Suren Vedantham, group managing director, StorIT Distribution, talks about the company value focus and how the company is helping reseller partners to develop value-added businesses.
CME: What is the state of the value-added distribution sector in the region and what does it take to be a VAD?
SV: Apart from having fundamental understanding of the reseller channel, regional market dynamics and industry experience, it is also essential for a distributor to have commendable domain expertise and an efficient solutions delivery model to make a “true” VAD. This is something that StorIT has been successfully doing for the last 10 years.
CME: With the role of IT distributors constantly evolving, what should VAD encompass?
SV: Clearly, VAD is the ability to provide comprehensive turnkey solutions right from pre-sales consultancy, solutions design and architecture through post-sales implementation and support services, with the intent of developing long-term partnerships with resellers and helping them climb the value chain.
CME: Vendors and resellers are demanding more from distributors. How challenging is it for your company to strike the balance of fulfilling traditional distributor functions such as: (logistics, stock procurement, inventory management, RMA etc) and VAD services?
SV: As a distributor, our primary value proposition to our vendors will continue to be the development of a loyal reseller channel network that can give us the desired market reach across the length and breadth of the region, and a robust delivery mechanism based on conventional distribution functions. However, we have committed significant investments in the areas of value-added services in order to provide our resellers only the best-of-breed technology that gives them as well as StorIT the competitive edge.
CME: How has StorIT managed to remain focused on the value adding game in an IT market that continues to see rapid consumerisation of technology?
SV: From the time of incorporation 10 years ago, StorIT has specialised in the areas of data management solutions with unparalleled value-added services as our forte, and successful partnerships with industry’s leading technology providers, which continue to help us to innovate.
CME: Have these market trends made it more difficult for distributors to be “true” value-adding players?
SV: Understanding the evolving technology landscape and market trends, and adopting the right model of business, volume or value, to suit your strengths is vital to be in the reckoning for the long-term.
CME: How are you adding value to your vendor partners whose products you represent and the resellers you sell the products and solutions to?
SV: Our superior domain expertise helps us identify, train and enable a knowledge-based channel that is highly competitive in generating demand and successfully delivering our vendors’ solutions to customers across the region. The essence of our business model is based on value services, building partnerships with our resellers that bring consistent revenue growth opportunities and lead them up the value chain.
CME: How can distributors sharpen their expertise wherein both vendors and resellers can benefit from the value they add as intermediaries in the supply chain?
SV: Distributors need to identify and invest in areas, which could complement vendors’ commitment to the region while adding to the strength of reseller partners.
CME: As the IT supply chain is changing and the distribution sector in the region is being further challenged to add more value, will there be a need for distributors to continue performing their basic logistical functions?
SV: Considering the increased demand for hardware products to meet the rapid infrastructure development growth in the region, conventional supply chain functions of distribution continue to be critical for distributors. Nevertheless, the need to adapt to emerging trends like cloud computing solutions has become an imperative.
CME: What initiatives are you implementing which are key differentiators to your competitors in the regional channel?
SV: As mentioned earlier, our consistent investments in intellectual capital enables us to keep up our competitive edge in providing professional services, which complement and enhance solutions delivery capabilities of our reseller and vendor partners. The future for IT distribution will remain as exciting and lucrative as ever if one is adapting and evolving.