As RAH completes 15 years of operation this July, CRN India speaks to its managing director, Ashok Kumar
Delhi based Value Added Distributor (VAD) for security and networking products RAH Infotech recently marked its 15 year anniversary in IT business. Started in 2005 with a few members, has established itself as a leading and niche IT distributor and worked with several leading global cybersecurity brands in the country. Going forward, the company has been committed to helping its partners share knowledge and create innovation.
Over the years, the company has fervently pursued its vision towards having right people, right product and right partners as well as delivering top-notch vendors partnership. Even amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the company is grappling with the numerous ramifications of the pandemic and relentlessly adding meaningful distribution partnership into its kitty and aiming to double its revenue in next three years. In an interaction with the CRN India Kumar called the landmark a “very proud and memorable moment”. Here are the excerpts:
CRN: Can you sum up the journey of 15 years highlighting key ups and downs of the company
Kumar: It’s been a long journey but a very fulfilling one. No doubt there have been many ups and downs but at the end of the day it is quite satisfying that in these years we have grown from a two member team to now 150 plus. With having a pan-India and global presence we are proud to have major technology brands as our key partners – around 35 now, and with more than 450 channel partners. Presently, we are serving over 1000 customers including Fortune 500 firms and governments. More importantly, in these years, we have carved a special niche in the Indian technology distribution space for cybersecurity and digital infrastructure solutions. For us, it is the beginning. Business wise we have been consistently growing in double digits since inception and today among the fastest growing VADs in the country. We are aiming to double our revenue in next three years.
CRN: How do you see the positioning of RAH over the years, and what is your broad vision to the company
Kumar: Our vision from the very beginning has been to empower and secure the digital infrastructure of the country by offering cutting-edge technology solutions. Because we are not a product company, we joined hands with the best-in-line global technology firms in the areas of networking, security, cloud, digital infrastructure and data management to cater to the needs of our customers that included governments, large enterprises, SMEs and startups. Today, we are the leader in cybersecurity solution offerings. If you look at our product portfolio, 80 percent of them are top-notch security OEMs. Because of this, today, we are the first choice for our partners and customers as far as security and cybersecurity solutions are concerned. Our security solutions coupled with our customized offerings have brought us many security-critical customers including financial institutions, banks, defense as well as governments. However, our endeavour has always been to strengthen our product portfolio and offer next-gen solutions. We have recently added digital infrastructure and asset management solutions into our offerings. IoT is next in our scheme of things.
CRN: You and your company must have seen many business challenges, but how do you see Covid 19 as a challenge compared to other challenges.
Kumar:Covid-19 was a challenge that no one in the world has faced ever in the history, and no one, for sure, knows how to deal with the perfect way. We too can’t claim to be exception. Like any other organizations, we might have faced challenges related to business in the past but this challenge is of different sort. However, we analysed our strengths and weaknesses, and prioritised our immediate measures. For us, safety of our employees is paramount. To ensure our employees remain safe and do not expose themselves to infections, we offered Work- From- Home (WFH) facility to all our employees across locations from mid-March. We immediately deployed required collaborative and technology solutions to enable us maintain business continuity. Health insurance policy of our employees were extended to cover Covid and Covid-linked diseases and all other safety measures were put in place for employees as well as our offices across locations. Because Covid is a highly infectious disease, the fear of getting infected always looms large. However, employees, across our offices and warehouses do take utmost precautions to stay safe.
As far as business continuity is concerned, our primary mode of communication with our partners and customers used to be personal interactions, meetings and visits to their business premises. This took a beating because of the movement restrictions and social distancing norms. Though restrictions are being lifted gradually, we are not lowering our guards on health issues – neither for our partners and customers nor for our employees.
While the entire nation was under a lockdown and movement was restricted, we tried to attend to our partners and customers wherever it was possible. At times we had to take special permissions from local authorities and tried to supply our products whilst adhering to all local administrative regulations. We are a software driven, rather a product driven, technology distributor. Hence, the restrictions on physical movements did not deter us much to serve our partners and customers. A lot of our solutions are software and we could address the needs of our customers remotely. During the lockdown phase, we had barely stopped addressing our customers’ and partners’ needs. As far as demand from partners and customers is concerned, we tried our best to leverage our supply chain, kept our warehouses fully functional and mobilised our logistics partners. The same has also been communicated to all our partners and customers as and when the unlocking process started in the country. In fact we did witness increase in demands from our partners and customers during the last 2-3 months. And to ensure safety, we have enforced strict healthcare and sanitization guidelines across our supply chain.
CRN: What are top 3 strength of the RAH built over the years
Kumar: From an organization point of view, we have three key areas that we constantly keep focusing on.
Right team – Finding the right talent, trusting and empowering them with right skill sets, and guiding them towards the common goal is key to success for any organization in any field. Our workforce including sales, pre-sales and technical come from varied expertise and are veterans in the industry.
Right goal – Setting a futuristic vision and achieving that by identifying the right business opportunities and put whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Offering the right services and addressing the needs of our partners and customers are our primary goal. Adding value to our services is one thing that we take very seriously at RAH.
Right Partners : Creating a niche for oneself in the crowded IT market by selecting right technology partners, delivering right solutions and nurturing the partner ecosystem the best possible way. Keeping a healthy and mutually beneficial relation with our channel partners has always been among our biggest strengths.
From product offerings point of view, in last 15 years, we have focused on three things.
Security – be it of network infrastructure or cyberspace, data management and value added services are the three key pillars of our solution offerings. Cybersecurity is an area that has become central to an organization’s business continuity and delivering the needed customer experience. Further, with the entry of IoT and automation into business processes and increasing reliance on remote infrastructure, which increases the attack surface, deployment of right set of cybersecurity solutions has become paramount for enterprises. And, we are a leader in that space. By partnering with the right set of technology partners, we offer best-in-class cybersecurity solutions to our customers.
Data is the new currency for organizations across the globe across business verticals. Companies are investing more in their digital assets rather than physical assets, and we take up the responsibility to safeguard organizations’ digital assets by providing end-to-end data management solutions including storage, data recovery and back-up. Besides technology solutions, we focus a lot on providing technical support and services to ensure our customers and partners get end-to-end solution offerings for their need. Providing add on service on top of our solution offerings is a key to our success.
CRN: Can you share some of the brand partnerships you enjoyed over the years
Kumar: Radware, Checkpoint, ForeScout, Thales, Infoblox, Keysight, Hitachi Vantara, Tata Communications, BMC, Skybox, Rapid7, Quest, Veeam, DNIF, Arcon, Lucideus, Vehere, Cambium Networks, MikorTik, Acronis, D3 Security and Smokescreen
CRN: What has been the success mantra of RAH.
Kumar: As stated above, our success mantras have been around three key areas – right people. Your people are your biggest strength, you need to hire right, nurture them well and do whatever it takes to retain them. They need to feel a sense of belongingness for the company and that’s how you grow together. Second, right products. Identifying the gaps in the industry and developing products and solutions that can plug that gap is key to your success. Third is to taking care of the whole distribution ecosystem – channel partners and customers. Channel partners are our go-to-market machinery and we take utmost care that our channel partners get ample scope and opportunity to grow along with us. Being a value added distributor, besides offering right solutions, our key differentiation is our support service. We act like the extended arm of our technology partners and we do not hesitate to go out of the way to provide any sort of service or support to our customers.