Channel Partners Moving From Fulfillers To Solution Sellers

Solution Sellers
Sanjay Joshi
Country Manager, Edimax India & Sub Continent

Mumbai: Shrinking profit margins in hardware selling, the cut throat competition from the E Commerce marketplaces, changing customers’ preferences and market dynamics have led the conventional IT channels to change their traditional business practices. It is inevitable for traditional partners to create their niche in order to sustain in the highly contested market. Solution and services are the two major revenue streams, where partners can not only create a distinct identity in the business but also earn more margins. Therefore, it is very important to pick up the right products and accordingly offer the customise services to the end users.

Networking is one of the areas where partners can build a profitable business. With the increasing adoption of digital technologies across the industry verticals and growing demand for mobile network infrastructure for seamless connectivity, the demand for networking solutions is set to rise in the coming days. In a candid interaction with Channel Times, Sanjay Joshi, Country Manager at Edimax India & Sub Continent, explains how partners can leverage the opportunity in the networking space in order to earn better profit margins.

CT: Please highlight the growth journey of Edimax in India in terms of business expansion and customer wins? 
Edimax’s growth journey is very prodigious as compared to the overall market scenario. We have been in this industry for over 30 years now. We have continuously evolved with better and better technology, advanced network communication and dedicatedly designed, developed and manufactured various feature rich networking solutions for India over the period of time.
We are also able to add new channels in our business portfolio and in the forthcoming time .We are planning to target over adding new channel vertical market, substantially help in increasing the reach and penetration in the untapped regions of India creating huge value for our customers.

CT: What are your key target verticals and regions in the country? 
The Smart Cities, Digital India initiatives by government of India has created a lot of buzz. With the digitalization boom, the IT industry is betting big on networking solutions. Thus we see great potential in healthcare, education and banking verticals across India.

CT: What new trends do you observe in the networking solutions business in India? What are the major growth drivers of this market? 
FY 2016 has been the fascinating year for networking industry, with digital transformation and great innovations. SDN beyond Data centre, VoWi-Fi, 5G and IoT in Corporate world will be trends to watch out in this year.
The increased adoption of cloud and Artificial Intelligence, Smart city initiatives, need of improvements in mobile network infrastructure and demand for 5G network will be major growth drivers for the networking solutions.

CT: Considering the shirking margins, many partners are moving from pure hardware sale to solution selling and services. Do you think the hardware selling channels is dying in the country? 
The question is very much similar to another argument that ‘e-commerce is killing the traditional sales’. However, the fact in both the cases is that one of these has specific advantage over other. But, as the channel changes, a lot of people are beginning to understand that they are going to lose business if they don’t adapt and convert their teams to where the channel and IT is moving. We see many hardware selling channels pioneering solution or service selling and vice versa. In both approaches, one thing which matters most is ‘what are you offering to enhance customer’s value proposition’.
It is more important that both channels need to work with their teams to prepare them to change their state of mind, make them approach with questions like ‘Why are you buying this?’, ‘What are your requirements?’ and address customer queries or they may not be in business in future.
India with its large geographical reach – channels will not shrink fully – their role from being a direct seller may change that of an extended arm through online or any other medium that may prop in the future as well. Secondly, since the channel partners business is family run – most of them have or are in the process of incorporating their generation next in the business which automatically takes them from a mere fulfiller to a service provider because of better understanding about technology.

CT: What are the major growth prospects in the networking space for partners? What unique value proposition do you offer to your channel partners? 
The major growth prospects in the networking space for partners is pitching the right solution, understanding the customers’ needs and fulfilling their requirements. When it comes to value proposition we have complete Edimax Pro range-fully managed providing Wi-Fi networking solutions. Our partners have great chances to earn more with effective solution positioning in a very cost effective manner.

CT: What is your channel engagement in India? What is your current partner base in the country? 
Channel partners are crucial to our business to make us grow in this industry. With over 100+ key partners and 2000 channel partners, we have established a well spread network PAN India.
In order to engage our channel partners, we ensure to involve them in key programs and events. Such involvement helps in ensuring that partners feel ownership and they work with efficiency for the organisation.

CT: What are your major channel programs and channel initiatives for Indian partners? 
We are planning to launch channel schemes (incentive and rebate schemes) and we are also planning to announce a foreign trip (a seminar cum training, partner engagement programs overseas) for our partners probably by Q3.

CT: What are your recently announced product and solutions for Indian customers? What are the new launches slated in 2017? 
In the upcoming months, we are planning to launch Raspberry Pi compatible plug-n-play nano USB wireless adapter which delivers high performance WLAN ability, best compatibility and well as recommended by Raspberry Pi community.
Edimax is also going to launch a series of pronounced products under Edimax Pro range of business solutions and consumer portfolio consists of 802.11ac repeater, routers & WLAN Adaptors with “ROAMING FEATURE”, an entirely new range of POE+ switches which will deliver PoE over 200M distance, Smart Switches, PoE Extender which can extend POE up to 300m distance. In the enterprise portfolio, we are adding 10G managed switches, first IN-WALL AC1200 AP with higher coverage and Outdoor 11AC Access Point solution etc.

CT: What are your key thrust areas in terms of business and channel expansion in 2017? 
We are a 100 percent channel driven company. We strongly believe that our key to success is our business partners, as they understand our customers’ requirements and work with them closely. Undoubtedly, this year our main focus is to increase our channel base in untapped areas across the country.

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