We utilise the power of partners in their respective areas of specialisation: Prashanth GJ, CEO, TechnoBind

Prashanth GJ, CEO, TechnoBind
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With its unique use-case approach and focus on a limited, but close set of partners, TechnoBind is bullish to achieve continued growth. In an interaction with CRN India, Prashanth GJ, CEO, TechnoBind, sheds more light

What makes TechnoBind distinct in terms of expertise and offerings?
TechnoBind, as a company, falls under the category of Value-added Distributor (VAD), but we like to identify ourselves as a distributor, because the term ‘VAD’ is abused in today’s market. During my past stints, I observed the difference between a distributor and a VAD was the value and volume that; alongside the high margin expectation. The actual value was getting diluted with one-two brands which were pulling the market with $20-30 millions. Harikrishna Prabhu (Co-founder and Director) and I also saw the gap in the market and felt the need to fill it. We decided to work on new emerging technologies to plug the gaps. We also work with big brands, but with clear understanding of expectation beyond logistics and the credit part. For example, we are working with Check Point, which looks at us with focus on the SMB business – which is not Check Point’s stronghold. The company – which has a strong presence in the enterprise segment – gave us exclusivity on the SMB front to build the market. We either work with them or emerging brands like Seclore, Commvault, Druva, which we have grown over the years, or into different segments which were earlier not present.

This is what defines TechnoBind; we don’t want to go all over the market, because we need to be specialised in and around “data”. Since we come from the background of data, we understand the dynamics of the market, we understand the players and what drives them. We believe that even today, data is an area which is not commoditised. There is ample scope to add value to both the stakeholders – vendors and resellers. This is possible, because data is exploding and it is difficult to manage, handle and feed data. Mobility and BYOD are today’s realities, which create the challenge of handling data, thereby providing an opportunity for us.
As part of our go-to-market (GTM) strategy, we always look for brands that have synergy between expectations and delivery. We try to understand the business pain points of customers, and identify the technology which can address those problems. We also figure out the sets of customers who may face the same problems and we get in touch with them. We make dockets of collaterals with all these details and approach channel partners to educate them on the same. Additionally, we also help partners in discovering clients.

What is the composition of your partner ecosystem?
We work with around 650 partners across the country. Until last year, we were working in eight major cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Pune. This year, we established a strong focus on Tier-2 markets as well, such as Chandigarh, Kochi, Trivandrum, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, among others. We are moving steadily, but we have already got the first few partners in these markets. There are multiple reasons behind our focus on Tier-2 markets. For instance, Check Point wants to cater to SMBs and a lot of them are present in these markets. Likewise, Tableau wants us to focus on Tier-2 markets as well.

From our partner community, we work closely with 150 partners whom we classify as ‘Aligned Partners’. We partner ecosystem covers 85 per cent of enterprise partners. We work with almost every type of partners. Some of our engagements are pretty deep and some are opportunistic. We also work with national SIs like TCS, Tech Mahindra, etc.

How is TechnoBind increasing partners’play in the market?
Partners are missing out a significant proportion of business in the market. Today, cloud has become a reality. For example, we can consider Microsoft Exchange. I would assume that more than 70 per cent customers have migrated to Office 365, implying that all the services and storage required to exchange on-premise is no more sold. Resellers have lost many business opportunities. SAP HANA and backup is moving in the same direction.

TechnoBind helps partners and their customers to know different technology tools that can be used in the existing systems. We utilise the power of partners in their respective areas of specialisation. We invest a lot of time on channel and business development and conduct marketing activities, webinars on behalf of partners.

Though we have huge services portfolio, our partners who don’t have the skills can utilise our engineers, pay us some share, keeping deal with them. Reselling partners or downstream partners want to offer professional services. We don’t want to compete with our vendors and reselling partners. Instead, we will bring new technologies to the market. Presently, we can go for a framework in terms of what technology we are going to take in, but we are not working on building any IP kind of a system for ourselves.

In a short span of time, TechnoBind has seen huge success. Could you mention the key initiatives that have driven this growth?
Our GTM strategy has helped us achieve this success in a short span of time.We follow the use-case approach, wherein we figure out the use cases, business problems and challenges, and the relevant customer segment. For instance, in the e-commerce space, we identified top seven companies and closed deals with five companies. Similarly, we identified eight-nine retail companies in the country and closed deals with all of them.

In 2016, eIDA introduced a regulation, wherein any insurance policy of more than 10 lakh needed to be digitally signed and the digital signature has to be stored in a hardware encrypted device. We approached our partner Safenet – which has one of the best hardware encryption technologies – for puting together a solution docket for us. We provided Safenet foray into 26 insurance companies. This is the marketing intelligence that we maintain. For our vendors, this acts as a value-addition. The use-case approach has been significantly helping us. Partners who work closely with us, have also started following this mantra.

Over the years, sales has a changed a lot. Earlier, companies used to learn about new technologies from the sales team. Whereas, now customers know about all the solutions/technologies, which requires the sales methodology to be changed. We always choose customers based on use cases. For example, we are focusing on customers who have bought Office 365, and partners who have sold out Office 365.

Another success driver has been our dependency on the process and focus on education. We have a model called “38.11” model. The partner needs to qualify all the steps to be onboard, especially to be part of our Aligned Partners. We focus on process and execution of the plan, wherein we give them a 90-day plan and the right technical resource.

What’s the company’s growth roadmap for the future?
We have been growing at a high rate, which includes both organic and inorganic. In terms of inorganic growth, new alliances are coming on board. For example, we signed up with Quest and Micro Focus as additional vendors. This will result in two-fold increase in our addressable market size. Our focus on business development is also increasing. We haven’t billed
our customers directly till now, but now we want to. Until now, our sales team was spending 40 per cent of its time with customers or partners to discuss the challenges. However, now we have a different team for that, opening new roads of success for us. We give our sales guys half yearly numbers instead of yearly and we keep increasing that percentage. In terms of expansion, we are increasing our footprint. For inatance, we expanded to Kolkata; we have entered in the SAARC region as well. We have a pre-sales resource in Dhaka.

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