Channel Leadership Survey 2020
The "Channel Leadership Survey" (CLS) is the study conducted annually since a decade and published on the demand supply gap and market potential. The CLS matrix speaks on the performance of the vendors in the channel, based on the channel feedback on the Vendor’s performance over the last 12 months. It gets published in September (Anniversary special issue) every year. In summary, the industry is categorized into three segments i.e. hardware, software and services. These three segments are further classified into forty categories. Each category has several players who get identified as leading player in this survey.
The Channel is evolving day after day and VARINDIA keeps track on the leading technology OEMs in the country, collating the experiences that channel partners have when working with different vendors. Channel partners are asked to rate their vendors across the 10 most important areas of channel management. The winners get recognised in the STAR NITE Awards (SNA) every year. The 19th edition of SNA (DNA of Channel) is slated to happen on the 18th of December in New Delhi.
The worldwide PC market enjoyed a stellar recovery in Q2 2020, as supply issues eased to meet the massive pent-up demand from the first three months of the year. Total shipments of desktops, notebooks and workstations hit 72.9 million units, up 9% from a year ago. The rebound was driven by Notebooks & Printer, which have become of vital importance to businesses, students and consumers as they had to adjust to the Work From Home (WHM) Solutions. At the same time shipments of notebooks and mobile workstations grew 24% year on year, while shipments of desktops and desktop workstations fell by 26%.
With increased use of technology devices, new security challenges continue to arise. The total cybersecurity market is showing a positive growth during the year 2020. The rapid increase in remote-working due to the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted security spending significantly in Q1 2020. Cybersecurity will remain a top priority for most organizations in 2020. The global cybersecurity market is expected to grow from $149.46 billion in 2019 to $152.21 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.83%.
OEMs continue to make improvements to processes to increase simplicity and have shown commitment to growing revenue through the channel.
Given the impact of the pandemic, vendors are focusing around building cloud-based management and orchestration layers (compatible with multiple cloud platforms) that provide unified management across all the devices under their portfolio through a single pane of the glass thereby enabling easier provisioning and management.
Our survey says that Enterprise spending is expected to be delayed as supply-chain elements remain badly affected. However, telco and government verticals show a strong pipeline for the entire 2020. Investments from telco would be driven by projects related to OSS, BSS, IMS stack for VoLTE and 5G test-bed programs towards 5G development. Also, local cloud service providers would invest in expansion projects for their infra capacity in 2020.
Let’s see how the OEMs are able to penetrate into the industry along with the VAR ecosystem……
Director, Sales & Marketing, RP tech India
“In our view, both offline and online players will co-exist and the situation will improve the post-COVID crisis. Both channel partners and online commerce platforms offer different value additions to end-users. The biggest advantages with E-Commerce are price and contactless delivery, whereas, channel partners offer value-added services and credit facility. As the Government is easing the restrictions across India, we expect the channel business gain momentum in the coming months and channel business has already started to pick up since August 2020.
We have the state of the art selection process of potential channel partners. Broadly we look for partners’ core competency, their go-to-market customer & business strategy, financial health and value-added support to end customers. RP tech India has been at the forefront to launch a series of value-added channel programs to support partners liquidate their stocks and ensure business continuity during a nationwide lockdown. We first launched the Green & Orange Zone offers for partners to reward top-performing partners. Tech Tuesday is another ongoing campaign where we do extensive promotion of brands schemes on RR tech social media platforms. We successfully executed RP tech Work from Home (WFH), Learn from Home (LFH) and CORONA Safeguard campaign wherein we marketed a complete range of WFH & LFH solutions through extensive PR and Digital Promotions. All these programs were highly appreciated by both partners and vendors.”
Sundar N Balasubramanian
Managing Director, India and SAARC
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.
“Channel is central to our India business. We work with channel partners and strategize with them to deliver a better customer experience and meet their cybersecurity needs. There is growing trend among our buyers to look for products online. As such we are utilizing our existing India Channel Partner network to reach all customers spanning all ecosystems. We continue to witness deal registration growth by our channel partners’ year on year, as well as our deal size. The increase in the number of deal registration is a leading indicator of our channel vibrancy in deal registration growth by channel partners’ year on year in India. We continue to groom and develop new partners and in the process have gained many new customers for Check Point. Many of the new partners switched from competition or are influenced to start their cybersecurity business with Check Point. Each year, we continue to see quite a number of new partners recruited in being India.
• One Team: We believe the channel is critical to scaling our business and that is why we are focused on extending our team by including the channel, and having them work together as one cohesive team. This involves extending all the same resourcing available internally to our channel, joint planning to ensure they are specialized for their future, and customized enablement plans to ensure they are growing as an organization and as part of our extended team.
• Specialization for the Channel: Specialization is the key to the future of security. Just as sales roles have specialized so too must the channel, including distributors and partners. This will ensure we continue to grow while future proofing the channel. We recognize one size doesn’t fit all, that it is why it is important to create the appropriate models, support, and training for our specialized channel, even extending our HR functions like training and recruitment. By training and enabling our current relationships to focus on their strengths and our joint plans, we ensure a successful future both for Check Point and our partners. Key specializations include core, advanced threat, and cloud along with traditional specialties like services only and MSSP.
Check Point is a 100% channel company. Most of our business is channel led, with a minority being Check Point-led but fulfilled by partners.
Vice President & General Manager- Channels India
“Channel partners are integral to Dell Technologies overall success in delivering an excellent customer experience. They have always been the driving force behind Dell Technologies’ business growth. While the world is facing a lot of changes in terms of uncertainty, we are witnessing a change in customer behavior as well. Every company needs to update their go-to-market strategy to meet the customer expectations with utmost safety. Our channel partners are trusted vendors to their customers. They continue to support their large system integration and infrastructure requirements with no significant impact, owing to the e-commerce boom.
Dell Technologies’ top priority is the safety and well-being of its customers, partners and the community in which we work and live. We are putting in all efforts to ensure that we support, collaborate and enable our partners, who can provide the same support to their customers. Dell is the one-stop shop for all support, products and services a customer could require. The rapid introduction of new, sophisticated infrastructure and application solutions is upon us as emerging technologies hit their stride. Our customers need the right technology for their ever evolving needs and our partners play an important role in supporting these requirements. The channel partner community at Dell is very creative about our go-to-market strategies and how we work with our customers. The ongoing situation is bringing us all closer and making us innovative to keep pushing our business forward. Information technology is becoming more specialized, requiring both Partners and OEMs alike to build expertise.
Some of the key areas that we keep in mind while working on strategy are:
• Technology - Migration to Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure consolidation is happening more than ever before. So is automation - in order to reduce dependency and manage such issues in future. So partners should enhance skills in these areas - build their capabilities on AI / ML ready platforms, or on all-cloud-certified platforms
• Skilling - In these times, Dell has provided free trainings and certifications to thousands of partners - so that partner specialists are able to make the best use of the lock-down times, hone their skills, and some of them are improving their partnership tier with Dell Technologies
• Safety - Security, Data Analytics and Robotics are other technologies that are gaining momentum in the industry
Country and Channel Head
“E-commerce businesses and IT businesses operate in a totally different way. In an IT business, customers can buy the license and products online, but installation needs to be done at the organisation’s premises, for which organisations need to choose the right product and solution based on their business requirement. To choose the right solution and implement it, an organization should have an in-depth understanding of the product and its sustainability as some of these products need annual maintenance. Our partners are skilled enough to understand the customer’s requirement and help them choose the right product and solution. The three stages in our business are pre-sales, sales, and post-sales where we demonstrate, implement, support and maintain the product which an e-commerce business will not be able to do. In our business, channel partners are very much safe and they can continue to do business with companies that deliver software or cloud-based solutions. Our partners have done more business during this pandemic by selling our software and cloud solutions. Two things we consider when we design our channel policy. Our partners can benefit in terms of profitability and predictability of business. The relationship of partners with Forcepoint is a recurring business, where we offer a subscription-based model to our customers. Customers need to keep renewing the subscription of our products and solutions on a timely basis in order to receive uninterrupted service from us.
Director-Asia Pacific Consumer Business Group and Country Manager for
SAARC & India, Seagate Technology
“In India, we have been seeing a strong growth not only on the consumer side but also on the enterprise side of business which is creating opportunities for our channel partners as well. While storage solutions catering to consumer needs – from everyday users and creative professionals to gamers – primarily drive our business here in India, we are witnessing a shift towards enterprise data and consequently an increase in demand. As per the recently published Rethink Data Report, while only 33% of data available to business in India is put to work, enterprise data is projected to increase at a 45.2% annual growth rate. As a brand we believe in being close to the reseller partners, understanding their needs and enabling them with right set of knowledge and tools. We help them in keeping pace with the latest product trends and serve their customers with right offerings. We work closely with three channel types in India. These are retail channels comprising of the brick and mortar stores, online channels including prominent e-commerce companies in India such as Amazon, Flipkart, PayTM, & Tata Cliq among others; and, large format retail chains such as Reliance digital, Croma, and Vijay Sales. We have a very fluid relationship with all our partners enabling the buyers to easily access our products, readily available at all channels convenient to them.
Our focus in 2020 is on helping partners drive profitability by enabling them to embrace and monetize the new opportunities around edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI). The global datasphere is forecasted to grow from 41 zettabytes in 2019 to 175 zettabytes by 2025, according to a recent study. Nearly 30% of that data will require real-time processing. As businesses in India go on investing in robust infrastructure to support greater data processing at the Edge, our partners are eyeing the trend as the avenue for their increased sales.
Director – Partner, Citrix India
“E-commerce as a platform is relevant only in technologies where the customer literacy level is very high and needs minimal OR no support from the partner in identifying the product or technology to meet their requirements and installing the same. Today when we want to buy a laptop, we go on to an e-commerce website, check options and place our order.
However, the solutions that Citrix sells in the market need a lot more introspection and understanding of the customer’s current environment and further detailing before even a basic architecture can be designed. Our partners with their skills and knowledge of the customers are better enabled to do this and quite frankly it cannot be done by selecting a standard product from an e-commerce platform.
When we discuss and design the channel strategy, our two main priorities lie in helping our partners be more profitable to do business with Citrix and being relevant to customers. In these trying times of the pandemic, our partners have been able to help out their customers in setting and enabling the Citrix solutions for remote working. I am sure that it supported our partners to attain the trusted advisor status and to make it simpler to take our solutions to their customers, that we at Citrix have focussed on consolidating our four specialisations (virtualisation, mobility management, networking for data centre and networking for apps and mobile security) to just two workspace and networking.
With digital transformation accelerating rapidly over the past few months, we have also focused on moving beyond just virtualisation to digital workspace solutions, to help our partners and customers see the value it can bring into the workspace. Furthermore, we are investing in helping partners differentiate their offering by bringing Citrix Workspace with intelligence to the front. While keeping our partners’ best interests in mind, the basis of our every channel policy has been to focus on helping people be more productive.
Senior Director International Channels and Inside Sales
“We operate in a workplace environment that is undergoing digital transformation and has become far more complex, mobile and dynamic as a result. The impact of COVID-19 has just seen an acceleration of this trend. Our most successful partners are those who focus on solving their customers’ issues with technology solutions, and have adapted quickly to an increasingly cloud and subscription-based model for technology procurement and operation.
Technology implementations can no longer be on a three-or-four-year refresh cycle. The traditional boundaries and functions of the enterprise network are being constantly redrawn due to the rise in remote workers, increased deployment of IoT devices, adoption of cloud services and mobile applications, and greater use of AI and robotics. It’s critical that organisations are deploying networking technologies that are constantly monitored and managed, and can be configured to adapt automatically and on-demand.
We are encouraging our partners to evolve with us as we focus on building out our software-driven, end-to-end networking solutions and cloud capabilities. This is ultimately the way that our partners will continue to deliver business value to their own customer base. We are doing this by increasing the incentives around sales of our advanced solutions and subscription-based cloud services, including our ExtremeCloud™ IQ cloud-based network management solution. ExtremeCloud IQ provides a subscription-based service with unlimited data that can operate across all major public cloud platforms, as well as in private and on-premises clouds.
Director – Channels & Alliances
“The e-commerce segment offers a tremendous growth opportunity for the channel community. Not only has it expanded the marketplace, but also opened new avenues of business possibilities. The conventional modus operandi is steadily undergoing a tectonic shift in the way we serve our customers and the channel community is evolving rapidly, to stay ahead of the curve.
As the e-commerce marketplace moves up the maturity curve, it opens up business opportunities in areas such as cloud computing, intrinsic security and digital workspace, thereby providing an additional platform for the channel community to participate, sustain and grow. With multi-cloud taking centre-stage, channel partners too, are establishing business practices and go- -to-market strategies in areas such as application modernisation, migration services, digital transformation initiatives & edge computing solutions. VMware India’s channel policy keeps the ecosystem interests at its core and strives to ensure consistency, ease of doing business with VMware and faster time-to-market for our partners.
The objective is to evolve into a ’customer for life’ mindset and empower our partners to leverage VMware’s solution platforms to deliver consistent value across the complete customer life cycle. Additionally, the intent is also to create an environment where we can market the capabilities of our partners by engaging in co-selling, joint account planning and deeper relationships with them.
To achieve this, we have created a flexible and scalable program infrastructure across the key tenets of the partner lifecycle that includes onboarding, enablement, joint go-to-market initiatives for demand generation, practice activation, incentives, and business compliance. Our channel policy aims at delivering a more sustainable partner experience that is well positioned to capture and capitalise on the market trends.
Manager, Channels and Alliances-India and SAARC
“CrowdStrike’s innovative cloud-based Falcon platform equips partners with a range of modules and capabilities that continues to broaden at an astounding rate. CrowdStrike partners enjoy the certainty of a CrowdStrike platform renewal, new offerings for new and existing customers, and downstream services opportunities that come from selling these offerings.
CrowdStrike was founded to solve customer pain points through modern, scalable and transformative platform technology. The CrowdStrike Falcon Platform is the first multi-tenant, fully cloud-native, intelligent platform.
With a vision to deliver the most effective breach prevention solution on the market, CrowdStrike is redefining security for the modern-day business that is largely in the cloud. Until CrowdStrike Falcon, no security solution could meet the complexities brought by the cloud, remote access, and applications. The CrowdStrike Falcon Platform is the only next-gen endpoint protection solution that consolidates next-gen AV, endpoint detection and response, managed hunting, IT Hygiene and Threat Intelligence.
CrowdStrike is looking for partners with a strong focus in assisting customers with their broader security strategy and ecosystem. Partners that will invest in best of breed technology, enabling themselves to deliver back to customers the highest level of experience, knowledge and customer satisfaction.
CrowdStrike’s network of partners is core to its business, and it invests heavily in enablement, training and certification. CrowdStrike’s Elevate Partner Program is integral in driving personable, flexible engagement and services for global partners, while rewarding those who are top performing.
Kaspersky (South Asia)
“Technology is a fast-moving and ever-changing sector. Every year, we try to come up with something new for our partners in helping them to achieve their goals. Good people build great organisations, and that includes our partners who we work closely with. Our main focus will be to deliver a better and differentiated experience to our partner community. Kaspersky is a 100% channel centric company, our growth as a cybersecurity brand is greatly dependent on our channel partners. We have been growing tremendously especially in the B2B market because of the assistance that our partners provide us with.
The e-commerce segment is indeed growing rapidly, however we see it as complementing our partner ecosystem. Not only do we support our partners by providing our solutions, but also extend our expertise to the partners who can learn and have a deeper knowledge about the ever evolving cybersecurity landscape and work towards specializing in their particular field of interest. Our channel partners connect us with businesses who are struggling to cope up with the current cybersecurity scenario. Enterprises and businesses too need expert guidance in order to understand their pain points and deploy solutions according to their needs and budgets. Hence, closely working with partners and cybersecurity companies like us is preferred by the CIOs and CISOs, and we don’t see this trend fading anytime soon. Kaspersky has put sustained effort in attracting new partners and offering more benefits to existing and new ones. The launch of a new partner program – ‘Kaspersky United’ – was one of steps to address these priorities.
KALYAN DEEP RAY
Manager – Global Partners Organisation, India & SAARC
“Even before the pandemic, e-commerce was already proliferating across India, and the outbreak has only amplified the need for businesses to re-pivot to digital means to ensure business continuity and continue serving customers. At CommScope, we anticipate such market shifts to indicate higher collaboration amongst the players in the channel ecosystem, and not substitution of traditional offerings. As the online marketplace in India continues to evolve, CommScope will continue to prioritize large-scale infrastructure and data center offerings, where we show our value through a deep understanding of our customers’ businesses, and design and customize solutions best suited for their specific needs. We anticipate that in the near future, higher bandwidth requirements will mean such tailored solutions will be even more critical, requiring increasing levels of hands-on design and implementation. We also understand that the channel ecosystem is looking to evolve quickly in this new normal, and we are investing in digital initiatives that allow our channel programs to stay flexible and adaptable, to better serve our partners and customers in India.To help our partners stay agile as the channel ecosystem evolves, CommScope’s Partner Program is hence designed to be modular to fuel growth and scalability across various offline and online platforms. The services extended by channel partners will continue to be the driving factor for our offerings in India.
Partner relationships are key to providing localized delivery of customer maintenance and support in the most efficient manner. The key things we consider include the company’s primary business focus and the products they sell, but we also want to be sure our channel partners can provide support to their end customers efficiently, so we check for information on support tools that they use. We also need to prioritize helping channel partners find new revenue opportunities in today’s competitive and fast-evolving markets. Navigating business growth and expansion can be challenging - especially for the telecommunication and connectivity ecosystem which we serve - and it is essential that our channel program provides a wide scope of tools to help partners succeed. This can be in the form of allowing partners to access recruitment support, industry events, marketing engagement (e.g. webinars, newsletters, collateral, site branding and merchandise store) and of course sales enablement (e.g. partner portal, playbooks, campaign toolkits, leads for partners).
Country Manager - Sales
“Even though the E-commerce segment has been coming up aggressively in the recent past, the importance of channel partners has not reduced. Both offline and online shopping are equally crucial for a consumer-facing business. Etailers are also looking to tie up with Physical retail stores which are a testament to our channel approach. It is quintessential that there is an integrated Etail and physical retail. At Acer, we also focus a lot of our efforts around training our channel partners on the latest technologies and solutions. This helps resellers advise solutions that help customers better understanding and enhance profitability. We also have robust channel partner policies which helps our partners to get support and scale their offerings and business. Our channel partners play a crucial rule in taking our brand and product to our end customers.
At Acer, our commitment to partners is stronger than it ever has been. Challenging times like this require innovative and next-gen technological solutions that define newer business models; a new normal. The channel community depends upon interaction, information sharing, discussion, and a host of interactive elements that form their arsenal. To further grow our partnership, we have devised policies that utilize the strength of our partners and enable them to sell from the complete gamut of products which Acer carries in its portfolio in India. Our mantra is to work with our channel partners, train them, and help them create and build sustainable and profitable business models. Our strategy is to empower our partners by offering industry-relevant solutions that partners can effectively leverage in the Indian market.
Country Manager Channel
“With travel restrictions and disrupted supply chains, consumers have depended heavily on e-commerce platforms for delivery of goods.
While all things indicate that e-commerce is only steadily increasing in popularity and market share, it largely holds good for B2C companies. For B2B companies, like Vertiv, channel partners play a crucial role to help OEMs reach their customers and advise them on the right kind of solutions to suit their specific needs, something that cannot be done through e-commerce platforms. Through this pandemic, Vertiv has been providing services to customers that fall under the Essential Services Maintenance Act i.e., data centers, IT & ITes, telecom, media networks, banking, financial institutions, hospitals, etc. With the help of our partners, we have supported the essential services sector during these challenging times.
At Vertiv, we continuously keep our channel partners informed of new products, solutions and tools we have to offer, as well as offering education on customer challenges and industry trending topics. Only when they are educated and aware of what we have to offer, they can connect us with the right customers. While e-commerce is gaining traction, the Indian channel partners will continue to be an important part of the distribution and support process, especially for the B2B sector.
The foremost consideration of designing a channel policy is the ease of doing business with Vertiv that ensures seamless onboarding, devising workflows and engagement with customers.
Founder and CEO
“When framing a go-to-market strategy, K7 Security analysed the market and purchasing behaviour of customers. Unsurprisingly, customers prefer to buy from those they know and trust. Accessing customers’ direct touchpoints, whether retail establishments or technicians, requires building a chain of relationships at the regional, neighbourhood, and last mile level. K7 has built a 100+ partner outreach team to actively pursue partnership opportunities. This direct-to-partner approach has been welcomed by partners at all levels as it shortens communication lines and K7 benefits as well with rapid, granular market updates across territories.
The direct-to-partner approach has been bolstered by a slew of initiatives to ensure partner success. An aggressive brand building campaign that covered both offline and online channels boosted top-of-mind awareness across customer value segments and resulted in increased revenues through greater conversions and shorter sales cycles from discovery to purchase. K7 also listens actively to feedback and rationalises product lines based on market response and inputs. We have increased the number of SKUs to cater to different customer segments and tweaked our offerings to improve our value proposition to different demographics. We have also introduced new channel packs for partners which they can choose based on the conditions of the market they serve and their cash realisation cycles. Partner incentives have been tweaked based on evolving market conditions and partner sales patterns. This has resulted in the creation of incentive schemes that are both simple and effective, rewarding partner performance with benefits that flow quickly from conversions.
ASHISH P. DHAKAN
MD & CEO
Prama Hikvision India
“Being a distribution channel driven company with 11 years of successful track record and impeccable trust, we at Prama Hikvision ensure that our partners are safe despite surge in the e-commerce trends. We are ensuring that they are aligned to the evolving B2B e-commerce trends.
The e-commerce has been directly impacting micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) in India. We are ensuring that our B2B e-commerce growth story is more inclusive one that empowers the partners and end-users both. While designing the channel policy the key things we consider are sacrosanct with our corporate values and business strategies. They are, value additions, financial incentives, trusted relationship, and enhancing End-user experience. For the channel policy to become a scalable success from the first moment, it’s best to be well informed. To do that need to know the type of demand and consumption applicable to each type of product, service or niche, as well as studying the competition’s activity and considering the range of resources available to build the network.
We had introduced the Prama Hikvision’s B2B portal and Prama India mobile app as a powerful tools for our channel partners to automate the distribution sales process and make it more efficient. ‘Prama Hikvision Expo’ has been our most successful channel partner program; it has been conducted every year across India in major metros and cities. It has created a new benchmark in the security industry. We have successfully conducted it last year. The plans are underway for this year too, provided the COVID-19 impact subsides. Our successful channel program strives to bring partners together to share information, receive training, network and work as a team.”