One of the prime focus areas for any channel-driven OEM is to ensure that it provides an all-encompassing tool that helps its partners track sales, learn about products and services, and engage with customers in a seamless manner. Schneider Electric was quick to spot this opportunity and developed a tool to help its partners propagate business and achieve mutual growth.
A one-on-one with the man spearheading channel sales at Schneider Electric gives us a glimpse into why edge applications will be the next big thing.
M Gurudutt, Director - Channels (India and SAARC) at Schneider Electric started his IT career at Wipro ePeripherals, following which he help several top sales portfolios in companies like Hewlett Packard India and Sun Microsystems. He has been leading the channel sales and midmarket business at India and SAARC for over seven years now.
How do you foresee Schneider Electric’s business growth in 2019? Where do you see this growth coming from?
Businesses have evolved over the years and the urge to improve consistently has led both partners and vendors to try different models to stay pertinent in the market. We are hopeful to witness a similar trend in 2019 and in the coming years as well.
The industry is transforming rapidly to keep up with customer demands. Cross selling and everyday innovation will drive growth this year. ‘Value add’, will graduate into ‘one stop solution’ in 2019. This growth is likely to be led by our partners who dare to disrupt and explore all permutations and combinations of different business models to fulfil the growth aspirations.
IT is going through technology transformation where IoT based application is putting pressure on last mile availability. We also see huge focus on edge applications, which will be one of the key growth drivers.
What are the challenges the industry is facing from a customer expectation point of view?
Changing customer requirement with the development of new technologies, virtualization, cloud computing, collocation requires creating consistent new opportunities. Meanwhile, concerns about energy costs and efficiency also continue to multiply.
There is going to be convergence in IT and OT platforms and customers will be looking out for the solution which looks at infrastructure as one entity and not in silos.
“There is going to be convergence in IT and OT platforms and customers will be looking out for the solution which looks at Infrastructure as one entity and not in silos.”
How is Schneider Electric ensuring better engagement and training for its partners?
We have a revamped online portal for our IT channel partners. Through the portal, Schneider Electric ensures significant updates have been made to partners’ personal pages to help them track their requirements, allowing sales, presales and owners to access what is most important to them.
The Partner Portal for IT channel partners features a variety of online support tools and access to numerous training guides and practical solutions. It also serves as a network, which provides access to information on the latest datacenter infrastructure products and solutions.
Schneider Electric is a channel-focused organisation, where we place great value on the mutually beneficial relationship we have with our partners. This Partner Portal fits perfectly with what we offer our partners, and allows us to work closely with them as they move through the channel.
In addition to that, certifications form a critical part of the development of our partners. Individual members within the partners can intuitively manage their certifications, allowing the partner to maintain and achieve higher partner status.
In 2019, our focus for the partner program will be largely on EcoStruxure and Edge Initiatives. EcoStruxure is our IoT-enabled open and interoperable system architecture and platform delivering enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity for our customers.
Which technology trends are most likely to make a huge impact on channel partners in 2019?
The three tech-trends that are likely to impact channel partners are:
• Security and surveillance: We see channel partners expanding verticals and stepping into the security area for better RoI and sustainable business in a big way.
• Cloud computing: With its minimum operating cost, cloud has lured many small and mid-level along with large businesses towards adoption. Various cloud environments offer vast opportunities for partners.
• Artificial intelligence: Although in its nascent stage, AI has managed to disrupt the entire business ecosystem and is going to bolster the growth further in 2019. The enterprise channel has huge prospects in this flourishing business vertical which is the near future of the industry.
• Edge computing: Here the opportunities for channel partners are widespread, spanning edge datacenter services to network connectivity.
“Whether our partner is from the electrical, IT, security, building automation, structured cabling systems or any other segment, we aim to support our partners in excelling in their business field and develop new areas of expertise.”
With the proliferation of IoT devices and the strong growth in streaming content and applications, as well as for mission critical industries, the need for low-latency and high-availability connectivity is a must. This is consistently pushing the market for edge computing, further opening up opportunities for channel partners.
If there is one key message for your partners for 2019, what would it be?
We have been working consistently to bring together an array of components to meet the needs of customers with the support of our partners. Whether our partner is from the electrical, IT, security, building automation, structured cabling systems or any other segment, we aim to support our partners in excelling in their business field and develop new areas of expertise.
We believe that great people and partners make Schneider Electric a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, diversity and sustainability will ensure that ‘Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment’.