CLS 2018 raises the bar for innovation and excellence

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Serving as a one-stop platform for India’s IT channel ecosystem, CRN Channel Leadership Summit 2018 deep-dived into a plethora of opportunities, innovation, and growth

The second edition of CRN India’s flagship Channel Leadership Summit (CLS), held in Goa on September 7-8, reiterated the the burgeoning growth of India’s IT channel community. Kickstarter of the two-day summit, the fireside chat with RS Shanbhag, CMD, Valuepoint Group reflected the promising future of the Indian channel community and how Valuepoint Group has embarked on its growth journey. Revealing to Srikanth RP, Group Editor, CRN and Express Computer, Shanbhag said, “The channel ecosystem has created a big future for itself. Valuepoint has set an aim to become a 300 million organisation by 2022; and we are ambitious and futuristic in our approach to achieve this growth. As part of our practice, we keep interacting with CIOs and the industry decision makers to keep pace with the latest trends. For instance, over the last five years, we have grown well in the cyber security space, Software Defined Networks and SDWAN.”

Sharing more, he informed that Valuepoint Group, in the SI business, is exploring opportunities in mobile services. Additionally, the organisation has created seven IP which have created US$22 – 23 million business, with over 40 per cent of profitability.

Indian Channel League
The major highlight of the two-day summit, was Indian Channel League (ICL), a first-of-its-kind initiative, wherein partners were challenged with real business problems and were required to present a viable solution to the same. The jury, which presented the business problems and evaluated the solutions include, Girish A Hadkar, General Manager – IT, Piramal Realty; and Shreyas Dukle, Head – IT Services, Corporate Functions & Group Companies, Mahindra & Mahindra.

The summit also recognised the excellence of players in the ecosystem with CRN Excellence Awards and CRN Channel Champion Awards.

CRN CLS Watch Full Session Videos

Knowledge and Trends
An interesting panel discussion titled, ‘Accelerating on the Intellectual Property Highway’, witnessed industry leaders delve into the importance of IP and how their respective companies are betting on this area. Moderated by Srikanth RP, the panel included Devesh Agarwal, CEO, Compusoft Advisors; Mohan Rajamani, MD, Cache Technologies & Communications; Munesh Jadoun, CEO, Znet Technologies; Samir Jhaveri, MD, XcellHost Cloud Services; and P S Rama Krishna, ED, Choice Solutions.

The session by Srikant Krishnan, MD, Dmacq Software, focused on how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is garnering traction among Indian organisations, as part of their digital transformation efforts. Krishnan said, “We have rich experience in implementing RPA globally, and have seen many success stories in India. With RPA, the time consumed for various tasks can be reduced significantly.” He also shared several use cases and success stories of Dmacq’s customers.

In his keynote address, Ajay Sawant, Managing Director, Orient Technologies, enlightened the audience on ‘Transformation of Partner Organisations’, wherein he spoke about Orient Technologies’ journey of transformation from its inception; and provided key insights into the challenges and how partner organisation should approach their business transitions in accordance with emerging technology trends. Sawant commented, “There should be a methodological approach for transition, and we have to evolve constantly. Skillsets are central to any transformation and we must focus on training and certification of our teams. Additionally, we should also encourage collaboration, because we can’t build on all the skills by ourselves.”

Two of the most trending technologies today include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). In his special address, Ranjan Chopra, MD, Team Computers, candidly educated the audience on the applications of AI and ML in India. He said, “AI has completely taken over many functions across industry verticals, and it can significantly increase your business potential. However, India is still behind China in terms of AI and ML application. We need to realise the potential and bet big on these technologies.”

Business opportunities
CLS 2018 was supported by a number of vendor companies and their sessions, which provided insights about their unique offerings for partners and their customers. Sanjay Zadoo, Country Head, Channel Business, Vertiv India provided a brief on Vertiv’s solutions. Vertiv also conducted a power discussion session, serving as a platform for partners to raise their queries and have elaborate business discussion. Whereas, Gaurish Lawande, Director – Systems Engineering, Nutanix India, focused on providing power to partners and transforming them from ‘builders’ to ‘scalers’.

Addressing cyber security and the evolving threat landscape, Debjyoti Guha, Pre-sales Head – India & SAARC, F-secure, shared how the channel ecosystem will play a more important role than vendors in the market, amidst the burgeoning demand for service models. In another session, Kaushal Singh, Head of Sales – HDVC, Panasonic India, elaborated on the company’s focus on IT and communications, security and display businesses.

With the ever increasing mobile technologies, Sukesh Jain, SVP, Samsung Electronics, shared that 80 per cent of transactions are done on mobile phones, and 90 per cent of the internet is consumed on mobile in India. He also sensitised partners on mobile technologies as a new opportunity for their business portfolio. Pramod Sharda, CEO, India & Middle East, IceWarp revealed key findings by the company – only 22 per cent of enterprises have collaboration tools, of which just five per cent are utilising all the collaboration tools. In a separate power discussion session, Sharda also spoke on costs and margins with partners; and how IceWarp is looking to build its partner base.

In a session titled ‘Winning with the ecosystem’, Kalyan Deep Ray, Manager – Global Partners Organisation, SAARC, Commscope, reiterated continued focus on its partner ecosystem, and how it is bullish on opportunities with extensive reach across the country. In another session on cyber security, Jyotish Werulkar, Country Sales Manager, Seqrite, shared how the company is uniquely positioned in the market. Werulkar also informed that 60 per cent of India’s top educational institutes are secured by Seqrite.

Speaking on a unique topic, Ratnesh Rathi, Director, Green IT Recycling Center, presented a new area of opportunities for the channel community. In his session titled, ‘Securing identities in the new digital world’, Vikram Gidwani, Business Head – South Asia, Entrust Datacard, while emphasising the significance of cyber security, encouraged partners to be part of the company’s journey.

Citing the significant growth achieved by Dell EMC, Anil Sethi, VP & GM – Channels, Dell EMC India, expressed gratitude towards its partner and channel ecosystem. Sethi said, “Channel partners, system integrators and distributors have played a critical role in empowering Dell EMC’s customers on their path towards digital transformation. The Dell EMC Partner Program has been instrumental in ensuring profitability and scale for all our partners in India and across the globe. We believe that the partner program will further catalyse our go-to-market strategy and business growth. We are committed to become the industry’s most trusted advisor to our customers.”