C Sukumaran, Director, Consumer System Products Division and Image Communication Products Division, Canon 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 channel industry has been evolving rapidly as IT technologies continue to evolve. One of the key highlights has been the transformation of traditional channel and its expansion to new business verticals including software and solutions. Additionally, there has been an increase in the adoption of cloud MPS by SMEs as it is less CapEx intensive and low on operational costs.
For 2020, we are seeing a monumental shift in how buyers acquire products and services and how companies are reacting with their go-to-market strategies.
It will be a redefining year for IT channel as they face unprecedented challenges. This is the time when innovation will play the lead in terms of adopting new technologies, building scale with new products and services, and expanding reach by creating new customer segments. Business practices will also undergo a change with channel now understanding and implementing business continuity practices in place.
What are the top three technology trends that channel community should be focusing on, and why?
In the printing segment, the top technology transformation that we will see is increase in the adoption of connected and cloud-enabled MFDs. In order to increase productivity and provide connectivity to its mobile workforce, SMEs will implement high speed cloud enabled network printers.
Work from home (WFH) is the new buzzword and this will make Wi-Fi enabled ink tank printers a standard equipment in each home. There will be a surge in the demand for home printers and consumables.
Customers are spending both time and effort in capturing amazing photographs and we are seeing a keen interest and popularity in home photo-printing. Studios are also offering quick photo printing services to customers using inkjet printers. The demand for photo-printers will evolve this year.
What are the top channel directions your company has set for partners, and where should partners invest to be aligned with these directions?
Canon India works very closely with its channel partners and value-added resellers (VARs) in all the major cities for our portfolio of printers to our consumers. We have two pronged approach when it comes to the channel policy. For our B2C channel partners who cater to our retail consumers, our focus is on expanding retail presence. We are expanding our Canon PIXMA zones across India. Canon PIXMA zones feature live demo units of our range of printers which helps consumers make an informed choice. We have various formats of PIXMA zones which can be adapted to different types of stores, both in metro and non-metro locations. We currently have 78 PIXMA zones and will expand this to 150 by end of this year.
For our B2B channel partners who are catering to SOHO, SME, and government customers, we are helping partners build both scale and competencies in new technologies. We work closely with our Japanese HQ to bring new products and customised solutions to the Indian market. At the same time, we are expanding our B2B footprint in this market rapidly. We are working closely with SIs and VARs on large projects, both in the SME and government space.