For some partners, expanding operations has been made easy due to the initiatives of their respective state governments. "The next growth opportunity for us will come from the seven or eight SIRs or SEZs which have been notified or are operational in Gujarat," says Keyur K. Jathal, executive director, Ishan Infotech.
Gujarat is one of the most venture- and industry-philic states in India. According to Industries Commisionerate, Government of Gujarat, the state is expecting an investment of about Rs 31,500 crore in SEZs from developers.
"All these new locations need internet connectivity, basic IT infrastructure including servers, storage and, surveillance," says Jathal. "That is a huge opportunity for us."
Pune-based Sunfire Technologies has strategized to bring its expansion plans to fruition. It visualizes three sources for growth: First-time buyers, which include new customers in greenfield projects. Cross and upselling to its existing customers. And value growth or a demand for upgrading existing products.
Sunfire is also arranging seminars, events, and customer meets to demonstrate technologies and create better opportunities. "As a go-to-market strategy, we have divided industrial areas into different geographic regions and assigned them to field executives. This has helped expand our reach," says Bhaskar, director-Technology Services, Sunfire Technologies.
Ishan Infotech is also expanding its reach to untapped geographies which have the potential to consume and drive IT infrastructure. "With branches across major cities in Gujarat, we expect to have a first-mover advantage. We have been working on this approach for nearly two quarters now as we see benefits in investing in manpower and support infrastructure," says Jathal.
Often, proximity and access to new areas is a big advantage for partners. Quick response is important to address the urgency in IT. On the flip-side, distance could be an impediment, especially when an SEZ is located outside the state. But this is a problem partners are willing to overlook. Some partners coordinate with, and travel to respective customer offices to demonstrate their value proposition at the start of a project.
Another benefit for partners is that they are not required to go solo. They have active support from vendors who are quite forthcoming in aligning with them to seize a first-mover advantage.
"Vendor companies are supportive as they too want to enter these unexplored geographies," says Jathal.
Importantly, as the country's economy expands, solution providers will find opportunities to fill voids in less developed regions. Partners will get to increase value and volume of their business in new locations.
Sell Deep, Sell Wide
The Opportunities: The single-point-of-contact approach or a 360-degree IT approach, as partners prefer to call it, allows for increased cross- and deep-selling.
In a time when customer acquisition and bagging new projects are challenges for solution providers, holding onto existing customers and ensuring good customer retention rate is high on a solution provider's list of priorities. This becomes crucial in light of the growing concern amongst customers that their partners are not engaging with them effectively. This fiscal has witnessed partners pulling out all the stops in their attempt to close the growing chasm between the two parties. For starters, discussions with CIOs have revealed that many of them look at their partners as long-term allies and want them to act as a single point of contact. This trend can be broken into several aspects, two of which are cross-selling and deep-selling.
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