (GID). We support our system builders with new technologies, technical training, tool kits and building blocks,” says Rajesh Gupta, Director, Sales and Marketing, Intel India. Raghuraman informs, “We offer periodic training, both sales & technical to our channel partners, which covers everything from product positioning vis-à-vis customer usage, how to get the best performance out of your PC etc. From a support perspective, Raghuraman reiterates that AMD has introduced its advanced warranty replacement programme in Q4 2010, which has made life much easier for the partners. Today, AMD processors and graphic cards are being sold by more than 4000 white box partners across the country. sandhya.malhotra@9dot9

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55mln

TRIED -N-

TESTED

units of media tablets (such as the Apple iPad) are forecast to be available in 2011, according to a report by Gartner.

The Prescription BY HARMANPREET SINGH | PHOTO IMAGING ANOOP VERMA

The latest breed of handheld devices – tablets, have been glamourised by the iPad, and now everyone seems to want one. We give you the right prescription.

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A

LTHOUGH THE TREND

caught up recently, tablets have been here for quite a while. The concept of ‘pen computing’ started way back in 1980s, but slowly fizzled out due to lack of consumers. Then in the early 2000s, laptops were given a resistive touchscreen, that would swivel and close back, and roughly resemble today’s tablet. But they never really compelled people to leave the keyboard and mouse combination.

For more UPDATES, Log on http://digitchannelconnect. com/resources/product_update


Thecus unveils new storage products

Dell launches Inspiron M101z laptop

Thecus has recently released 2 new storage products. They have a built in PCI-e expansion slot, which is compatible with high-speed 10Gb Ethernet adaptors.

Dell has announced the Inspiron M101z laptop, which is the ideal on-the-go, easy-to-use laptop PC for today’s mobile population. The new laptop can fit easily in a handbag or backpack.

The last few years have seen a large increase in wireless speeds, leading to the usual increase in our appetite for high quality media. The iPad arrived at a time when people wanted to consume videos in HD, games in 3D and web in all its glory – something the smartphone couldn’t afford to do, due to limitations of screen estate and disk space. A flurry of manufacturers followed the iPad to get a piece of the tablet pie. And so, it was imperative for us to intervene, and separate the wheat from the chaff for you.

The onscreen keyboard is little better than the stock Android keyboard, but presence of Swype in Android 2.2 helps. Multi-touch and a good looking screen made it easy to love surfing on the device. Flash-heavy websites take their toll on the device; but it handled ‘almost’ every site we threw at it. The usual Google apps are accompanied by a few bundled apps by Samsung. Task Manager is the most useful of the lot, a feature that the Android OS still lacks. Reader’s Hub is a one stop solution for reading newspapers, magazines or books. The bundled office suite is very basic, but seems enough to do minor editing on the go. Android 2.2’s stock email application is good, with multiple inboxes and easy configuration for common mail servers. The GPS navigation software is bundled by Google and works only in online mode, as it uses Google Maps service for maps. The lack of voiceguided, offline navigation might force you switch to a paid alternative, something people shouldn’t need to do after spending Rs. 38,000 on a tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Samsung Galaxy Tab is one of the contenders for being the best Android tablet out there. Credit goes to Samsung, for keeping it light in weight and unnecessary customisations. So does it stand out among a galaxy of Android tablets? The moment we laid our eager hands on this tablet, we left smudges on its glossy back and screen. A bad start, but the tablet has a near perfect build besides this. It is light yet solid, thanks to the high-grade plastic build. You can comfortably hold the tablet for quite a while, though we would have liked it to be a few millimetres thinner. The screen is protected by the scratchresistant Gorilla glass and has just enough bezel for a comfortable grip. The first impression when switching it on was that the Android OS is much more stable on Galaxy Tab, than it was on little brother Galaxy S. The hardware seems well juiced and the device showed no lag whatsoever in UI or applications. The screen (TFT, not S-AMOLED) is decent, with good brightness levels.

Watch out for the launch of the impressive Blackberry Playbook and the verypromising Adam from the Indian company Notion Ink.

Asus refreshes its Eee PC portfolio

Asus has announced the launch of the Asus 1015PEM & 1215T Eee PC’s. They have features like 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity. Both models ship in with a 320GB hard drive.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Watching videos (upto 1080p) on the device is a pleasure, but the smudges are a pain, especially in bright sunlight, where the screen itself does a good job. The loudspeakers and bundled headphones churn out good sound, but no cable has been bundled for TV-out. We often say, the magic of these new OSes lies in the app markets and the awesome apps they bring. Galaxy Tab has ‘Samsung Apps’ in addition to Android Market. At the time of writing, only one app was available in Samsung Apps: ‘Need for Speed: Shift’. The market apps were all compatible with the Galaxy, even if they get a little pixelated while stretching to fit the 7 inch screen. Few compatible ones that we found by appending ‘HD’ to the search string looked good. The tablet also has a 3.15 MP back camera and a VGA front camera. The video and photo quality is good for just casual clicking or video calling. The captured photos can be shared on Twitter, Facebook or Picassa directly

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TRIED -N- TESTED TABLETS

through the Android gallery. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube equally effortlessly. The battery life of the tablet is decent, unless you are a heavy gamer, in which case the device also gets a little warm. Also, if you are one to use your USB port to charge your gadgetry, you might as well stay away as the Galaxy Tab refuses to suck any sort of power fed through USB port, charging about 10% in the three hours we plugged it in. On a whole, the tablet is impressive, but could repel potential buyers with its hefty price tag.

Dell Streak

Dell Streak

38

The Dell Streak is a hybrid and, with its 5-inch screen, falls in the space between the current smartphones and tablets. If you don’t think that the Streak is too large to be a phone, or too small to be a tablet, here is the rest of the story. When we unboxed the Streak, we fell for the device without even having powered it on: The piano black front makes the screen look monolithic. The curves of the edges are not just pleasing to the eye, but also make holding this device easier. This hybrid indeed has very good handling owing to its slim profile and a beautiful matte finish on the back. The build of the device is very nearly perfect – metallic, yet light at 220 grams. Perhaps the only fault is a not-so-well-fitting back cover. Also, removing it switches the tablet off. The colours on Streak are perhaps not as bright as on Galaxy Tab, but the detail is excellent, with great viewing angles. For a capacitive screen, Dell Streak has a poor touch. Also, the screen recognises only two touches, as opposed to five that the Galaxy Tab recognised. Dell Streak was criticized at launch because it forced the user to operate the device in only landscape mode. But thankfully, the Android 2.2 upgrade allows the device to operate in both landscape and portrait mode. The OS on the Streak comes with Dell’s Stage UI, which follows the ‘cards’ concept like the new Palm 2.0 OS and the Blackberry 6 OS, with the introduction of ‘Stage widgets’. Each ‘Stage’ will hold information about one specific function of the device. Eg. Music, social and contacts. Running a finger along the bottom of the screen leads to a quick scroll between the various Stage widgets. Very handy. The OS doesn’t seem fully cooked on the device yet. Dell have added superficial customisation, they haven’t added something really useful, like the Task Manager on Galaxy Tab. E-mail, Gallery and Android Market provide the usual experience on Streak. The device relies solely on the Gallery

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Samsung Galaxy Tab is the pick of the tablets, outracing the older iPad with its powerful hardware and a nearlyflawless FroYo. app to play videos, which is probably the reason for very poor native video playback support. It played up MP4 files (up to 720p). The stock Android music player does a decent job. The bundled earphones are very light and comfortable, and come with three different sizes of ear plugs. The sound is balanced, though it is not very lively or loud. You have to rely on Google’s bundled internet-powered ‘Navigation’ app. ‘Zinio Reader’ provides magazines and QuickOffice can be used for basic editing of documents on the go. The battery life of the device is decent, more because it has to power a smaller screen as compared to the other tablets. However, be careful if the earthing at your place is poor, because as we charged this phone through our laptop, the touchscreen went berserk. Highly undesired. So, is the beauty of the Dell Streak skin deep? Not with the latest Android. The biggest let down is the touchscreen of the device. However, the Streak might attract many buyers simply because of its looks and form factor. After all, it is the only tablet in our test that might actually fit in your pocket. But then again, is it a tablet? Wouldn’t a tablet buyer go for the ‘intended’ larger screen? We leave it to you to answer these questions.

Apple iPad If you have ever had a serious thought about buying a tablet, you probably already know all about the iPad. But has the tablet that started this mad-rush still got it enough to fend off smaller, faster challengers? We laid our hands


TABLETS TRIED -N- TESTED

on the iPad after we had thoroughly gone through the Galaxy Tab, Dell streak etc. We couldn’t help but compare, compare, compare. They don’t build them as fine as the unibody construction of the iPad, which has an all aluminium back and a 10-inch screen covering the entire front. The iPad is solidly built; too solidly maybe. The aluminium that provides this device a majestic touch also makes it heavy. With newer hardware and more RAM, and the new pace injected in Android 2.2, Galaxy Tab clearly outperforms the iPad. By no means is iOS sluggish, but team Android has cut down loading times to negligible.The lack of camera and video calling might also put off some of the buyers. But we have to admit that the experience of using a 10-inch tablet is completely different. Yes, you might be robbed of little pleasures like holding the tablet and reading a long book without developing joint problems (ok, a little exaggerated, but it’s not easy holding the iPad). But, the screen estate helps many aspects, typing not the least. The large screen and a very well laid-out multi-touch keyboard make typing on the iPad much more pleasing. Even the copy/ paste of iOS is much more usable than on Android. And we love the little magnifier that helps in positioning the cursor while editing text, something we have to do with a blind eye on Android. Another factor that works for the iPad is the excellent apps from Apple’s ‘App Store’. Apple’s is a closed system, where every app is scrutinised in a way that not everyone appreciates. But you cannot hide the fact that almost every ‘App Store’ app is more functional and

The Dell Streak might attract many buyers simply because of its looks and form factor.

refined than its counterpart on Android or other platforms. And you are way less likely to encounter problems due to compatibility issues. The iPod based music app is one of the best in the category. The iPad now has our favorite VLC Player ported to it, playing almost all formats. But the open-source Android still has some pluses over the closed iOS. Android’s notification bar is the envy of many Apple users. And not everyone can put up with the nonsense of having to use iTunes to transfer everything to the device. Overall, we recommend Android to the slightly adventurous people, and iOS to those who like stability. Weight and size are major issues with the iPad. Consider this: Even Apple fanboys are eagerly waiting for the expected 7-inch iPad. Since Apple don’t officially sell it in India, the price at which you land one could vary greatly. We got it directly from the US for about 34,000 bucks, but you might have to shell out as much as 50,000 to pick up one from the grey market. We strongly recommend against the device if you are at the wrong end of the pricing: It is not worth anything above 40,000.

Apple iPad

Viewsonic ViewPad 7 ViewPad 7 is build solidly, but is a little on the heavier and thicker side. The back is good quality plastic with a glossy finish that loves capturing fingerprints. Although we didn’t receive the OlivePad for testing, we were surprised to see that the ViewPad and OlivePad seem to be the same devices. The low-DPI screen has poor viewing angles, especially under bright sunlight. The touchscreen of the device is a disappointment too. Besides not being very responsive, it has issues with the multi-touch. All four Android buttons made it to the tablet, the lights under the buttons are not linked to screen and go off in about four seconds. This really annoyed us, especially while thumbing the tablet at night. The tablet has a very slow processor at 600MHz, and it is apparent while using the tablet. Also, we were dumbstruck when we tried opening a Flash site. This tablet does not support Flash, even though it runs Android 2.2! In fact, we did doubt if it could handle Flash. The onscreen keyboard has, however, been changed by Viewsonic, and works better than the stock Android one. The document editor ‘Documents To Go’ is one of the better bundled office suites we saw in our tablet test. The thing that miffed us the most was the lack of internal storage on the

Viewsonic ViewPad 7

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TRIED -N- TESTED TABLETS

BRAND

SAMSUNG

DELL

APPLE

VIEWSONIC

SMC

INFIBEAM

INFIBEAM

Windows Phi LeAF 10 inch Tabloid

Model

Galaxy Tab

Streak

iPad

Viewpad

EZ StylePad

Android Phi

Price (MRP, `)

38,000

34,990

above 35,000

32,000

15,990

14,999

Features (Out of 50) Performance (Out of 50) Overall (Out of 100) PHYSICAL SPECS

16,990, 18990 (3G)

36.45

35.28

33.05

33.68

24.23

22.03

18.98

29.38

34.94

32.11

20.86

28.48

16.31

15.91

27.91

19.76

71.39

67.39

61.53

61.59

45.09

38.34

34.89

49.14

190 x 120 x 12mm

153 x 79 x 10mm

179 x 110 x 11.5mm

193 x 115 x 13.4mm

190 x 118 x 14.8mm

185 x 126 x 16mm

242 x 190 x 14mm

Weight

380 g

220 g

Battery Rating Expandable Memory

4000 mAh microSD

1530 mAh microSD

242 x 189 x 13mm 680 g, 730 g (3G) 6500 mAh -

Android 2.2

Dimensions (L x W x H)

14,999

LEAF

375 g

330 g

332 g

396 g

750 g

3240 mAh microSD

1300 mAh SD

1800 mAh -

1800 mAh microSD

5000 mAh microSD

iOS 4.2

Android 2.2

Android 2.1

Android 1.5

Windows CE

Android 2.1

Snapdragon 1 GHz

1GHz Apple A4 CPU

Qualcomm MSM 7227 600MHz

ARM 11 720MHz processor

ARM9 600MHz

TCC 800 MHz

ARM 11 720MHz processor

512MB/512MB

2GB/256MB

8GB/256MB

8GB/256MB

2GB/128MB

TFT LCD

TFT LCD

TFT LCD

TFT LCD

TFT LCD

Y (2 fingers)

N

N

N

N

SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS Operating System Processor/GPU

Android 2.2 ARM Cortex A8 1 GHz processor; PowerVR SGX540 graphics

Internal Storage/RAM

32GB/512MB

16GB/512MB

Screen Resolution

TFT/7.0/1024x600

TFT LCD

Multitouch

Y (5 fingers)

Y(2 fingers)

16GB, 32GB, 64GB/256MB LED-backlit IPS Display Yes (11 fingers)

Y/N

Y/N

Y/N

Y/N

Y/Y

N/Y

N/Y

N /Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

Y

Y (A-GPS)

Y (A-GPS)

Y (A-GPS in 3G version)

Y(A-GPS)

Y

Y

Y/Y/Y/v3.0/Y

Y/Y/Y/v2.0/Y

Y/Y/Y/2.1/Y

Y/Y/Y/2.1/Y

Y/N/Y

Y/Y/Y

Y/Y/Y

Y/Y/Y/2.0/Y

Y / Y (7.2 Mbps)

/ Y (2.1 Y / Y (7.2Mbps) Y Mbps)

Y / Y (7.2 Mbps) N / N

N/N

N/N

Y / Y (2 Mbps)

3.15 MP / 480p

5 MP / 720p

-

3 MP / 480p

-

-

-

-

Y/Y/Y

Y/Y/Y

-

Y/N/Y

-

-

-

-

1080p HD

720p HD

720p

480p

1080p

720p

1080p

1080p

7.5 8 6 7 7.5 6 7.5

7 7 6 7.5 6 6.5 7.5

8 6.5 7 6 9 7 6.5

7 6 6 6 8 6 5

5 5 3.5 3 3 5.5 8

5 3 3.5 3.5 3 5.5 5

5 4 3.5 4.5 3.5 3 6

5 3 3 3 5.5 8

7

6

-

5.5

-

-

-

2

7.5

5

-

4.5

9

-

-

3

6.5

4.5

OTHER FEATURES Charging via USB (Y/N)/USB On-the-go Accelerometer (For auto rotate) Inbuilt GPS (A-GPS) support WiFi/Bluetooth/USB/ Bluetooth Ver./A2DP 2G/3G (Max. speed)

Y(A-GPS)

CAMERA SPECS Camera Resolution (Photos/Videos) Auto Focus / Flash/ Front-camera Max. video playback resolution

PERFORMANCE SCORES (SO 10) Overall Build Quality OS performance Battery Performance Overall Ergonomics On-screen Keyboard Social Networking Video Playback Quality Bundled Headphone Quality Loudspeaker Audio Quality Overall Camera Performance Display Quality

6.5

6.8

USB data transfer speed Productivity and Application Performance

4.69 MB/s

5.32 MB/s

6.5

6.2 7

Quality of market apps 8

Contact

40

Samsung India www.samsung. com/in rengith.n@ samsung.com 1244881-234

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Dell India www.dell. co.in 1800425-4050

3.13 6.7

4.3

3.7

3.3

3.3

4.2

2.78 MB/s

5.38 MB/s

5.33 MB/s

7.11 MB/s

5.31 MB/s

6

6.33

4.3

3.1

2

4

9

7

4

2

-

3

ViewSonic Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. +91-1142603195-97

SMC Networks www.smc-asia. com sales@smc-india. com 022-67419133

Infibeam.com customerservice@infibeam. com +91-79-4026 0260

Vestal Enterprises Pvt Ltd. www.leaf-reader.com info@leaf-reader.com 044-24342833


TABLETS TRIED -N- TESTED

device, coupled with the oversight of the company to not even bundle a memory card. Personally, we wouldn’t shell out Rs.32,000 for this tablet.

SMC StylePad and Infibeam Android Phi SMC’s EZ StylePad and Infibeam’s Android-based Phi are brothers from another mother. Both are based on Android, but are not in the same bracket as rich-boys’-toys Dell Streak and Samsung Galaxy Tab. You have to compromise with poor build quality on the outside, and buggy hardware on the inside.

Windows Phi Many of the problems that plague the Android Phi are also present in the very similar Windows Phi, running Windows CE 6.0: The screen and touch are bad. So are battery life and build. But there are some things that work for this version of Phi. The glossy back on the Android version has been replaced with a rougher brushed metal finish, making handling easier. Although the touchscreen is bad, it works here because Windows CE is much more suited for resistive touch than Android. Video playback (up to 1080p) is nearly flawless. But what impressed us most about the Phi was the Office suite bundled with the device, which provides nearly all features that an office suite on PC does. We found it more feature-laden than any other office suite we tried on the other tablets (bundled or paid!). So, if you can master typing with a stylus, you have

The iPad arrived at a time when people wanted to consume videos in HD, games in 3D and web in all its glory – something the smartphone couldn’t afford to do.

a perfect office companion in this device. Windows CE is generally poor and unstable on the device. It had more than its fair share of lags and hang-ups. All in all, we would rate the tablet almost on par with SMC StylePad. The video playback is similar, and the lack of a proper application market in Windows CE is covered by an excellent office suite. We highly recommend this tablet if you think you need an office on the go.

Leaf 10-inch Tabloid Leaf 10 inch Tabloid is the largest tablet we have in our ‘economy class’ of tablets. The tablet is very similar to SMC StylePad, with the same hardware inside. But although the StylePad performed reasonably, using the Leaf Tabloid is a pain. This is expected when a similar hardware powers a much larger screen and renders many more pixels. The build quality is better than all other tablets in the same price category. The screen of the tablet looks decent, but has poor viewing angles. We think the touch-screen of this device should actually be called a press-screen. Perfect for ladies with long nails, because nails are the only way to get it to work. Like the StylePad, this 10-inch tablet is exceptional at playing videos and music. Any format at 1080p! And on this huge screen, it beats any of our tablets for its video playback abilities. Although the device runs Android 2.1, you would never be able to take full advantage of the operating system due to the poor hardware and very poor application compatability. The device is like a big PMP that runs a few apps. The so-called 3G version of the Tabloid has a WCDMA based external dongle to be attached to the USB OTG port.

Our Verdict With an overall score of 71.39, Samsung Galaxy Tab is the pick of the tablets, outracing the older iPad with its powerful hardware and a nearly-flawless FroYo. If you have a tighter budget, the SMC StylePad is probably halfway between the wheat and the chaff with a score of 45.09. As the scores suggest, the tablets have still got a little way to go before they even come close being a replacement for laptops. Out of the 9 tablets we tested, we found that the good tablets are very expensive, and the cheaper ones are nowhere close to being a replacement for your laptop. So if you want an iPad, you might have to wait till you can buy a decent tablet that is cost effective. Watch out for the launch of the Blackberry Playbook and the very promising Adam from the Indian company Notion Ink. Be patient, and these newer ones might be worth the wait.

Windows Phi

Courtesy: Digit, www.thinkdigit.com

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TECHNOTOUCH

NETBOOKS

STORY ROI Partners are leveraging the technology that the netbooks bring in luring all segments of the markets.

Big NETBOOKS

REVENUE

SOURCE

Against the market rife about netbooks being called the end of life products, the reality is that they are a big source of revenue for partners. BY PAYAL PRUTHI | IMAGING CHARU DWIVEDI

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LANNING TO BUY a small computing device in 2011? Chances are that many would suggest a tablet over a netbook. A recent comment by an Acer spokesperson on the company’s three new upcoming tablets, aimed at phasing out netbooks, has only further fuelled the discussion that netbooks are passé’. However, partners share a different story and have been vouching on netbooks to be the next big volume driver. The testimony to the effect is that Mumbai-based Mahinder Aggarwal, Director of Broadway Computers, stocks brands like Dell, Asus, Wipro and Acer, and easily sells 70-100 units per month. Mumbai-based Vinod Mulchandani, Director of Aarvee Computers, was selling nearly 50-60 Sony netbooks a month until the vendor globally withdrew the product category. Mulchandani moved to selling Dell netbooks with equal numbers, making a margin of 7%. While vendors are doing their bit in pushing the netbooks, partners are leveraging the technology that the netbooks bring in luring all segments of the markets.

High In Demand Netbooks saw a linear growth in the country, with IDC reporting a market size of Rs. 1.82 lakhs in units during CY’2009. The report stated that in Q1

For more UPDATES, Log on http://digitchannelconnect.com/ resources/category/28/readmore/news


TECHNO TOUCH NETBOOKS

ACER

23%

HP

21%

INFOGRAPHICS: CHARU DWIVEDI

SAMSUNG

16 TOP

TopTop Top Top Top Top % Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top Top

PLAYERS

Source : Gartner India, Q3, 2010 report

of 2010, the sale of netbooks accounted for nearly 97,000 units. However, the industry players estimate the netbook market to be in the size of Rs. 840 crores, with the sale of around 4 lakh units. Mahesh Bhalla, GM, Consumer and SMB, Dell India maintains, “In a country like India, where the PC penetration is low compared to other markets, netbooks have become the entry points for many new consumers.” According to S Rajendran, Chief Marketing Officer, Acer India, netbooks in India account for about 20% of overall notebook sales and the number is expected to grow by 50% in Q1 of 2011. Alex Huang, Country ManagerSystems Business, Asus India, confirms that about one-fifth of all the PC shipments sold, account for netbooks. Huang expects the growth to come from the upcountry markets in the future for netbooks. Alex Li, Vice President-HSB (Home & SMB), Lenovo India, notes that the netbook features will influence the buying decision of the consumers in the country.

Specs Capture Attention It is needless to say that portability and

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ease of use is making netbooks so hot. Ashish Gupta, Category Head - Mobility, NPD and Alliances, PSG, HP India says, “Optimum performance, light-weight and an enhanced battery life has further fuelled the growth of netbooks. Good connectivity options like integrated wi-fi module with Bluetooth and 3G are an added advantage.” Lenovo’s Li agreed that netbooks are not intended to replace notebooks, but are meant for those who needed basic computing capabilities. Asus’s Huang believes that increasing competition will result in reduction in prices for netbooks which will further fuel the growth. Vishal Tripathi, Principal Analyst, Gartner India, sees the uptake in netbooks for its small form factor and price point. George Paul, Executive Vice President, HCL Infosystems, finds the increased adoption in the education segment and by the field staff of various organisations. According to Rajendran, netbooks have created a niche segment of casual computer users — net surfers and executives looking for lighter, no-frills PC for use during travel and business meetings.

“Companies witness home segments as the largest contributor in the netbooks category,” says Rajendran.

Technological Leverage The netbook space in the Indian market is dotted with newer trends and technologies. The most sought after has been on the light weight with aesthetics. Take for instance HP Mini210, which is not just light weight and measures less than 1 inch, but comes with a battery life of more than 9 hours. Also, the trendy color choice adds to the style quotient with portability. The latest IdeaPad S10 series from Lenovo includes the S10-3t, the industry’s first multi-touch capacitive convertible netbook tablet and the S10-3s ‘Wind’ and S10-3s ‘Moon’ series, which are ultra chic with awe-inspiring looks. Asus too recently launched the 12”1215T based

“THE NETBOOK FEATURES WILL INFLUENCE THE BUYING DECISION OF THE CONSUMERS IN THE COUNTRY.” ALEX LI, VICE PRESIDENT-HSB (HOME & SMB), LENOVO INDIA


NETBOOKS TECHNO TOUCH

“INCREASING COMPETITION WILL RESULT IN REDUCTION IN PRICES FOR NETBOOKS, WHICH WILL FURTHER FUEL THE GROWTH.” ALEX HUANG, COUNTRY MANAGER-SYSTEMS BUSINESS, ASUS INDIA

on the AMD platform, which sports the ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics processor for clear and crisp visuals. Partners like Amit Saraf of Wian Solutions are putting extra effort to educate partners on the technology and features of netbooks making it easier to sell. However, Saraf opines, “If the vendors bring down the price of netbooks to around Rs. 10,000, the netbook market is bound to explode. Then, chances are that it may be looked as a white good gadget substituting the mobile phones, MP3, MP4 players and DVD players.” “Companies have been revamping their products with sleeker designs, longer battery life and a plethora of OS offerings, e.g., Windows 7 Starter to suit the requirements of the customers ranging from students to business travelers,” says Rajendran. Acer led the market with its launch of 3G embedded netbooks in India, designed with an inbuilt CDMA/HSPA broadband plus modem facility.

Dell’s Bhalla too believes that with 3G, customers will see greater benefits from netbooks and increased internet accessibility.

Where Is The Money With vendor opting for an indirect model of selling, it is an opportune time for partners. Mulchandani finds good traction for the products in the SMB and corporate who are buying for the first time users in the company. He has witnessed a rise in the number of repeat buyers from the home segment. “Lot of housewives prefer netbooks and we have often had members from the family as customers keen on buying a netbook for gifting purposes,” he adds. Asus’s national distributor for netbooks - Rashi Peripherals - sells 10,000 units in a quarter, which is expected to grow in this year. According to Kumarpal Jain of Devraj Computers, netbooks hit the market during the lean economic period as a low cost cousin to notebooks, which

made it a preferred buy for various segments. “We make good margins not only by selling netbooks but also addon accessories like DVD writers, netbook covers and wireless mouse. The wide variety of colours and the option to choose from multiple vendors has made it a profitable business for us,” says Jain. However, Rajesh Goenka, VP (Sales & Marketing), Rashi Peripherals, believes that the netbooks in the country still have to witness a high growth. “The netbook market is growing at a pace of 20-30%, which is lower compared to notebooks. But since the PC penetration level in India has still not reached a maturity level, the market for netbooks will remain good for a few more years,” says Goenka.

To A Bright Future Netbooks today are considered the preferred mobile computing devices, owing to their ease of use, durability and anywhere, anytime usage option. Rajendran sounds optimistic when he says netbooks may emerge as an opted devise for the year, as they would cost anything upwards Rs. 12,000. Alex Li remarks that although the tablet PC is making inroads, consumers are not yet too comfortable with touch-based devices. “Indians prefer traditional methods like the keyboard, which again works in favor of netbooks that are comparatively more familiar than a tablet,” says Li. With all these factors at play, netbooks as a category will continue to flourish, and both patners and consumers will have a lineup to choose from. payal.pruthi@9dot9.in


FOCUS RETAIL

3-5 yrs

The time in which LFRs, small retailers & IT channel partners can co-exist easily in the IT market.

“Vendors prefer both multi & mono-brand stores.” -

Khalid Wani, Sales Dir., Branded Products-India, M.E.A, WD India

Quick Take

Retail Fact:

The Indian retail industry has been incurring a healthy two-digit growth rate for the last few years and it currently contributes a sizeable amount to the Indian economy. The CDIT market (including mobile phones) is growing at over 20% and incurring approximately INR 100,000 crore as per the industry data.

The transition to mono-brand retail is an important evolution in the roadmap, and can take place naturally as the brand diversifies its portfolio of offerings. KHALID WANI, SALES DIRECTOR, BRANDED PRODUCTS - INDIA, MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA, WESTERN DIGITAL INDIA

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MULTI AND SINGLE MAKES SENSE

While both mono and multi brand IT retail outlets may have their pros and cons, partners and vendors feel there is enough space for both formats to co-exist in the market BY SANDHYA MALHOTRA

WITH BOTH THE mono-brand and multibrand model co-existing in the IT retail industry, there’s a debate among retailers as to which model is more profitable. If a retailer wants to receive good profits and growth from his stores, a mix of multibrand and exclusive stores is the right choice and gives an advantage to customers to have a wide variety of options to choose from and compare features and prices of the products.

Making a Choice The past decade has been a defining period in the retail industry. There has been a great shift in the shopping arena with the introduction of large retail chains. Consumers who were exposed to these modern retail formats for the first time accepted it with a lot of enthusiasm. In addition, the advent of technology bought a pioneering transition in the organised retail structure.

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RETAIL FOCUS

CONSUMERS WILL WANT TO CHOOSE FROM A LARGE RANGE OF BRANDS AND PRODUCTS – A FACILITY NOT TOO MANY SINGLE BRANDS AND MOM AND POP STORES CAN OFFER.

AJIT JOSHI CEO & MD, INFINITI RETAIL LTD

However, the concept of mono-brand retail is quite different. Branded outlets have an edge as direct channels that convey consumers’ feedback to the company. They can simultaneously serve as centers for warranty, repair, and replacement services, setting up which can otherwise be a costly proposition. In a nutshell, a branded outlet effectively acts as a nexus between the brand and its ‘audience.’ Ajit Joshi, CEO & MD, Infiniti Retail Ltd says, “Shoppers’ expectations are higher from large format retail outlets in terms of the range of brands and products displayed and the ease with which the retailers can help the consumer make the transition to better technology. This implies that consumers will want to choose from a large range of brands and products – a facility not too many single brands and mom and pop stores can offer.” Mohit Anand, Managing Director, India Sub continent, Belkin India feels

that setting up of a multi-brand store involves more research and market study. “One has to go through a complete study of various things, like finalizing the category of the products to be offered, finding out the different brands competing in the category, getting in touch with the concerned team of the company and many such other points have to be dealt before entering the multi-brand market,” says Anand. Alex Huang, Country Manager for System Business, Asus India says, “For a dealer in a major tier I city, opting for multi brand retail format will bring in more traffic and footfalls, since consumers would want to check out all available options for meeting their IT needs.” He, however, adds that the limitation in such a scenario could be the inability of the dealer to secure the desired amount of returns from all brands. “Mono brands have more strategic importance for brands in

terms of increasing brand visibility, which automatically translates into more returns and profits for dealers in the long run in the form of assured support for marketing and sales activities by the brand,” he adds. According to Coimbatore–based Karthikeyan S, Managing Director, Bloom Electronics Pvt Ltd, who also runs a Dell exclusive retail store, “The success of multi and mono brands depends on the geographies and location. In a place like Coimbatore, the trend of LFR’s has not started yet.” He believes that the mono brand retailers have immense IT knowledge and a 360 degree understanding of the IT business, which gives them a lucrative proposition when compared to LFRs. “The IT channel partners have more in depth customer engagement, giving them a wholesome buying experience by way of counseling the consumers,” says Karthikeyan.

Business-wise A multi-brand outlet means more footfalls. However, it is an expensive proposition for even some leading brands to setup the right ambience to showcase their products – a problem that compels most brands to opt for a multi-brand setup. Khalid Wani, Sales Director, Branded Products - India, Middle East & Africa, Western Digital India believes, “Multi-brand outlets are growing much faster, since they represent the first retail option for most new brands that are entering the Indian market. Nevertheless, most vendors would prefer to have a mix of multi-brand and mono-brand stores. The transition to mono-brand retail is an important evolution in the


RETAIL FOCUS

IF A RETAILER WANTS TO RECEIVE GOOD PROFITS AND GROWTH FROM HIS STORES, A MIX OF MULTI-BRAND AND EXCLUSIVE STORES COULD BE THE RIGHT OPTION. MOHIT ANAND MANAGING DIRECTOR INDIA SUB CONTINENT, BELKIN INDIA

roadmap, and can take place naturally as the brand diversifies its portfolio of offerings.” Anand adds, “It’s hard to say which retail concept is more profitable. Both retail concepts have their own advantages and disadvantages. At one point of time, a partner may benefit from multibrand outlets; at another, he will benefit from an exclusive store. If a retailer wants to receive good profits and growth from his stores, a mix of multi-brand and exclusive stores could be the right option.” S Rajendran, Chief Marketing Officer, Acer India says, “Both formats have their business dynamics; a smart retailer can make profits in both the formats. However, in the upcoming markets, the penetration of multi brand stores is still low and we are focusing on both tier I markets and the developing tier II and tier III towns for Acer points and Acer Malls.” The concept of conducting a more profitable business lies largely on

the duration of the plan of dealers to remain in the business, i.e. for either the short term period or for a long term. “In a multi-brand format, dealers get more profit in the short run, wherein mono-brand format takes its time and generates more return. On the other hand, sales in multi-brand format of retail grow faster compared to the mono brand format. Hence, Asus is keen on its expansion plans and gearing towards gaining more awareness for our high quality product portfolio through multi-brand format of retail,” Huang pointed.

Impact of multi-brands Retailers often prefer the multi-brand option because they have more freedom to make decisions. With exclusivity, retailers often lose out on the freedom to make decisions because they have to abide by the guidelines that the vendor has set for them. A mono-brand outlet demands strong

commitment from the vendor in terms of investment and marketing. Further, the vendor has to ensure uniformity of resource allocation to all its exclusive outlets to ensure that each franchisee gets an equal opportunity to earn his fair share of profits. “There is a lot of multi-brand and mono-brand retail outlets coming up in Kerala. There is a shift in customer preference. The customer now wants to have a look and feel of the product before they buy. But very few retailers can survive because of the fact that in Kerala, the rent / lease rates is on the higher side and IT products have a lower margin attached with high rate of obsolescence,” informs Suresh Babu, Proprietor, Computer City. Another challenge mono-brand or small retailers face is the fact that the vendors are biased in their policies towards LFRs, as per Girish Rathore, Managing Director, Compex Systems. “The vendors have to be more pragmatic and more sensitive towards the mono brand retailers, with whose support, year after year, they have grown,” he says. Girish however points out that there are instances where vendors introduce specific models only for LFR outlets. “The vendors have to make sure that they pass on all the benefits, discounts backbends etc. Hence, their polices should be equal for all and all the benefits they are giving to LFRs are passed on to the small retailers as well, who have all along been loyal to them,” adds Rathore. Kanpur-based Arun Bhargava, Proprietor, Techno Serva, and Epson exclusive retail partner says, “Exclusive retail stores certainly have


FOCUS RETAIL

BOTH FORMATS HAVE THEIR BUSINESS DYNAMICS; A SMART RETAILER CAN MAKE PROFITS IN BOTH THE FORMATS. S RAJENDRAN CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, ACER INDIA

WHILE RUNNING MONO OR MULTI BRAND, IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR RETAIL PARTNERS TO CATER TO CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS BY OFFERING PROFESSIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE AND UNMATCHED STORE AMBIENCE.

SANJAY YADAV COUNTRY HEAD - RETAIL, DELL INDIA

their plus-points, but, like their multibrand counterparts, they have their share of negatives. Unlike multi-brand outlets, exclusive retailers get very little footfall and lose out on every other customer.” Anand feels that LFRs are a threat for small retailers and the channel community. “LFRs buy products in bulk from vendors or distributors at lower price than the market-operating price at times. In turn, they can sell the stock at lower prices as compared to smaller retailers. Additionally, they offer a mall-like ambience which customers are increasingly getting fond of,” says Anand.

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Challenges in running multi-brands While comparing the two types of outlets, there are many management issues involved in running a multibrand as compared to a mono-brand outlet. Good management is often behind a successful first brand. On the other hand, exclusive retailers often get territory protection from the vendors. In the multi-brand model, the retailers frequently have to face tough competition from other retailers because they might just start another multi-brand store in the same area and give better schemes and discounts.

Anand adds, “Success comes from efficient back-office processes, experienced staff, selling expertise and operating skills. However, like all good opportunities, there are risks that have prevented aspiring multibrand chain businesses from profiting. Staying focused will drive business growth, and historically, almost all multi-brand groups have developed from one core brand. That core brand will often remain the major contributor to profitability for the group. The key to success is not confusing the brands, but keeping them separate and relevant to your customers.” Joshi puts in, “The off the shelf life of any model is very small in Croma. In some cases, consumers require a model that has been phased out of modern retail outlets. Due to lack of demand there in, it is possible to get the same in a single brand exclusive store.” “While running a mono or multi brand, it is essential for retail partners to cater to customers’ needs by offering professional customer service and unmatched store ambience. Inventories will also need to be managed efficiently,” says Sanjay Yadav, Country Head - Retail, Dell India.

Way Forward Given the vast potential of the Indian IT market, all formats of retail including LFRs, small retailers and IT channel partners can co-exist easily for at least 3-5 years. In the long term scenario of about 3-5 years, when a certain level of saturation seeps in the markets in terms of players, channel partners who sell notebooks in terms of commodities, will be more threatened from LFRs, as vendors usually work out better deals with LFRs. Hence, for mono brands retailers, the threat margin will be very low, as the vendor will want the mono brand format to be successful and hence invest more time, resources and manpower in ensuring its success. sandhya.malhotra@9dot9.in


ANALYSTCONNECT

About 59% of Indian organisations believe that channel partners are helpful when buying cloud computing services/solutions.

THROUGHOUT 2010, CLOUD computing was perceived as the future of enterprise IT. Acceleration of cloud technology across the emerging Indian market was mainly the result of favorable technology climate around virtualisation, open standards and commoditized IT infrastructure. While there were a few concerns around cloud, most channel sounded optimistic about this evolution. Year 2011 will see the hype around cloud applications giving way to realistic understanding amongst the users and its relevance to the growth. The debates and confusions over the public, private and hybrid based cloud model in the past, actually help organizations understand these better in 2011, enabling them to align the cloud strategy with their IT set up. Channel will play crucial role in influencing the IT heads to distinghuish between internal versus external service deployments, and between dedicated and shared access. In the next 12 months, we expect cloud computing to be the most sought after as compared to any other related sourcing approaches, including those offered by more traditional outsourcing vendors and hosted service providers. As per Springboard Research, Indian organisations are currently far more receptive to cloud-related marketing messages than others in APEJ region. The recent study revealed that only 19 percent of enterprises in India view cloud as “over-hyped.� In terms of overall spending, Software-as-a-service (SaaS) dominates the public cloud market in Asia Pacific. Indian organisations prefer SaaS offerings, storage and enterprise applications (BI, CRM, ERP,

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ILLUSTRATION: SRISTI MAURYA

Springboard: 2011 to see more realistic applications around cloud computing

etc.) in the cloud space.Springboard Research expects this adoption to evolve significantly over the next 12 to 18 month. Besides, cloud-based web conferencing and email will see the rise. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings from both cloud providers as well as more traditional telco providers will grow rapidly. Cloud computing will provide flexibility to application development and testing environments, being more cost effective. Partners including, system integrators (SIs), value-added resellers (VARs) and value-added distributors (VADs) will adopt to the cloud model. The razor-thin margins on product trading is driving the channel to move to cloud. Adding to the misery, the traditional large deals that the channel could bet on, is diminishing as vendors are going direct. In 2011, the regional SIs, VARs and distributors will be forced to adapt to a verticalized business approach to deliver value. While partners were asked to invest into building skills around high

growth solutions, the year 2011 will see them making efforts to strengthen customer relations and provide value. Channel will be seen making small efforts in enbaling their customers adopt to Saas and cloud based model. The recent survey revealed that Indian organisations place the highest value on cloud-related channel partners in the region, well above the regional average. About 59% of Indian organisations believe that channel partners are helpful when buying cloud computing services/solutions. This trend is likely to accelerate in 2011 too as a cloud channel will evolve into a SaaS provider, focused on customized projects. Channel will play a critical role in addressing CIOs security concerns as the advisor. Issues around interoperability and integration of systems along with data and processes will take a center stage. Charu Khera, Analyst - Channels, Springboard Research

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