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3in Solutions : Profiting from Services

Added on Dec 20, 2012 by Yogesh Gupta

3in Solutions derives a major chunk of its revenues from the services business. This ensures healthy bottom lines and longer-lasting customer loyalty.

Arun SG, employed with Frontier Business Systems for 15 years, took a call to launch his own company, 3in Solutions, in December 2010. “With the rich industry know-how behind me, I clearly understood the business intricacies of partner organizations. I also realized that, apart from large systems integrators, there is a huge gap across regional channel partners,” says Arun SG, Director, 3in Solutions.

There was a colossal opportunity brewing for Arun to position his newly-formed company between a small-time reseller and big-time SI. And he took the plunge.

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Timing is Everything

It was the right time for Arun to start 3in Solutions in March 2011. Frontier had aggressively started focusing on services over the last three to four years. “The experience of that business model has helped me today. If I had set up my IT shop earlier, then I would have been just another reseller, and not a services-oriented systems integrator!” he says.

The numbers back up his claim. “In the first year of operations, close to 50 percent of our revenues were services oriented. This fiscal, though hardware volumes have increased, we will still end with at least half of our yearly revenues from services,” he says.

Part of the reason is that his company focuses on implementations and services. Hardware service includes implementation which is one-time (VMware or Citrix) and takes 20 to 25 days. His engineers travel for the implementation across cities where 3in Solutions do not have a branch office. “In the implementation business, outsourcing does not help as it does not give any margins.”

Arun believes that apart from large players like Wipro and Avnet, none of the smaller partners can deliver solution-based offerings and services with technical expertise and full-fledged support. “This has made us a leading SI in the marketplace in a short span of time,” he says.

Creating the Brand

Any start-up partner company needs to gain access with enterprise customers. “Customers have their loyalties with existing channel partners. However, enterprises do need complete solutions including server, storage, networking, and UPS, hence we engaged with various vendors to emerge as single point source,” he says.

However he clarifies, “We were clear not to position ourselves as a reseller or just another box pusher; but as a solution provider capable of offering simplified solutions to enterprises.”

A big advantage, says Arun is that many vendors know of his reputation as someone capable of carrying their solutions as a brand ambassador to customers.

It also helps that 3in Solutions isn’t weighed down by many of the protocols larger players need to put in place. “This limited directory translates into fast decisions and probably winning more deals. We are not as process driven as big companies, which allows us to be flexible with customer needs,” he says.

Teething Issues

During the company’s first few months, many enterprises worked with 3in Solutions. Others, he recalls, pigeonholed his company as a start up, making it tough for him to convince them to give 3in Solutions opportunities. “One opportunity is enough for us to hold that account for ever,” he says.

Another challenge is that established systems integrators have adequate financial power behind them. “They can easily execute deals around worth Rs 3-4 crore. Most customers do not look at us for such high-value deals though we have good credit limits in the industry,” he says.

Big deals never come to start-up companies as most of these orders are stitched up by vendors and bigger partner organizations. There is also lack of focus from principals as they engage more with big partner organizations, says Arun.

Pulling the Plug

There is more emphasis at 3in to target large enterprises. From April, the company will start a branch at Chennai. There is also a plan for service outlet in Mumbai as it has a lot of implementations in Mumbai and Pune, says Arun.

Well-versed with the hierarchy of vendors, Arun often calls them personally for any issues including fixing customer problems instantly. “The decade-plus years I put in the industry has educated me in terms of which is the right button to press in case of an emergency. This ensures customer stickiness,” he says.

Bigger partners might have financial strength to win orders but the ‘business relationship’ with vendors helps us to a large extent, he says.

“It’s my dream to start operations in Singapore from a logistics perspective and other service segment,” he says.

The company name ‘3in Solutions’ is derived from three ‘ins’: Innovative, intelligent and integrated solutions. And that’s precisely what enterprises want in their modern IT infrastructure, says Arun.


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