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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.

Pune-based Aashna Cloudtech is clear about what the customer is asking for. An early cloud entrant, this solution provider has witnessed the trend changing for the better over the last decade, with clients asking extensively about assurance of data confidentiality in a multi-tenant environment, details in terms of SLAs, exit clauses from existing subscriptions, an integrated cloud solution to manage the business, and an experienced vendor who has managed cloud application deployment.

The company also sees demand around access of data in real-time as well as on mobile devices. "We position ourselves as a cloud aggregator focused on enterprise applications and one service provider for all cloud applications. We clearly see the trend changing now, and are glad the investment we made in selling and implementing cloud a decade ago is really paying off," says Biswas Nair, MD, Aashna Cloudtech. In the position of a cloud aggregator, Aashna has deployed the technology for an impressive clientele which has names such as Hindustan Unilever, Novartis, Olympus, and Nimbus, among others.

Besides, Aashna has fortified its vendor partnerships with NetSuite, Success Factors, WorkForce Software, and Google. The coming year is going to be quite opportunity laden for this solution provider. "CIOs of large firms or CEOs of SME clients would very soon prefer dealing with few cloud vendors and hence we are branding ourselves as the cloud aggregator partner who will be able to offer an integrated enterprise applications solution. We also have a consulting edge of having managed over 250 cloud projects over the last 10 years."

If Aashna is about the more active, robust western India market, the eastern part of the country isn't too far behind. Contrary to the myth about the slow uptake of newer concepts in this market, Kolkata's Future Netwings has latched on to the opportunity that this trend offers and put together its business plan, with MD, Jaideep Chakrabarti quite focused about what's going to sell.

"The cloud-based opex model is definitely an area to watch out for," says Chakrabarti. Future Netwings has built its strategy on offering infrastructure-as-a-service. The company has back-to-back strategic tie ups with cloud service providers. "We have substantially enhanced our skillsets on virtualization in order to support the cloud initiative," he says. More recently, Future Netwings tasted success when a large customer, after trying to design its network for about six months internally, chose to give it all up and signed up for a cloud-based opex model with the help of the solution provider.

This, Chakrabarti feels, is a clear indication of the pulse of the market. The coming year, Future Netwings will be targeting the SME segment and will be rolling out its own cloud-based solutions. Currently, the company is in the process of finalizing the technology and software solutions that it will be offering to customers. Customers, for some years now, have been favoring a vendor neutral approach, best of breed, as the term goes. Bangalore's Yashasvi Infosolutions tailors a mix of VMware, Microsoft, and Oracle, and layers open source to provide a private cloud set up for IT/ITES companies.


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