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Apr 14

ROLE OF CHANNEL PARTNERS IN INDIA IN DATA CENTER MARKET

14-Apr-2017, Friday

Channel partners play a key role in the datacenter market in taking the services to the last mile, expanding the delivery & support coverage. With cloud services touted to be a major play riding on datacentres in India, channel’s role has crossed over from sales enablers to IT transformation agents.

Rohan Chandrahas SMEchannels

The level of readiness of channel in India is not at the point, where datacenter services are the mainstay of their business. This is largely since channel partners have been perennially comfortable in being the feeder for physical IT infra requirements for their customer. They are yet to take a holistic view of IT as customer’s business enabler, understand its IT footprint and having conversations that enable them to see both short term & long term aspects of customer engagement. Saying so, we are witness to some significant change in mindset of a section of channel fraternity in India, where they have been the flag bearers of this strategic shift in positioning of   channel and being ready to graduate to the next level and take their business strategy transformation challenge head on. We as datacenter and cloud OEMs, own a bigger responsibility to enable this transformation. The process of selection of channel partners is to initially engage on opportunities and post understanding their readiness to play the role of an IT transformation agent investing in partners with aligned resources and teams.

Cloud migration, integration, security, compliance and automation are eminent challenges mainly caused due to an oversight by organizations moving to the cloud. Channel partners can create opportunities out of these challenges and increase their wallet share by advising and aligning IT with business objectives.

As a data center and cloud provider, we engage with our partners at a ground zero level, handhold them in terms of opportunity qualification, rationalisation, solution designing, technology knowledge transfer. We see ourselves playing a role of that of a mentor and enabler for our channel partners to not only help position the services right to their customers but also position themselves strategically into their customers’ larger scheme of thoughts.

The Pi partner program has been structured to enable our channel partners with the right solutions and skills through workshops, digital content -videos, case studies. Incentivizing them adequately to harness their capabilities and to ensure there is a mutually beneficial relationship. Our roadshows and co-funded events are domain specific to address the CIO’s operational and CFO’s equational pain points, our strong social media presence /and   e-campaigns provide the necessary marketing air cover for our partners. Our initiatives are more about enablement and empowerment of our channel partners, rather than transactional activities.
Increased mindshare and wallet share are direct benefits that channel partners would see immediately as they add datacenter services & cloud to their product and services portfolio. They get elevated from a being a volume transactional player to a state where customer see value in associating with them. They start finding themselves as a part of customer’s strategy white board, rather than just being part of their requisition slip. They can be assured of healthy profitability and hence continuous growth.

Rohan Chandrahas, National Alliance Head, Pi DATACENTERS with SME Channels

1 What is the total size of Data center market in India?

Data Center (DC) market in India is poised to touch $4.5 billion mark by 2018, with an exponential growth from the current valuation of $2.2 billion. Owing to multiple factors like growth in cloud adoption and the data processing needs posed by enterprises across industry verticals, the market is predicted to reach a $7 billion point, with a growth rate of 23 % by 2020. Dependence of organisations on data and their bend towards optimising business processes proves to be a significant contributor to the growth while state initiatives like Digital India beef up the demand by multiple folds.

The growth rate estimates based on investment trend analysis in the DC market, foresee the share of Indian data center market to grow from a meagre 8.21 % and 1.97 % in APAC and Global markets respectively, to 12 % and 4.5 % by 2020. This positions India as the second largest market for data centers in Asia Pacific and a significant player in the global scenario.

2. Which verticals have been the major contributors for booming growth of this market?

The boom in the data center market is a result of demand pooled from enterprises across verticals like BFSI, IOT Telecom, E- Commerce, Manufacturing(majorly around ERP on cloud), Education, Health Care.  Organizations today are inclined towards internal and external operational efficiency with optimized costs. The demands resonate with the solutions offered by key technology trends of the day, like cloud and virtualization which ride on data centers.

BFSI as an industry is high on confidential digital information, leading to generation and processing of data in abundance day in day out. This is expected to grow manifolds with the Indian economy turning ‘e’ from the roots, in line with the initiatives like Digital India. With the advent of e-payments, mobile banking and the wallet model of operations, the data set up and the architecture are to be optimally designed and maintained to meet the velocity demands of the volumes of data at their disposal.  All the above said points, which characterize today’s BFSI, contribute to a significant growth in data center market. The criticality of data with BFSI and the importance of quicker time to market to its customers also contribute to the Disaster Recovery services, and Security which are an important part of datacenter market.

IT/ITES industry has been a key revenue generator for our nation, with very high IT capable human resources. To be at par with the technology advancements like IOT, Big Data, Analytics and few more, the industry has taken leaps of growth in terms of its infrastructure. The cloud adoption owing to its scalability, efficiency and security is a key driver for the market escalation. The infrastructure outsourcing, for the TCO benefits it realizes has been a driving force for the growth of 3rd party data center market.

The renaissance of the governance and practices by the state and central bodies from a paper and people model to a digital driven e-governance also pumps the market demand further up.

With more and more manufacturing industries moving towards working on a hosted ERP model for their operational efficiency, cloud and thereby data center are the unsaid resort in enabling the same.

For verticals like Education, Health care which remain untouched in terms of the technology advancements, the realization of the data abundance and the value delivered out of same, in the recent past have brought in high demand for DC market and cloud with high on storage and analytics features.

To conclude, all the industry verticals, which are currently experiencing a technology shift for optimal performances at highly economical costs, cloud and data center outsourcing are the way out. They are no more options to choose from but are the main stream today and thus causing the upswing in the market.

3. What are some of the new technologies that will influence the Indian Datacenter market in 2017?

The technology front is today lead by trends like SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud) which revolve around data, the IP for organizations. Data abundance is an after effect of IOT, Big Data and Automation advent.  These trends have reinvented the dynamics starting from the way businesses are conducted to the underlying support layers of IT infrastructure and services.

The data pools generated need an intelligent infrastructure base in a scalable model for the ever increasing quantities, which includes storage for housing , network and compute for transfer and processing,  Thus the cloud and data center market are proportionally growing with the organisations moving towards the trends of the day. The services offered by data center players are being shaped in sync to these trends and making the offerings more pro enterprise.

These trends evolving each day, have not only contributed to the growth of market in terms of revenues, but also to enhancements and advancements in the data center industry by demanding constant innovation as the essence.

Secure, safe and highly private platforms are being developed to address the security concerns of the industry.

Dynamic infrastructural needs demanding intelligent and smart eco-systems are being catered to. Automation and software driven work flows and architectures which enable a scale to fit environment which stand as the need of the hour, have paved path for solutions like software defined everything and self-service which extract the 100 % value out of the technology trends.

4. What does the future hold for this market in India?

The future is going to unveil a great scope and opportunity for the market. This is very much predicted and stands as no surprise. Investments are flowing in to India for the potential the nation carries as a market is tremendous.

The initiatives like Digital India to empower the nation digitally, prove to be the driving forces for organisations in delivering excellence to the last mile , either directly or indirectly in terms of ease of communication , every day  technology interference and many more. Make in India, Smart City, and Digital India as projects complement each other and would keep challenging the status quo of the Indian infrastructure layer and thus would help scale up quality services and solutions.

The market value, the spectrum of services, options to choose from and quality of delivery would escalate exponentially from the data center industry with the highly demanding eco system.

With the conducive environment built by the government in terms of regulations, India would turn out to be an encouraging digital hub for investments. Owing to the buzz created by data sovereignty today for enterprises, data centers located within the law of land would lead the show.

5. Which are the areas in Data center that will witness immense growth in coming time?

The booming growth was seen in data center market also takes along areas like DRaaS, Storage and Backup as a Service, Cloud, Analytics, and Software Defined Everything on a high tide.

With the increased level of digitization across operations, the need for backing up critical data has taken an upswing. Minimal of downtime or an outage cost heavily to organizations, as they affect their time to market and efficiency directly. Lessons learnt from the recent disasters (both natural and man-made) in the nation, have alerted the enterprises to be ready in terms of business continuity and have created a huge surge in the area of DR services.

With the ever increasing data volumes, from trends like IOT, Big Data storage solutions which scale dynamically are the need of the hour. Organizations today are spread across boundaries, with cross-continental data processes driving the businesses. To ensure no data loss and continuity in the process, without disruptions even in the case of any adversity backup coupled with active storage as a service is of high importance, thus creating a huge space of growth for the service.

Analytics extract the intelligence out of the data heaps, which otherwise only consume storage and space. Analytics thus enables data to deliver insights to make a difference in the business processes and performance, thus making analytics as a service a highly looked up to solution for enterprises today. Analytics as a Service offered coupled with data center services is hence going to be a package of choice for enterprises, as it drives more value back into their business.

Cloud phenomenon today no more remains an option for enterprises but has matured to a level where it is of strategic choice for them, to compete in their respective industries for higher market shares and ensuring quicker time to markets.  Solutions with high inbuilt security are fast becoming the choice of enterprises for parking their data.

Software Defined Everything is the next infrastructural shift that data centers would see, owing to the ease of operation with the smart quotient and intelligence added to a simple bricks and mortars structure.

6.What is the role of Channel Partners in India in Data center market? Are they well prepared to face newer challenges of Data center industry?

Channel partners play a key role in the datacenter market in taking the services to the last mile, expanding the delivery & support coverage. With cloud services touted to be a major play riding on datacentres in India, channel’s role has crossed over from sales enablers to IT transformation agents.

The level of readiness of channel in India is not at the point, where datacenter services are the mainstay of their business. This is large since the channel is has been perennially been comfortable in being the feeder for physical IT infra requirements for their customer. They are yet to take a holistic view of IT as customer’s business enabler.  , understand its IT footprint and having conversations that enable them to see both short term & long term aspects of customer engagement. Saying so, we are witness to some significant change in mindset of a section of channel fraternity in India, where they have have been the flag bearers of this strategic shift in the positioning of  the channel and being ready to graduate to the next level and take their business strategy transformation challenge head on. We as datacenter and cloud OEMs, own a bigger responsibility to enable this transformation.

7. How do you determine if a channel partner is ready to dip toes in Data center business? There are a lot of challenges partners face from the market on the subjects of cloud migration, security, and automation, how do you help them on these topics?

Most companies in India are slowly but steadily moving their on-premise workloads to the datacenter, riding on this trend we are seeing all firms currently reselling hardware or software products express interest to add datacenter solutions to their lines of businesses. The process of selection of channel partners is to initially engage on opportunities and post understanding their readiness to play the role of an IT transformation agent investing in partners with aligned resources and teams.

Cloud migration, integration, security, compliance, and automation are eminent challenges mainly caused due to an oversight by organizations moving to the cloud. Channel partners can create opportunities out of these challenges and increase their wallet share by advising and aligning IT with business objectives.
As a datacenter and cloud provider, we engage with our partners at a ground zero land handhold them in terms of opportunity qualification, rationalization, solution designing, technology knowledge transfer. We see ourselves playing a role of that of a mentor and enabler for our channel partners to not only help position the services right to their customers but also position themselves strategically into their customers’  larger scheme of thoughts.

8. What are the channel related activities you are currently doing for your partners?

The Pi partner program has been structured to enable our channel partners with the right solutions and skills through workshops, digital content -videos, case studies. Incentivizing them adequately to harness their capabilities and to ensure there is a mutually beneficial relationship. Our roadshows and co-funded events are domain specific to address the CIO’s operational and CFO’s equational painpoints, Our strong social media presence /and e-campaigns  provide the necessary marketing air cover for our partners. Our initiatives are more about enablement and empowerment of our channel partners, rather than transactional activities.

9. What are the direct benefits for a partner from this market?

Increased mindshare and wallet share are direct benefits that channel partners would see immediately as they add datacenter services & cloud to their product and services portfolio. They get elevated from a being a volume transactional player to a state where customer sees value in associating with them. They start finding themselves part of customer’s strategy whiteboard, than just being part of their requisition slip. They can be assured of healthy profitability and hence continuous growth.Suggest some tips who should be the ideal partner for taking up this business without much struggle?
With datacentres the lines between hardware and software have been blurred, these are very closely interlinked choices customers make when moving to a datacenter.  If you have a line of business in any of the enterprise platforms like SAP, Oracle, Microsoft products or technology areas like networking, storage, you will be able to play a pivotal role in working with your end customer as they make choices of datacenter solutions & services. There is definitely a learning curve, most datacenter use virtual alliance team that helps partners leverage the sales & tech capabilities of the firm enabling them to have tech deep dive conversations with their customers.

 

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