D-Link has big plans for its large enterprise business in 2019, shares Rohit Purushottam

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Rohit Purushottam, VP – Enterprise Business, D-Link (India)

Being a pioneer in the networking space, D-Link has marked significant success in the Indian market. With enhanced focus on large enterprise business, the company has planned big for its partner community who have been instrumental in driving growth. Rohit Purushottam, VP – Enterprise Business, D-Link (India), reveals more details

Please elaborate on D-Link’s strengths and efforts in the enterprise business
Having presence in 66 countries, we are flexing our muscles in every market. We are largely known in the market as a product company, mainly focusing on consumer business, that contributes 60-65 per cent to our overall business. We know the pulse of our consumers and we create our products accordingly. Our enterprise business is also doing well, which is further divided into three segments – project, stock-n-sell, and large projects. Under the enterprise business, the project based business is completely focused towards our customers and partners. D-Link is working with enterprises and partners to form a complete ecosystem of technology, solutions and strategies that shall enable businesses to successfully navigate to digital the platform.

The other segment of enterprise business is stock-and-sell, for which we have created a separate SMB system, wherein we operate through our national distributors – Redington and Ingram Micro. Additionally, we have 80 sub-distributors. Then we have large enterprise market, for which we have created a focused team for handling large strategic projects; this also includes government initiatives like Digital India. Under this segment, we have recently bagged projects from BSNL and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Safe and Secure Gujarat, Keltron, etc.

Then we have telcos and ISP whom we work with and provide complete network solution for large projects that act as a backbone for network infrastructure. Infact, we have been working to provide network solutions to Smart Cities. In this space, we are working with BSNL and MTNL to create a complete infrastructure for this market.

Overall business has been doing well and we have been growing 15-20 per cent month-on-month, for the past five to six months. Large project business has been among the key drivers for this growth. Due to the scale of large projects, it’s difficult to define its percentage in our overall business but large project business does make for major pie of our growth.
Further, to enhance our business and engagement in the government segment, we have created a GEM Vertical under enterprise business. This step will ensure that business will be more focused and foster growth.

With fresh focus on the enterprise business, how are you helping organisations in their digital transformation journey?
With the government’s new digital focus, we are seeing a massive shift. We have also aligned our business with government’s efforts by creating an ecosystem with our partners, in order to deliver solutions. In line with this effort, we have been providing wireless networks and surveillance; however, in wake of emerging technologies, we have added Internet of Things (IoT) to our solutions. We are delivering this in two ways – the consumer and telcos, wherein we provide our value-added services through telcos. In addition we are also creating apps; for instance, we have created a router configuration system – a one-touch mobile application to configure the router. Available for consumers and technicians, this provides ease in services to service providers.

What gives D-Link a competitive advantage over other players in the market?
Firstly, it is about the right products with the right brand. Our legacy spans over 30 years, and we are one of the only two companies in this space, which are not acquired by anyone. Thus, stability of our company is one of the differentiators for us. Secondly, we offer a service network which is unique to D-Link. Our service network in India is spread across 13 states. Additionally, we have 250 pick-up points in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. Moreover, we are a viable company with channel partners and solution providers as our key propagators. We are more focused on the Edge infrastructure development with a streamlined approach, wherein we serve at the Edge level for the best performance.

How critical has been the role of the partner ecosystem in D-Link’s growth journey?
Our partners have been instrumental in our successful journey and they continue to contribute. We provide partners with the primary information, and they in turn help in our business. We have partner engagement and training modules; we also have a partner portal, wherein we engage with them on daily basis. Furthermore, we also organise skills development and management activities for our partners. D-Link is a 100 per cent partner-oriented company. We have a strong team of national distributors, 80 sub-distributors and over 2,000 SIs in India.

In this era of solutions and software, have the partners also undergone the transition; what is your strategy?
Partners have been significantly adapting to the changes. They are now adopting new technologies and want to serve customers more efficiently with a complete package. Similarly in our domain, we provide everything from switches, structured cabling, IP surveillance to routers. With our array of offerings, any partner who is attached with us can offer an end-to-end networking solution to customers. We are a product-centric company. We have also laid high emphasis on innovation. In collaboration with our R&D team, we have created cloud platform for our wireless solution through which we can manage one lakh Access Points (APs) at a time. We are also working with governments on OpenWRT networks. Further, we have been witnessing the buzz around software defined networking (SDN), and we already have SDN products in our portfolio. We are working with a company called Pluribus Networks which provides OEM diagnostics software, bringing the entire data centre on a single control. In 2019, we will boost our focus on SDN switches and industrial switches.

How are you accelerating growth of the passive networking business?
A few years ago, there were talks about the death of the structured cabling business and everything turning wireless. However we have been able to sustain this business by adhering to new compliances. We have expanded our passive product portfolio which includes new trends like fibre optics (OM5), data centre solutions, Cat7 and so on. Our channel ecosystem works with us for the stock-and-sell of passive networking business; whereas, the business with customers and SIs falls under large enterprise segment.

What are your efforts to increase the SMB business?
Our SMB business has also been doing well. We are coming up with a new porfolio which will address the upcoming demand of the higher bandwidth, especially in long range POE. These are targeted towards Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. We have also added the wireless component to our SMB product portfolio. Additionally, we have also expanded our surveillance product line. Such innovations and diversification are helping us reach-out to the customer better and in-turn is contributing to the growth of our SMB business.

How are you preparing the channel ecosystem to capture more opportunities in the market?
Channel requires right margins; they don’t want to sell just the topline products, particularly in the SMB space. The second aspect deals with speed and effective delivery of services. We have already launched a partner development program, which provides thrust to the partner community. From January onwards, we will also be running a point-based program to ensure better margins for partners. In Q2 2019, we will make a big announcement in terms of partner program, wherein we will do completely new things for our partner community.
For our large enterprise business, we work closely with large solution providers. Through these partners, we are working with several PSUs in India. For example, we did the complete cabling for the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, and we also have our industrial switches deployed there. Furthermore, we are also working on Smart City projects such as Ahmedabad Smart City and Prayagraj Smart City through L&T.

Which key thrust areas will result in rich dividends in the future?
Right strategy and innovations in terms of right products will drive the growth in the future. Our extensive product portfolio includes high power PoE switches, long range point-to-point / multipoint wireless communication, upto 12MP enterprise grade intelligent video surveillance, long range PoE switches to support upto 250-metre distance on a copper cable. With this, we are confident of meeting the high bandwidth demands of large businesses and enterprises. In 2019, our focus shall be more towards the end-to-end solution that will let us cater to every need of the customer and partners.