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5 customer trends that channel partners should watch out for

Shantheri Mallaya | July 9, 2013
If you aren't listening to your customers' needs, your competition is. Here are five trends that are changing your customers' business­--and redefining yours.

If you aren't listening to your customers' needs, your competition is. Here are five trends that are changing your customers' business­--and redefining yours.

The writing's on the wall: Listen to your customers or perish. There is no dearth of options out there and it doesn't take much for your customers to shift loyalties. Customers are now discerning. They demand that their requirements are met, and met in the manner they desire. If the findings of the CIO Mid Year Review 2013 survey are anything to go by, then the Indian CIO--your customer--cannot be taken for granted. He is straddling tight budgets, delayed decisions from business, and walking the tightrope between IT capabilities and business needs. While there are some customer trends that are fast becoming the norm, a handful of your peers have sensed the opportunity and have cracked the customer code in a highly competitive market. You can too. Here are five trends that are changing your customer's business--and yours.

Organizations are moving beyond thinking about drawing out huge amounts and budgets towards setting up capital assets or even merely renting out a few pieces of hardware. From circumventing the heart break of obsolescence to acquiring tax benefits and improving cash flow, the idea of moving to alternate models of utilizing infrastucture is the new mantra of buying, as the CEO of Bangalore-based Central Data Systems, K. Subrahmanya would like to illustrate. His company has astutely replicated what it does with short-term projects on a larger scale. The solution provider, who rents out equipment to about 5 percent of its customer base for a period of 6 months, has moved to the next level. Central Data Systems (CDS) works actively with its core vendors' financial arms--such as Cisco's Cisco Capital, for example.

CDS approaches its IT/ITES customers with leasing options for a period of three to five years at interest rates between 10-12 percent which Cisco Capital doles out. Customers pay EMIs for both the product and service components for the said duration. "Most of the financial arms of vendors are cash-rich and need emerging markets such as India to promote their technologies.

This is why the opex idea is really catching on." Further, the finance companies, while insisting that there should be some percentage of their own products, are also open to the idea of the deal having non-competitive third-party products.

So, why are customers happy? The leasing story allows customers--at the end of the tenure of the agreement--to either refresh the assets or buy them out, as the case may be. This means no upfront investments, competitive interest rates coupled with the fact that they know that their services for the duration are covered in the agreement. It's a win-win situation as the solution provider also gains.

 

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