Seagate and channel partners leverage the data boom

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Sameer Bhatia, Director, Asia Pacific consumer business & Country Manager SAARC & India Seagate Technology
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With the advent of the fourth wave of industrial revolution within IT, Seagate Technology’s focus is on helping partners drive profitability by enabling them to embrace and monetise the new opportunities around edge computing and artificial intelligence. Powered by IT 4.0 – where connected homes, connected cities, AI-powered factories, autonomous vehicles, and media and entertainment content drive explosive data growth, there is a great opportunity for the company and its channel partners

The global storage company, Seagate Technology, incorporated in 1979, has many firsts to its credit. In 1980, Seagate launched the world’s first PC hard drive which was 5MB at a cost of US$ 1,500. In 2010, the company introduced the world’s first integrated solid-state hybrid drive, combining SSD-like speeds with HDD’s higher capacities and better economies. In 2012, Seagate was the first to achieve storage density of one terabit (one trillion bits) per square inch, in a HAMR demonstration. Fast forward to present, where data is the new fuel, oil, currency – Seagate is in such a position where most of the blue chip companies of the world nestle Seagate’s storage in the core to breed their digital transformation further.

Seagate is seeing enormous growth due to a surge globally in data creation and consumption. And in India too, over the past couple of years, Seagate is seeing a strong growth not only on the consumer side but also enterprise. While storage solutions catering to consumer needs – from everyday users and creative professionals to gamers comprise a larger chunk of our business here in India, the company is witnessing an increase in demand from and consequently, a shift towards enterprise.

Businesses of all sizes and across sectors are beginning to capitalise the potential of data to create value, and hence, are investing in building robust data storage and management infrastructure.

“Take video analytics as an example. The continued adoption of 4K resolution cameras and the proliferation of IoT devices are all contributing to the exponential growth in storage needs. We are seeing huge growth in video analytics as businesses realise its power to enable smart decision making and how it can return benefits to their customers. This trend is set to grow further over the next few years,” says Sameer Bhatia, Director of Asia Pacific Consumer Business Group and Country Manager for SAARC & India, Seagate Technology.

Mirroring global data trends, the increased use of technologies like IoT and AI on the back of the advent of 5G will translate to an increased demand for real-time data processing, along with a need for data agility in India.

“With nearly 30 per cent of the global datasphere being real-time by 2025, businesses in India are also poised to invest in robust infrastructure to support the ability to process more data at the Edge for faster and more efficient extraction of the value of data. As they increase their Edge investment, enterprises must have the right setup to withstand the huge increases in data volume and costs that are coming down the line. The future will be about Edge and cloud working together to help businesses make smarter decisions instantly and drive up productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction,” informs Bhatia.

Focused strategy
“As Henry Ford rightly said, ‘If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.’ We believe in a win-win relationship for the channel partners and distributors. We always work towards profitability to maintain a right RoI for their business. So as a company we will keep working to grow our channel partners and enable and equip them to have a healthy business growth and be successful,” stresses Bhatia.

“In engaging with customers, ensuring we have a good understanding of their strategy and future plans, enables us to more effectively assess their needs and deliver the solutions and technology that they need to succeed in a business environment that is more competitive than ever. In order to do so, we are continuously innovating to help our customers meet the changing infrastructure and data management needs that this explosive data growth demands. Our focus is to deliver the industry’s best performing drives that not offer higher capacity and unparalleled reliability, while maintaining a high degree of data integrity,” he adds.

“One such innovation is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) technology, which enables us to deliver higher capacity in the industry’s standard form factor, thereby providing customers with the best-cost-per-TB. To meet customer demand, our advanced engineering team is delivering the future of high-capacity hard drives now. Using HAMR technology, we recently built and tested the world’s first formatted and fully functioning 16TB enterprise hard drive platform in a standard 3.5-inch form factor — the highest capacity hard drives ever produced, and we are currently on-track to grow beyond 20TB per drive by 2020,” points out Bhatia.

According to him, the value potential of data is inhibited if the ability to rapidly access data does not keep pace with all that capacity, which is why there must also be increased performance alongside higher capacity. “Our answer to this is our Multi Actuator technology (MACH.2), which can double the data performance of future generation hard drives. That means customers with data-intensive applications will be able to continue to enjoy the highest levels of hard drive performance, while simultaneously keeping up with the need to manage vast, ever-increasing quantities of data,” he adds.

Data dividends
Data is the bedrock of India’s Digital Economy. “As governments and businesses in India accelerate on their journey to digital transformation, there will inevitably be a data deluge. A solid digital strategy will be key for success in the data age for organisations, with data technologies becoming central for productivity expansion, data monetisation, value creation and data security,” he says.

There will also be rapid growth in real-time and embedded data, with the country’s Smart Cities program and the National Institution for Transforming India’s (NITI Aayog) AI policy utilising more IoT and AI applications. In addition to that, more and more businesses are looking into turning unstructured data into business intelligence.

“To withstand the rigours of such market needs, Seagate offers the widest range of world-class product portfolio, from purpose-built drives for different usage scenarios to modular storage system components,” claims Bhatia.

Accordingly, there is an increased demand for real-time data-processing, as well as a need for data agility. Low-latency will be required in the type of digital storage used to manage data. Organisations will also need to build on their central cloud computing architecture and develop the ability to process – and, equally importantly, securely store – more data at the Edge.

Data driven digital disruption
“IoT real-time data will make up a large portion of this, with more than 150 billion devices that will be connected across the global datasphere. Data is also the lifeblood behind AI applications. Increased AI adoption will naturally lead to growth in data volumes, with organisations across industries stepping up the frequency, flexibility and immediacy of data analysis to drive strategic decisions and actions,” he adds.

With unprecedented data growth, enterprises today need to develop a robust data storage, management and capitalisation strategy to be successful. Importantly, organisations also need to have data agility – the ability to extract the value of data fast and efficiently. Not all data is created equal, and having data agility determines an organisations’ success through how well they can react to customers’ requirements, and market changes.

“As a leader in data storage solutions, Seagate continues to develop the industry’s broadest range of products to enable enterprises to select the right solution for their unique requirements, and to meet the ever-changing dynamics of IT,” he says.

Commitment towards enabling partners
“With the advent of the fourth wave of industrial revolution within IT, our focus is on helping partners drive profitability by enabling them to embrace and monetise the new opportunities around edge computing and artificial intelligence. Powered by IT 4.0 – where connected homes, connected cities, AI-powered factories, autonomous vehicles, and media and entertainment content drive explosive data growth, there lies a tremendous opportunity for us and our channel partners, as businesses in India are beginning to invest in robust infrastructure to support the ability to process more data at the Edge for faster and more efficient extraction of the value of data,” points out Bhatia.

Seagate’s partners play a vital role in its overall business. “We connect with our customers and partners in the markets through the Seagate Insider partner program. Seagate has been continuously building a robust partner base through this program, providing comprehensive training sessions and seminars as well as working on co-marketing initiatives. Seagate also continuously provides training for partners to better understand evolving opportunities in addition to regular products and technology trainings,” he says.

“As a brand we believe in growing the partner ecosystem and right set of partnerships. A lot of our focus is on being close to the reseller partners, understand their needs and enable them with right set of knowledge and tools, so that they can keep pace with the latest products and offerings and serve their customers with right products. Our number of partners has definitely been increasing, and we are growing rapidly with the right partnerships. Backed by our robust partner and reseller network, we continue to bring to market innovative solutions that will meet evolving business and consumer needs, deliver solutions that enterprises need in a business environment that is more competitive than ever,” he further adds.

Exponential growth of data volumes translates to demand for storage capacity. Seagate is focused on developing the enhanced drives and storage solutions to solve our customers’ most critical business problems as their storage workload gets heavier than ever before.

“Navigating to find and build the right data management infrastructure requires experience, expertise and wisdom. It’s about knowing what is needed, understanding why it is needed and implementing the optimal solution. That is why the channels and Seagate’s partners play a vital role,” says Bhatia.

According to Bhatia, Seagate has been a leader in the storage space with its latest product and innovation. In India, Seagate commands this leadership position – this would not have been possible without our distributors and channel partners. “Striving to make business a win-win for our partners at all times, we see ourselves as not just a storage provider, but a business partner who can build best-in-class solutions together with our channel partners – from the first stage of projects to developing a solutions pipeline to provide consultation, establish systems and provide technical support. Working towards their business success across all the cities in India is one of the key focus areas for us at Seagate each day,” he adds.

Bhatia further informs, “Through our distributors, we offer lots of programs to our channel partners to achieve the above objectives, which are in line with the IT industry and channel practices in India. Some of the programs to name are Seagate Regional Meets and Seagate Surveillance Weeks, as well as participation in trade shows such as IFSEC International, SecuTech, and Broadcast India to address the right audience, customers, CIO round-tables, events sponsorships, sales staff trainings and certifications for our partner staff.”

“Seagate’s SkyHawk Partner App is a great example of how we empower our partners and customers. Designed specifically for India, the SkyHawk Partner App enables partners to calculate the storage needs and investment required on the spot. It provides online warranty service booking and tracking, and provides instant connectivity to SeaCare centres. Our aim is to support our partners in maximising their results by offering the best and most optimal storage solutions and services. This app has reached 10,000 downloads,” he adds.

All the above activities helps the channel partners to understand the products and services better and offer the right set of products to end users based on their specific needs and requirement.

Emphasising the importance of the channel partners Bhatia stresses, “Our channel partners are critical to our growth here in India and act as extension of our business since they help us reach business segments that we want to expand into. Our partners’ success translates to our success and hence, we are committed to driving channel growth and development by value addition,”

Pointing out that the market in India is on an upward trajectory, with widespread digital deployments and a remarkable demand for storing, analysing and managing large quantities of data efficiently, Bhatia says, “Owing to rising adoption of AI and proliferation of IoT, consumers and enterprises are generating and aggregating data in humongous volumes. To cater to these opportunities, our partners play a critical role in marketing Seagate’s innovative solutions that will meet evolving enterprise and consumer needs. At the same time, we learn from our partners’ data challenges and develop solutions together. On the other hand, partners benefit from their association with Seagate with access to industry’s best performing drives as well as necessary know-how and tools to serve their customers with right products. They are empowered by ready access to solutions, playbooks, and technical experts that enable them to solve problems for their customers in the best possible manner.”

Partner Speak

VK Bhandari,
CMD, Supertron Electronics

IT product distribution and services company, Supertron Electronics has created a niche for itself in the market through its product and solution offerings over the years. “We also drive through value-added approach based on the business requirements. We act as the extended arms of vendors and believe in creating business opportunities for brands we get associated with by reaching out to Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations and geographies. We have increased our coverage of urban and semi-urban locations in India on one hand and grew our trade partners on the other,” says VK Bhandari, CMD, Supertron Electronics.

“We have also strengthened our indirect reach, assisting the secondary sale of partners through the appointment of executives who help grow the business, supplementing the role played by trade partners whose focus is often scattered across a number of products, thus, playing a steroidal role. Our expertise is our reach and robust logistics system,” adds Bhandari.

Value addition
In this highly competitive environment, an organisation needs to develop differentiation in order to break the clutter and stand out as preferred partners to its customers. “One of the key differentiators is our penetration and reach. We are not only the logistic partner for our vendors, but we add value in distribution by creating a market for brands. We work very closely with our vendors based on their specific needs and their roles as national distributors or regional distributors. Our services and support have enabled partners to work with Supertron comfortably and benefit from end-to-end solutions we offer. In addition, our entry in to new business segments like gaming solutions and becoming a vendor for large e-commerce players fortifies our presence in today’s times of digital disruption. The introduction and implementation of efficient processes and in-depth client experience have been crucial in providing us with an edge over our peers,” emphasises Bhandari.

Growing together
Bhandari points out, “It has been almost two decades since we are a Seagate partner – over 15 years as a national distributor, and about five years prior to that as a sub-distributor. The tie-up with Seagate was the turning point of our entire business. We started growing fast and spread our wings across India. With a strengthened partnership with Seagate, we are in a win-win relationship, achieving new heights of ROI success and business profitability.”

“Seagate Insider program for partners has given us a remarkable opportunity to grow and expand our business as it provides product knowledge, marketing materials, service support tools, and technical training – these resources help educate partners on the vast product line of Seagate. It is beneficial in helping us grow with Seagate and deepen the partner relationships,” Bhandari informs.

“We have been receiving endless support and cooperation from Seagate, in every possible way – from main distribution frame to claim settlements, schemes to purchase price, purchase order, sales invoice, after-sales services, and many more. Seagate’s regional heads are equally supportive to drive the business, its development and growth,” stresses Bhandari.

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