Pradhan: We are consciously underplaying the government sector for now because sales cycles are too long. Those accounts require lot of effort, time and investment, and we do not have the bandwidth. However, we do have wins in the space, including an elite set of organizations under CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research). We first need to build credibility and product visibility across the private segment. Right now government is on a slow burner, but we will fuel it more next year.
CW: What is your partner approach--and experience--been like?
Pradhan: We have a 100 percent channel-driven model, and Inflow is our India distributor. We have OEM relationships with Dell and Hitachi, as they have, in a way, white labeled our products. We also work with large SIs like HCL, TCS, Wipro, and Infosys as they drive large government, PSU and private projects.
Till we came into play, tier-II partners were working with other storage vendors. Gradually, some of them cut back from selling competing products or increased their engagement with us. We are addressing this important community through our participation in various tech summits.
The most active vehicle is the tier-II channel. Last year, almost 70 percent of our Indian revenues were derived through this channel. To execute large a number of transactions and articulate value faster to customers, our dependency on tier-II channels is high. This route gives us a wide geographical reach, and the partners have long-term relationships with their top enterprise customers.
CW: How many channel partners would suffice for a country like India?
Pradhan: The plan is not to exceed 100 partners for India and Sri Lanka, as too many partners ends up commoditizing a product. The traditional IT consumption cities have expanded beyond the top nine to places like Nagpur, Pune, Nashik, Lucknow, and towns in Kerala and Orissa among others. Hence, the roadmap is to have a geographic spread of partners.
CW: Which revenue model is more popular with modern organizations: On-premise or the cloud?
Pradhan: On-premise is popular as it follows traditional licensing according to infrastructure, servers, storage, and etcetera. The CLA (capacity license agreement) model introduced two years ago, priced by the size of data, is finding more acceptance. Customers choose a model depending on what makes business sense for them rather than what makes business sense to us.
The managed services provider (MSP) model has been our strength as RackSpace uses Simpana at the back end. MSPs charge a subscription to their customers and we charge MSPs. The consortium of HP partners--All Time IT Solutions--has CommVault as their storage partner. With the current drive towards the cloud, both SMBs and enterprises prefer the MSP model. We proactively introduced the MSP model few years ago when most competitors were far from doing so.
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