“The ICT channel market in India is skewed”

AGC Networks

AGC Networks Limited rolled out their latest channel partner initiative called the WIZ Program in December last year. Sayed Naved Shafi, Vice President, SME and Channel Business at AGC, speaks on the progress of the program, and the benefits achieved by the company and channel partners. Excerpts:

-Ashwani Mishra

Q] Could you tell us about AGC Network’s WIZ Program for channel partners?
The WIZ program was launched on 1st December and will go on till 31st March 2012. We started the program to add value, and also gain commitment from channel partners rather than have simple incentive schemes.

Through this program, AGC Networks invites AV integrators and dealers to place a minimum book order value of Rs. 50, 000 and become a WIZ partner. So it wasn’t just a freebee kind of offer for them.

Once they intend to do business with us and place the order, we assign them with a WIZ number that has city details, day of joining the program etc., similar to the privilege programs for hotels or airlines. So whenever a partner places an order on AGC, the transaction is added to the unique number provided to the partner.

A partner can achieve as low as Rs. 5 lakh to a highest slab of Rs. 50 lakh in four months and get an incentive in terms of gifts like LCD TV, iPhones, iPods, motorcycle or even a foreign trip.

Today we have around 42 partners enrolled who have contributed to a significant business for us. To highlight, we have four partners who have already crossed Rs. 50 lakh target during this time.

Q] What was the primary need to look start such a program?
The ICT channel market in India is quite skewed. For example, a channel partner specializing in voice does not look at any other tech offerings. Another partner may just look at video. So these guys merely focus on their core offerings, and do not look at adjacent areas of technology.

The idea for us was not to offer a single technology platform. We were predominantly, a unified communications company, but now we have positioned ourselves as a solutions integrator not only for UC but audio, video, IP surveillance, information security and storage. So there is a whole plethora of offerings from us.

Every partner has a customer base, which helps them to sell their core offerings. All we have done is to tell them to offer other ICT solutions to those same customers with whom they have been dealing for years.

Another reason for starting this program is that we have also become distributor for a couple of OEMs. So it was important for us to have these partners on board.

Also, this was not a plain incentive program for partners. We provided them with lead sharing so that they can close deals. We trained their sales and technical teams for enhancing product knowledge, and improving skill-sets.

Q] Do you plan to continue this program in the next fiscal year?
Yes we will. Maybe we might want to fine tune the program in some manner depending on the results of the last four months. So next year we can have an annual program for FY2012-13.

Q] In terms of business expansion, are you also looking to expand to tier 2 and tier 3 cities?
Definitely. Our lead generation is happening in tier 2 cites like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Coimbatore. We have appointed our direct sales representatives in these cities. In the next couple of years, we will see significant growth from such cities.

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