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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.

About 25 percent of CDS' long-term business is coming from leasing deals--and ensuring services--and the company envisages that this percentage is only bound to rise, particularly in the IT/ITES sector. But is this a better option than moving to the cloud? Subrahmanya thinks so. With fewer issues such as security to deal with; the dividing line is a bit thin. It definitely is a combination of the cloud and these models that would work in the long run, making customers look at this option more favourably, he avers. Bhaskar Ganjiwale, director-Technology Services, Sunfire Technologies, couldn't agree more that the opex wave is catching on and customers are biting the bait at an accelerated rate. The Pune-based solution provider goes with the opex mantra of "return on individual", which he says is the new ROI. He has reasons to strongly advocate this.

This is based on the fact that today return on investment is passé, when customers are increasingly looking less at capital investments and more at maximizing what they realize out of quarterly or monthly pay-outs on usage. Sunfire has now tied up with vendors such as Citrix to push VDI, which it believes is the best way to help customers get their Return on Bhaskar Ganjiwale, SunfireProductivity of Employee (ROPE) as well as the new ROI. And that's being justified thus: If a customer opts for VDI, he will realize his ROPE in less than a year, which the company amply demonstrated with an IT/ITES customer in Pune. The customer who has a 1,000 user base, opted for VDI, and Sunfire is confident that whatever their scalability patterns may be, this customer is now sold on the idea of "pay as you grow", which is fundamentally a building block for the cloud.

A BFSI veteran-turned entrepreneur, Ganjiwale is in talks with customers in the BFSI sector too. "While the capex-opex debate continues, customers are seeing the value of minimizing hardware costs, and opting for simpler expensing-off of these components through options such as thin clients. We are assisting them by providing consulting services, talking to our vendors, and helping them get financing options through finance companies, in the event of the vendor not having financial services to offer to the customer," he says.

If opex opens the discussion to phase out huge expenditures, the cloud is one of the routes that enterprises ultimately take. As the CIO Mid-Year Review 2013 survey indicates, about 84 percent of CIOs expect to see some sort of cloud--public, private or hybrid--implemented over the next 12 months. And as the hype cycle and curiosity even out--and demand trickles down the line--the good news is, tier-2 players are assessing and gearing up at various stages to meet growing customer demand.


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