Post-Deployment Complexity, A Key Challenge for Partners
Large enterprises would earnestly admit that their business would never reach an extra mile without its channel partners. At different levels and different spheres, channel partners have been an integral part of the IT business. However, even though vendor and channel partner tread long paths together, the latter is still inflicted with its own share of woes, especially when it comes to post deployment complexities.
Post deployment woes
For some channel partners, workplace experience has changed for the better over the years. Vinod Mulchandani, CEO, Aarvee Computers, said that once the setup is deployed at the clients’ workplace, it is just a matter of maintaining it. In addition, accessing internet from various locations has become much easier and faster as the entire office is on VPN with all branches on leased lines.
However, for System Integrators (SI), overall coordination at different locations of a client is not trouble-free. For an SI, the splendour of the work is to deliver a coherent solution to the customer. However, the same boomerangs towards the SI when he/she has to make products and solutions of various vendors work simultaneously.
It becomes more complicated during the deployments of bulky government projects with long term vision. Projects of massive scale such as AADHAR bring along massive technical difficulties. In such projects, deploying a solution amidst different vendors having various hardware and software solutions to offer becomes a difficulty.
A project which involves verification of details of the beneficiaries such as biometric details is equally troublesome. All the biometric information would be stored in a device mostly a personal computer with an operating system of certain specification. But if it is required that a person has to be deputed to go to the beneficiary’s house and verify the details such as thumb impression, he goes with a handheld device with a different OS and there comes the glitch. Most personal computers are embedded with Microsoft OS and hand held devices are android run.
Opportunities amidst challenges
While there are challenges, a channel partner cannot simply brush aside the opportunities and refrain themselves in stepping in large projects.
“Application wise, this technology has generated tremendous demand from Government, BFSI, Telecom, Automobiles, Health, Aviation and Border Security and manufacturing sectors. The Government of India has adopted Iris technology in the UID program and become the largest biometric data holder in the world. After UID program, Indian states are the next major vertical to adopt Iris technology on large scale.” Tamaal Roy – CEO, Biomatiques Identification Solutions, was quoted in an interview in CXO Today. (Click here to read the full interview)
Satish Choudhary, Director, Techniche, said, “Compatibility of different Hardware and software is a major issue.’
Also at a corporate scenario or even for small projects like schools computer labs it is difficult for the integrator to sail smoothly. Customers would ask for a complete solution to be offered at a particular price. Now it comes to the integrator to offer the best solution at a best price. He then assorts different hardware and software for the best result. But at times compatibility and scalability becomes difficult with hardware and software working at different platforms. At such times SIs are at a fix.
Choudhary explained, “At times when things fail to work in tandem, it projects a bad impression to the customers and dents our reputation and on the other hand vendors washes away hands saying it is our work to coordinate and make things work since we are the System Integrator. This lands us in a typical ‘sandwiched’ situation.”
The matter of even more worry for the SI is when the delivery of products does not happen on time but the customer wants his work done on time. A difficulty at other time comes with long term projects, especially government projects. The project initiates at one times but sometimes takes years to start. In the process, cost of the products goes up and this eats up on the margin of the partners.
Tech difficulties are therefore still very prominent in the channel chain with different levels of difficulties at different spheres. The question remains who is going to come for hand-holding.
How to resolve the complexity?
Training, product promotions, incentives are vital for any channel organization to keep abreast of the latest trends. When we think about partner training, product promotions, incentives related to rewards, rebates, market development funds and so on, it is very important to think through these programs in a systematic way.
Throwing out a bunch of incentives just for the sake of doing it, for example, a thousand rupees rewards for certain activities or an opportunity to win an iPad never make a lot of sense for partners. If the incentives are not aligned with selling a product or service, they will not go the extra mile for the sake for winning an iPad or anything for that matter.
Training and education in these and other things should help the channel organization face any deployment challenge irrespective of the vendor or verticals.