Sanjiv Krishen and his old team is not just back at the helm in Iris; he has a loud message for partners
“We are back, we want to be of help and we can do business jointly, profitably and painlessly”
Associated with the Sun, a Phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. According to some sources, the Phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, although there are other sources that claim that the legendary bird dies and simply decomposes before being born again. No wonder, people who have resuscitated their careers after they have been written off by all and sundry often draw the comparison to the legendary Phoenix.
Plenty of examples are available in the Indian context. Former Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly after being banished by Greg Chappell was totally written off even leading to a famous TV ad “mujhe toh bhula nahi”. And we all know Dada’s famous comeback story in the Chappell regime only. In Bollywood too, the inimitable Big B has been written off twice—when he joined politics and again when his company ABCL went down. Incidentally ‘Bol Bachchan’ still reigns over tinsel town. Or the music maestro RD Burman was dubbed as ‘finished’ till he came back with the mellifluous music in 1942: A Love Story.
The Iris Saga
Even in the business world there are several parallels; in Indian IT the latest Phoenix on the bloc is perhaps none other than the dapper suave and the ‘gentlemanly’ Sanjiv Krishen, the CMD of Delhi-based ND Iris Computers. Sanjiv might balk at being compared to the ‘legendary’ Phoenix, but the fact of the matter is as far as tech distribution in India is concerned the man is no less than a legend even in his first innings of more than two decades. And even his second innings has started with a bang and if the first indications are a sign of things to come, this might be an even longer and more fruitful stint at the tech distribution hustings.
So how did the Iris story pan out? Iris showed consistent business growth for more than 20 years reaching a turnover of Rs 2,600 crores. Requiring fresh investment for further expansion of the company Iris Computers tied up with Inflexionpoint four years ago for additional limits. The acquisition by Inflexionpoint in 2013 was a major event that fueled new growth aspirations for Iris Computers. Post the acquisition, the distribution business witnessed major growth signs. Inflexionpoint even embarked on X10 Financial Services, a new venture to tap the opportunity of channel financing to the partners in the supply chain industry through the wide network of branches of Inflexionpoint subsidiaries across the country. Iris worked closely with X10 to finance its partners.
Subsequently, Dragon Singapore, a John Sculley company had acquired controlling stake in Iris Computers through InflexionPoint. However in September last year Dragon closed down in Singapore unable to fulfil its further obligations. Sanjiv Krishen acquired the company from them chiefly driven by a few compelling reasons. The first was to ensure that the jobs of the company’s employees, the Iris family, remained secure. To do that the second important thing was to maintain the continuous flow and running of the business between vendors and Iris resellers. And perhaps the most critical things, was in Sanjiv’s words, to reinfuse the original ‘Iris responsiveness’ and enthusiasm that the partners and customers missed.
Walking the Talk
The original management team of Kamini Talwar, Som Arya, Sameer Chaudhary and Himanshu Chawla are back to steer the company to new heights of success. After regaining his position in Iris Computers, Sanjiv Krishen is all set to position the company with an extra edge among the partners and customers by fulfilling their demands. He is aiming to make Iris a more responsive distributor when it comes to business and walk the extra mile to fulfill the wishes of the customers so that they keep coming back to Iris Computers for their IT requirements. Iris wants to be a responsive distributor by not just offering box but also wants to help partners to close deals and execute orders too.
“We want our partners to place their orders on us and we will help them procure the material and supply to them. We will fund it also. For example, a big order had come from Jharkhand, so we actually took a warehouse for one month just to execute the order. 41,000 tablets were ordered for the project. No other distributor will take a warehouse to fulfill a single order, but we did that. The dealer asked for help to store the delivery as he cannot take this delivery at one go and we appreciated that because no dealer has a warehouse to store 41000 tablets. It’s a massive number,” Sanjiv asserts.
Iris also enables its channel by providing financial support and round the clock help. “We have partner programs that will encourage them to sell in Tier 3 & Tier 4 cities. Suppose we have some stock and we want to liquidate it and the dealer will ask for a better price to sell it, we will support them with that additional price. That is how we encourage our partners to promote our products. However, the ability for us to give out discounts is very little. It has to be supported by the vendors but we can help them provide the material on credit. We try to help our partners round the clock. So that is how we can help the partners to become more profitable and help them to grow their business,” Sanjiv adds.
Miles to Go
Iris finds huge opportunities in India market especially in two key areas, primarily education and government. The company has bagged a few prestigious orders like Kendriya Vidayalaya, Naraina among others. The company also took efforts to provide customized products which will help it to retain its customers and also differentiate it from its competitors.
“A lot of opportunities are coming up in India. Specifically the two areas which are growing are education and government. These are the two big opportunities and we are gearing up to supply. For example, we have bagged an order of Kendriya Vidayalaya in the education system, for which we are delivering HP desktops. They are setting up language labs and each lab has 25 computers.
We have also bagged an order from Naraina, an educational institution popular in South India. They train students to appear for competitive examinations. They have offices in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and many other places. So they wanted to provide tailor made tablets to their students with different educational software, student’s name and roll number. We fulfilled their wishes. This is how we want to do little extra so that a partner comes to us. Today a partner has a choice to go to any distributor but we want them to come to us,” adds Sanjiv.
In addition, Iris has new and exciting plans for diversification into different innovative areas. Some of the ideas already explored and tapped into include Solar Panel powered Tube wells, Computer Rental Services, Microsoft Cloud Services and Mobility.