Channel Partnerships Are Born in the Cloud
The IT industry is transforming at a rapid pace and moving towards everything-as-a-service model where technologies such as cloud, IoT, AI have become a key part of business operations. This has impacted the IT channel business as well, who have moved up the value chain by embracing new business models, with a strong focus on improving customer experience. Hiranandani Group’s newly formed data centre arm, Yotta Infrastructure, believes in offering a distinct value proposition to its partners and customers for them to grow and innovate in an increasingly digital environment. The company has a slew of initiatives planned for its channel partners for the coming year. In an exclusive interaction with Channel Times, Bhavesh Adhia, Head of Alliance and Channel Partnership, Yotta Infrastructure, explains the company’s focus on the partner ecosystem and its channel business roadmap for 2020.
CT: How has the Indian IT channel industry changed say over the last one decade?
Bhavesh Adhia: The IT channel business pretty much mirrors the trends in IT adoption by enterprises. Enterprises mostly maintained fragmented applications in so-called “server rooms”, developed custom business applications and catered to their customers mostly via offline models. Enterprise business systems no longer run in isolation. Today we live in a connected world, with new technologies such as cloud, IoT, AI becoming a key part of business operations.
This has impacted the IT channel business as well. From being a Channel partner just specific to a product offering, partners now offer a wide range of services – hardware, software, cloud, managed services, among others by embracing the new wave of technology transformation. Many of them are born in the cloud and offering everything-as-a-service and ready to explore new business models. Those who have transformed or are in the process of transformation are really seeing the benefits of aligning their business models based on the end customer needs. The models are continuously evolving, and value addition will continue to remain the key factor for growth and partners are focusing on improving the overall customer experience.
CT: Where do you see a gap/challenge that needs to be addressed by tech vendors?
Bhavesh Adhia: There is a growing need for effective channel partner management programmes to ensure there is more transparency and motivation for partners to relate and align cohesively towards the vendor’s vision. Addressing such issues through the company’s channel strategy could prove fruitful for a better and more systematic execution of the partner ecosystem.
Multiple discussions with channel partners and feedback taken across the board has helped us identify this gap. To help bridge this, we have ensured that our partner policy has no area of conflict between our direct sales team and the partner team. For us, it is a Single Lead/Single Opportunity and jointly driven by our sales and partner community. The partners have an excellent relationship with end customers, and we have ensured that they retain the same without any fear of losing customer control. We are ensuring complete transparency via our partner portal and will also provide them with easy access registration of new lead, updating opportunities, online training, commission pay-out statements etc. We are in the process of implementing a system by which the partner proactively gets his commission statements for his review and once approved the pay-outs happen without any manual process.
CT: What is Yotta’s channel strategy for the India market? How are you developing reseller-based partnerships to drive enterprise sales?
Bhavesh Adhia: At Yotta we have a ‘partner-first’ approach through which we plan to drive more than 75% of our enterprise business. To achieve the set goal, our entire strategy is built around 3Ts – Trust, Transparency and Teamwork, to create a simple and effective framework. The system is classified into four categories – Alliance Partner Framework, Technology Partner Framework, Consulting Partner Framework and most importantly, Reseller (Channel) Partner Framework.
While we will discuss the Reseller Model at length, as I mentioned, our partner ecosystem is systematically structured and divided into four categories, the first is Alliance Partner Framework which is the standard transfer price-based model for large system integrators (SI’s). Here, Yotta would provide services to the partners at a price and they will further bundle our services with theirs as part of their own offerings to the end consumer and bill them accordingly.
The next is Technology Partner Framework and as the name suggests, they are the partners for specific technology offering like OEMs/ISVs/SaaS and include our services together as part of their core services. For instance, Yotta would sell services of SaaS providers, who host with us as a part of our services portfolio via our entire partner ecosystem. The other category is Consulting Partner Framework; these are partners who are interested in understanding Yotta’s differentiators and would then consult prospective clients about our USPs and recommend end customers to opt for Yotta’s offerings. The final and the largest part of the ecosystem is the Reseller Partner Framework.
CT: What is the business model? How do you incentivize your partners?
Bhavesh Adhia: Our reseller-based model is structured to provide them recurring commission pay-outs for the entire duration of the contract at a flat rate, unlike generic norms and trust Yotta to not take control over their customer. Yotta offers complete transparency by providing commission based on Actual Billed Value (ABV) and not on Actual Contract Value (ACV). We introduced an accelerator program that is applicable to all the partners irrespective of their size. Apart from this, we have also extended an additional pay-out percentage to the sales representatives of the partner organization. This will be paid directly to the Partner Sales representative for every deal closed by him/her to motivate the extended sales team member and appreciate their teamwork. We will also be introducing an option for one-time referral commission on Total Contract Value (TCV) for partners who would refer a lead and not engage actively as part of the deal.
CT: How many specialized channel partners do you have at present? Could you elaborate on some of the partnerships and what you do differently from your competition?
Bhavesh Adhia: We are currently in the process of onboarding partners. We already have onboarded 18 to 20 partners. We have a mix of National, regional, specific domain (SAP/Oracle) partners in them. Additionally, we are in discussion with another 12-15 set of partners to join our partner ecosystem before go-live and launch of our data center services.
CT: What is your channel business roadmap in 2020?
Bhavesh Adhia: Currently, our plans are focused only to India. We have a ready plan of building 3 data center parks with combined capacity of 60,000 racks and 500 megawatts of power across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Chennai. The first building from Panvel data center park is set to go live in the beginning of the year 2020, which will also be the largest data center building in India. Our offerings would also include Yotta Tech Services, which provides Managed IT, Managed Security and Hybrid Multi-Cloud services for enterprise customers.
We will be providing a Partner Portal for our partners to provide them easy access to registration of new lead, updating opportunities, online training, commission pay-out statements etc. We will be launching a Multi-Cloud platform for our partners which they can white label and will facilitate them to sell and manage Yotta cloud and other public cloud services. Finally, I would like to use this opportunity to once again welcome on boarded partners and Welcome others as well to come, join us in the “Yotta” journey.