Krishna Raj Sharma, CEO, iValue InfoSolutions, in an exclusive interaction with CRN, speaks about the significant initiatives of the company, contribution from Tier 2 markets and the focused business strategy for growing the enterprise segment
What have been the recent major initiatives at iValue Infosolutions? How has the market been for the company?
We have undertaken important initiatives in various areas of our operation. In terms of resource planning, we have moved from 97 to 127. Recruitment is very challenging nowadays and getting the right resource for the right position and training the resource is also a challenge. We have gone through all those stages and now, we are in action.
As part of our efforts for the channels community, we have worked on an initiative for enterprise channel management for our large partners, who make significant contribution to our business. Around six people have joined us across the country and we have been managing close to 40 accounts. The enterprise vertical, like others, has listed accounts assigned to each sales person. We have listed around 150 accounts across the country to be addressed by around six people. These efforts have provided a good start for us this financial year and the government business is also moving well. Now, it is in a high speed mode which will result in good revenue for us.
While you are already working in the BFSI and government space, which other sectors contribute to the enterprise business?
For us the enterprise is a non-government and non-BFSI vertical. We consider all other accounts as enterprise accounts, wherein we have listed 150 such accounts. This is the first experience we want to have with some good traction and results. In one or two years, we may split this into one or two more separate verticals.
How has the enterprise channel management come into the fold?
We get around 60 per cent of our business from enterprise channels. Earlier, we did not have a dedicated focus and team to manage them. The business and the value of business coming from this is increasing to multi-million dollar mark. We have also found a new breed of channel partners which is coming forward, especially catering to the government vertical. We call them as non-IT partners, who are very large partners, but different from traditional IT channel.
These partners are addressing a specific segment – Smart Cities. This is another reason for us to start enterprise channel management. Our channel basket has suddenly increased, these are the partners with whom we would not have had great traction earlier; but, there is a need, as they are going in for large government orders. Their operations as well as go-to-market is also little different from traditional ones; their departments and offices are spread across different cities. It makes sense to work with them as the bids are huge.
What kind of split do you have for enterprise channel and non-enterprise channel; how is the contribution from each of them?
Tier 2 channel contributions are significantly increasing. We receive about 45 to 55 per cent of contribution from the enterprise channel and the Tier 2 channel community. Largely, the enterprise channel management would be dedicated to the BFSI and the government verticals and on the other side, we will also have great number of partners who would be contributing into enterprise. Additionally, we also have non-enterprise accounts which are called commercial accounts.
What have been the significant factors that have led to the increased contribution from Tier 2 partners?
We have a concept called ‘Product Champ’ (Product Champion), wherein a partner carries certain products to his accounts under his revenue target and he hits out in the market. We have a decent number of Product Champs in the field. Next, we have brought in significant sign-ups and our running products have increased the breadth, which means that more partners are coming up with product sales. We have larger manpower in the field, which brings in new relationships with our channels.
What are the best practices followed by iValue that will help the company reap benefits in the long run?
One great learning is the infrastructure and business around applications. In any organisation, like a bank, where there is a core linking application or a sub core application, or a PSU with an ERP solution or even a telco with a billing solution – there is a core application which drives the business. Our business is around the infrastructure of protecting these applications and securing the data. Protect the data, protect the network and protect the application; this is the learning that we are replicating our enterprise business.
In the enterprise segment, is there a particular vertical that you plan to target in order to get more business?
Currently, it is an open field and verticals have been regional-centric for us. South India has been largely focused on IT/ITES. Whereas, the Western region is centred around the BFSI sector, and North has been largely focused on government business for us. We also have many non-listed BFSI acounts in the West. Numerous NBFC and non-NBFC accounts are under the enterprise segment. All PSU banks are listed under enterprise for us, and more government insurance companies and banks are under that umbrella. In the North, telco-centric accounts are under the enterprise segment; whereas, the South market is IT centric.
Which are some of the key technologies which you are betting big on?
Security is the largest growing market for us, under which there are new products coming in. The adoption of cloud is increasing, which presents a large opportunity. Few markets like East India are performing well for us; in fact, this is another growing market for us. The Eastern market would grow pretty significantly, and we will make an increasing investment into the Eastern region to get additional revenue for the few years.
Going forward, there will be more demand for MSSPs. How much of your focus is on upskilling or reskilling your current resources?
We have been investing money, energy and resources in getting skilled resources to deliver certain services as professional services. Hence, it is going to be an add-on offering to our partners. There are various non-IT partners who may not have resources specific to security, which presents a huge opportunity for us wherein along with product sales we can also help them with in offering professional services.
In your observation, are cloud providers taking away your partners’ business?
Cloud providers are adding new opportunities for us; and we would add solutions for the cloud moving forward. Cloud players are significantly different from the on-premise product partners. The kind of licenses they would need to sell along with their products, services and subscriptions would create lots of services opportunities.
Services opportunities, tagged with subscriptions, will be much more than selling captive products.
With the changing market dynamics, what has been the success mantra for iValue InfoSolutions?
The credit goes to our team, which understands the value delivered to the market. Unique initiatives gives us early learning from customers, higher win and insights to customers’ business. Moreover, our interaction with channels has been one of the biggest success drivers for us. Our business happens 100 per cent through channels and they have been a great support.