Vijay Wadhawan, Business Head, System Solutions Division, Panasonic India shares the company’s channel strategies for 2020
What have been the key highlights of 2019 and how 2020 will be an important year for the IT channel industry?
The year 2019 saw gradual acceptance of new-age technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), etc, to drive growth for organisations. We at Panasonic, have equipped our channel partners with proper resources and capabilities to not only educate our consumers, but also offer them innovative solutions that cater to their futuristic needs. For instance, our Toughbooks are powered with advanced technologies and are designed to function in extreme conditions and rugged situations at factories, oil rigs, defense, etc. They are capable of complementing all sorts of work, be it in-house scenarios or, across mission critical applications such as that in defense industries.
Our Toughbooks integrate well with in-built configurable ports like barcode reader, RFID reader, serial port, dedicated GPS, NFC, 4G, hot-swap battery, LAN, full USB, Real Sense camera, thermal camera to name a few, and thus, catering to a multitude of sectors such as automotive, pharma, manufacturing, defense, and logistics and many more. As the market dynamics and technological landscape continue to evolve, partners struggle to catch up to the ever-increasing consumer demands. Towards this, partner companies need to have a robust understanding of consumer’s varied technological needs to achieve customer satisfaction and deploy relevant solutions to help their customers achieve business objectives efficiently.
What are the technology trends that channel community should be focusing on, and why?
We are committed to making our channel partners ready for the changing times and support them in this journey. Over the last few years, we have been seeing a transformation within the channel community to not only serve the customers better, but also undergo digital transformation themselves. Channel partners are evolving across multiple touchpoints including customer experience, technology support, etc, while also building the skillsets that they need to retain the current client base and win newer ones.
Channel partners, today, cannot survive by simply reselling the products or sticking to the traditional business model. The ones that haven’t yet, will soon need to move from a vendor-led model to a consumer-focused model. This would mark a significant shift from merely fulfilling a vendor’s demands to creating a new set of offerings that can address the consumer’s diverse needs. Partners will also have to build the required technical expertise and provide business oriented solutions to stay ahead of the curve.
As technology continues to evolve, channel community will also have to look at different ways of enhancing their offerings at optimised costs to constantly stay relevant and at par with the market demands. We believe, a seamless integration of technologies to offer solutions is imperative and the channel community should focus on investing in the same, to decrease the impact of disruptions brought by these changing dynamics.
With newer disruptive technologies such as AI and connected ecosystem replacing the traditional technological infrastructure, the channel community will have to look at devising solutions that can allow them to operate on cloud, explore new IoT based collaborations and devise new ways to streamline operations, increase efficiencies and enable better decision making aiding business profitability.
What are the top channel directions your company has set for partners, and where should partners invest to be aligned with these directions?
While there is no ideal model for channel partners to follow in an industry which changes rapidly, it is imperative for an evolved channel partner to prove to be a trusted partner for the consumers and at the same time be instilled with deep technical skills to deal with complex IT challenges face.