Channel has been at the core of our strategy: Shrinivas Chebbi, Schneider Electric

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In an exclusive interaction with CRN, Shrinivas Chebbi, President, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric shares insights into the company’s channel strategy and how customers and partners are leveraging its EcoStruxure IoT platform

How critical has been the role of channel in Schneider Electric’s growth story? 

The channel has been at the core of our strategy. Today if you look at the 28 billion Euro turnover of Schneider Electric Group worldwide, more than 55 per cent to 60 per cent of this goes through different types of channels to the customers. We’ve got channel partners of all sizes and scale. On one side, we may have a channel partner dealing with just one technology of Schneider Electric and there are those dealing with the entire spectrum of our technologies.

We serve primarily four markets through our technological platforms – Buildings, Residential, Industry, and Energy and Infrastructure. To serve these markets, we have got five technology domains. And our channel partners leverage these technologies to address the customer requirements.

We have a much matured channel model, wherein there are different types of channel partners, including distributors who are basically stocking and then selling our products. Then, there are ‘panel builder partners’, under which there are further three or four sub-segments. Besides, there are system integrators.

We run different programs for these partners. In fact, we have got one of the most admired channel partner programs for the system integrators around the world, called ‘EcoXpert’, which is an esteemed partnership between Schneider Electric and the world’s leading technology providers with best-in class system integration competencies. It is a worldwide network of our trained and certified partners in building optimisation, power management, and energy efficiency.

As far as the EcoXpert channel partner programme is concerned, how significant has been this move? 

EcoXpert also happens to be a 2017 CRN Five Star Partner Program Award winner worldwide. It is one of the most matured and comprehensive programmes and rewarded as the most advanced programme by the governments as well. EcoXpert programme is actually part of EcoStruxure, which is Internet of Things (IoT) platform of Schneider Electric. This EcoStruxure platform is the key spearhead offer for EcoXperts.
EcoStruxure is the most effective technology IoT platform for creating huge efficiency and productivity gains within the enterprises. This platform makes even more sense especially in view of all the urbanisation, digitisation, Make in India programme of the government and Smart City initiative. All these technologies, which are within Schneider Electric’s core areas, are available to our EcoXperts channel partners so that they can create a big difference to any infrastructure, building or industrial setup.

Can you share more details of EcoStruxure IoT platform?

When you look at EcoStruxure IoT platform, it is by far recognised one of the most comprehensive technology stack. The EcoStruxure architecture and platform deliver IoT-enabled solutions at scale for building, grid, industry and data center customers. The enhanced architecture and platform is open, scalable and interoperable, connecting the three core layers of Schneider Electric’s technology stack, from connected products, to edge control, to applications, analytics and services. This next generation EcoStruxure delivers enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity of IoT-enabled operations.

EcoStruxure enables Schneider Electric, its partners and end-user customers to develop scalable and converged IT/OT solutions that deliver innovation at every level to an organisation or enterprise. Leveraging connectivity and data to create controls and actionable business insights, with the combined power of analytics and closed-loop applications, Schneider Electric empowers customers and partners to augment operations to reach new levels of operational efficiency, sustainability, asset performance and people productivity. EcoStruxure fosters open innovation and interoperability and is developed in partnership with leading standards organisations and best-in-class technology leaders.

EcoStruxure builds on Schneider Electric’s long-standing product and system leadership to provide the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of inter-operable and cloud-connected and/or on-premise technologies organised around its three layers of technology innovation:

The first layer builds on Schneider Electric’s core competency in developing connected products with embedded intelligence, such as sensors, medium and low voltage breakers, drives and actuators

The Edge Control layer gives organisations the critical capability to manage their operations on-premise as well as from the cloud depending on their needs. This includes connected control platforms with remote access, advanced automation and operator override capabilities. Local control and firewall protection is included to maximise the benefits, especially for mission-critical applications

Schneider Electric’s focused investment in R&D and product development in the critical areas of software, analytics and services, coupled with the integration of recent acquisitions such as Invensys, Telvent and Summit Energy forms the third layer of the stack – a portfolio of apps, analytics and services. EcoStruxure enables the most extensive breadth of vendor-agnostic apps, analytics and services on open IP protocols in order to work with any hardware, system, or control

EcoStruxure is designed to meet the core customer challenge of implementing IoT solutions seamlessly, cost-effectively and at scale. The redefined IoT platform bridges the IT/OT gap and connects the three core layers of Schneider Electric’s innovation technology stack to maximise value for customers

Is there any government agency in India which is using the EcoStruxure IoT platform or any enterprises for that matter?

One of the first pilots of Schneider’s EcoStruxure IoT platform in India was conducted for the Naya Raipur Smart City. It has now been more than a year and a half. India along with the US, China and France has been one of the top few countries in which the EcoStruxure IoT platform was rolled out comprehensively. India has seen a strong and a huge adoption of EcoStruxure.

The same platform is deployed for some of the promising smart city projects in India. For example, Naya Raipur Smart City Project. This is going to be setup with EcoStruxure. We have got a large contract which is in execution right now and this is fitted with a complete set of features of EcoStruxure. The same IoT platform was deployed long ago in Jagannath Puri temple as well as the Puri city, which witnesses the Nabakalebara festival, where about 4.5 million-5 million people congregate.

Besides, the country’s maiden net zero energy building being built in Bengaluru will be on EcoStruxure IoT platform. The three of the top five automobile manufacturers have embraced the EcoStruxure platform. Life Sciences Technology and Life Science manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies – all have embraced this platform strongly. India has been one of the most aggressive adopters of EcoStruxure.