Channels aligning with HDS to reap profits: Raghuram Krishnan

By Saheli Sen Gupta Feb 17th 2017
Channels aligning with HDS to reap profits: Raghuram Krishnan

Raghuram Krishnan, Director, Partners/ Alliances, Hitachi Data Systems, talks of new partner programs and why channel partners must align with them to be market leaders.

With an enhanced focus on IoT and analytics, Hitachi Data Systems has several new packages on display. From being an intense part of the Smart City program, to getting in the middle of digital transformation, the company is now working towards growing its already mammoth channel strength.

ChannelWorld India spoke to Raghuram Krishnan, director, Partners/ Alliance of Hitachi Data Systems about how 2016 was, the company's plans for 2017, channel strategies and how it's looking at the Indian market. “Channel partners will play a very big role in the smart cities’ project. While OEMs have solutions specific to smart cities but to deliver a holistic and complete solution, we have to collaborate with leaderships partners,” says Krishnan.

Edited excerpts.

With the shift from legacy IT to analytics and IoT, how are you optimizing these new solutions for the channels partners?

At HDS, we haven’t shifted our focus but are only enhancing it. The shift will only affect the portfolios of products that we carry today. Storage forms a very critical part of the business. Now, it is only logical that we not only provide the infrastructure but also manage the data and provide insights as well. Hence, analytics and IoT become a part of the logical extension of the business, so that is our strategy.

It is important to know that across the industry, everyone is moving towards digital transformation, including channel partners. And so are their customers. Interestingly, the market has very few OEMs offering a complete product. With this complete and compulsive offering, our partners are able to witness the importance of customers in the business value chain.

Depending on the segment of the marketed partner, there are technologies which get absorbed either in the capex model or the cloud model. Our program now revolves around in completely understanding which market to target.

Any partner who wants to be profitable has to move up the value chain for his customer and that is where HDS comes in.

We have segmented partners to understand which markets to address and our strategy is to help them address that market either through cloud or through a capex model.

Do you think the Indian Market is evolving at the same pace?

It will be fair to assume that India is adopting these technologies. The number of IoT entrants in the market in the last 5 years and their prominence, especially in the channel space is astounding. This prominence is another reason to believe that people are looking at data, not only from the infrastructure environment but are also their datacenters to make informed business decisions.

Which technologies is HDS focusing upon and who are your competitors?

At HDS, our focus right now is around digital transformation which encompasses a lot of technologies like IoT, cloud or analytics, which is also in demand as a platform. All these pave the road towards digital transformation. Today, our competitors would be the likes of Dell-EMCs and NetApps, with various others in the storage space, the converged space and analytics space.

Has the HP bifurcation and the Dell-EMC merger helped you acquire more partners?

These movements could play a role, but cannot be the sole reason for partners to align with us. It is true that these changes are all happening at the same time but the core reason for partners to align with us are our offerings and products. Any partner who wants to be profitable has to move up the value chain for his customer and that is where HDS comes in. With our analytics, IoT and other platforms, we are helping them position at the highest level of the value chain for their customers. 

How has 2016 been for HDS and what are your goals for 2017?

2016 has been pretty good for us. From our partner prospective, 89 percent of our revenue has come through them. We also experienced a YoY growth of 40 percent. We are absorbing and attracting more partners to come and start doing business with us.

We have launched some brilliant channel programs for select VARs across the country. The complete profile has been built around how to sustain profitable and valuable partners in the market. It was very well received by the partners present at the launch.

You will see a lot of action talks about HDS in the market place in the future as we have some exciting solutions, which really surprised our partners. We are completely pumped up about the new portfolio and are in the process of rolling it out, making the investments and getting the boot camps done. We are also looking at involving SIs and other alliance partners in this very soon.

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