Security will be a vital domain for our channel ecosystem besides cloud and networking, says Ashok Kumar, CEO, RAH InfoTech.
RAH Infotech as a technology Value Added Distributor (VAD) Company added more than 100 Tier-1 and Tier-2 channel partners apart from a few Tier-3 partners in 2017. India based RAH works with channel partners mainly operating in domains of security, cloud computing and networking. Ashok Kumar, CEO & MD, RAH Infotech talks on the new challenges for VAD in 2018, impetus on security channels and the business climate for 2018.
What three big changes you have witnessed in IT VAD space in the past couple of years? How has RAH Infotech adapted accordingly to stay successful?
Fast changing technology trends has infused more dynamic flavor to the market that includes IT distribution space to a large extent. Intense competition, shrinking margins and non-availability of quality resources in the India market have impacted the IT VAD (Value Added Distributor) space in a big way since 2016.
With most of our technology OEMs, we have entered into exclusive distribution agreement wherein we have taken the competition out of the picture, and exclusivity as a VAD helps us get decent margins. To the extent possible, we develop the talent in-house so that our dependency on the external resources is minimized.
Many IT VADs are exploring non- hardware business models to distribute new technologies like Cloud. What opportunities do you see in India?
Cloud is clearly the future of IT. We have already embraced this technology and we are leaving no stone unturned to have as many tech OEMs onboard who offer cloud-based solutions.
Keeping the channels updated on the four technology domains of SMAC – Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud is extremely crucial. We constantly keep in touch with our channel community through social media apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and our monthly newsletter TechByte and WebEx through which we keep the partners updated on all the latest developments at our end and on SMAC.
Channel partners at large experience difficulty to transition from the traditional hardware- centric model to software (or services / cloud) model. Comment.
There is still potential in hardware appliances market like firewalls, networking swtiches, UTMs for channel ecosystem especially in SME market and Tier 2/3 cities of India.
But it is the market need and customers’ business demand that is primarily driving the cloud adoption. Over a period of time most of the hardware appliances will be replaced by software or cloud solutions as more enterprises and organizations embrace this technology.
In India though, it is long way before cloud becomes mainstream across the different verticals. However in the near future, hardware appliances will find few takers and most of them, barring a few, will be replaced by software-based solutions.
RAH Infotech has been extremely focused on enterprise IT security since its inception. What would be your mantras for the security channels in India?
IT Security is the only domain which probably will not be affected by any recession. In the recent times, we witnessed all kinds of attacks on enterprise networks including DDoS, Ransomware, Malware, Phishing and Advanced persistent threats. All these advanced threats have made comprehensive security solutions a must for the companies.
Security domain will continue to thrive as enterprises build and rebuild their security posture with new technologies to stay secure from the growing menace of hackers.
RAH Infotech works with over half a dozen security OEMs and their latest technologies to keep Indian companies safe and secure. We work with over 50 security-focused channel partners in the country. My message to them would be to adopt new and most advanced technologies present in the market today. They should keep updating their technical skills on a regular basis to be able to understand and comprehend customer requirements and position right products and solutions to their customers.
How do you foresee IT VAD space change in 2018 and what business plans will keep you ahead of competition in India?
According to a study by Gartner, India will be the second largest IT market in APAC by 2018 which will see many new OEMs entering this market making the already competitive market even more intense. With shrinking margins and increased competition, it is essential to introduce only the cutting-edge technologies and also have exclusive rights for distribution. We have been working on both these aspects to maintain competitive edge.
RAH Infotech has consistently grown 50% year-on-year in the past three years. Right geographical expansion, identifying right technologies (to suit current market trends) and hiring right sales resources have been the mantras for our rapid growth in the past few years.