SAS aims 50% of mid-market revenue through channel sales by 2020-end

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Yunus Memon, Director – Alliance & Channels, India and South Asia, SAS

Yunus Memon, Director – Alliance & Channels, India and South Asia, SAS, shares the company’s channel strategies for 2019

Key highlights 2018 and opportunities for 2019
India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world and is expected to be one of the top three economic powers over the next 10-15 years. Fall in automation costs and rise of digital in 2018 has led to higher spends by industry. Hence adoption of new technologies is expected to accelerate economic growth in 2019. Instead of merely focusing on reducing the operational costs, the need for mandatory investments in adoption of these technologies will be required to gain competitive advantage. The industry is experiencing a significant shift from a few large deals to multiple small ones. Companies are expanding their business to Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities by adopting hub-and-spoke model, with Tier 1 cities acting as hubs and the subsequent tiers as network of spokes. Most of the delivery and consumption models have undergone a complete transformation. This implies that key to success in new geographies is to focus on building credible local presence, a high degree of domain expertise at competitive costs and attaining operational excellence.

Although the IT sector is facing multiple headwinds, but the overall industry continues to grow in customer base by servicing domestic needs. The growth of the B2B startup industry also represents a unique opportunity for our country to build innovative solutions for India and rest of the world.

Organisations across sectors will try to increase their competitive edge by exploring the power of data and analytics. Hence there’s a need to implement more sophisticated analytics – such as machine learning – to gain insights from data, understand customer preferences and drive marketing RoI.

Top tech trends for channel community
While the effects of digitisation, as well as GST, have their repercussions on the Indian market, traditional channel communities continue to realign their focus areas to improve business operations. The top three technology trends that the channel community should focus on should be AI, cloud adoption and IoT.

From predictions, recommendations, and advice to automated customer service agents and intelligent process automation, AI is changing the face of how we interact with computer systems. IDC has estimated that by 2019, 40 per cent of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services and by 2021, 75 per cent of enterprise applications will use AI.

The number of mid-sized companies converting to the cloud will continue to grow as we head further into 2019. With minimum operating cost, cloud has emerged as the most cost-effective option to manage the workloads and processes. As enterprises move to cloud, they will increasingly rely on their channel partners to support cloud integration and to expand market share.

IoT is a vast domain, but it is one of the next big opportunity for partners for which they need to begin build a practice. A McKinsey study also reveals that IoT offers a potential economic impact of US$ 4 trillion to US$ 11 trillion a year in 2025. But it becomes important for a partner to understand which areas of opportunity are going to be most impactful to their business.

Channel directions for partners
The goal at SAS is to have 50 per cent of mid-market revenue through channel sales by the end of 2020. This essentially means shifting significant focus from direct sales in the mid-market segment to that on partners, which essentially translates in some realignment to make the SAS products more mid-market friendly. As part of the mid-market channel initiative, SAS will be focusing on partner enablement programs, to ensure they have the necessary sales, delivery and support skills that match the SAS products they are selling.

Given this scenario, SAS is at an advantageous position and we are constantly working closely with our partners to help them invest and adopt Two-In-A-Box model. The model helps partners to build on the core competencies and drive specific value proposition, thus helping them define the right market mix and prioritise investments in people and technology.

With AI, cloud adoption and IoT as the key areas for partners to focus on, SAS continues to work closely with partners to leverage the huge momentum in these areas. SAS provides channel opportunities through its Managed Analytic Services Provider (MASP), reseller and OEM programs. All this, through a robust risk-reward revenue model, secures our partners and provides customers with a competitive edge. Moreover, increasing strategic alliances between domestic and international players to deliver solutions across the globe, is also a key area SAS focuses on.