DQ Channels Joint interaction | GoTo - Sonata Software

An exclusive Joint Interaction of GoTo - Sonata Software with Ankit Parashar, Senior assistant editor, DQ channels.

Ankit Parashar
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An exclusive Joint Interaction of GoTo - Sonata Software. Lindsay(L), Vice President and General Manager, of Asia Pacific, and Japan, GoTo, and Mohan Muthuraj (M), Vice President of India Business at Sonata Software shared their views with Ankit Parashar(A), Senior assistant editor, of DQ channels.


A: What are the recent developments within GoTo in the last 12 to 18 months?

L: Sure, we'll cover various market and IT trends. A lot has transpired in the past few years, making the world and the market more complicated. Challenges related to hybrid work setups, economic factors, and coping with the current situation, including rising prices, have all contributed to making the IT landscape more complex. This background context sets the tone for our conversation.

Moving on, we're here today with Sonata, and our growth in the Indian market has been significant over the past few years. Like channel for us has just been an absolute rocket ship in terms of growth. Our channel has experienced remarkable growth with double-digit figures year on year, reaching an impressive 60% growth this year compared to the previous year. We anticipate this positive trend to continue, given the complexities of engaging businesses of varying sizes and requirements.


Some are returning to the office, some operate in a hybrid model, while others remain entirely remote. Catering to these diverse customer needs demands a focus on building excellent products and partnering with companies like Sonata, who excel at taking our offerings to the market and serving our customers effectively.

All those complexities mean that we shouldn't try to be too fancy as a vendor and just really be good at building the products and then leveraging wonderful partners like Sonata to help take our products to market and help give us that leverage and that extension into the market to serve all these different complex customer needs. So, probably one of the key things that we are doing right- our channel go-to-market strategy has been highly successful over the last couple of years, driving our growth and strengthening our presence in recent times.

A: How has your channel grown in the last few 12-15 months? What are your channel strategies and GTM strategies specifically for the Indian market?


L: As I mentioned earlier, the market has become more complex recently, and we recognize the need to adopt a multi-clustered approach. For instance, when dealing with small businesses, we invest heavily in managed service partners. We see that small businesses prefer having a supplier who can offer multiple solutions, and through partners like Sonata, we can effectively engage with and reach these businesses.

However, our market presence extends across the entire spectrum. For enterprise-level remote support products like Rescue, we require partners with deep expertise in specific vertical use cases, such as financial services or healthcare, where security and compliance are crucial. Sonata's software and its connections to various industries have given us a competitive advantage in such highly regulated and complex environments.

Our success, including the significant 60% growth, is a result of this approach, catering to small, medium, and large businesses. By collaborating closely with our partners, we ensure that our products are tailored to meet the specific needs of our customers, leveraging their insights, and understanding.


In conclusion, our comprehensive strategy, encompassing various market segments, and strong partnerships have contributed to our success and bode well for our future growth prospects.

A: How has your experience been working with GoTo as a partner?

M: At Sonata, we are one of the largest system integrators in India, with a business of more than 5,000 crores dealing in various software products, outdoor products, and cloud services for the Indian market. During the pandemic, we witnessed a surge in demand for software solutions to enable smooth remote working and ensure seamless operations.


Currently, we are GoTo's national partner in India. Sonata's core belief is to provide solutions that help our customers achieve their business goals efficiently. Over the past two years, GoTo has become a trusted technology partner for us. Their flexible and user-friendly IT management and support solutions have enabled us to meet our customer's requirements effectively, delivering great value to their businesses. We are delighted to partner with GoTo and continue offering their solutions to our customers, looking forward to a long-lasting collaboration.

A: Lindsay, where do you see the latest Trends coming from? You mentioned healthcare, what are the prospect verticals that you see in India' that are grooming or booming?

L: The micro-level influences significantly impact the macroeconomic environment and trends. Currently, we identify two to three main areas of focus. Firstly, hybrid working has become prevalent due to the massive changes in how companies operate. Employees now expect the flexibility to work from home for a few days each week, and this shift aligns with our research findings as well.


We conducted research with Frost and Sullivan and discovered that about 7 out of 10 Indian employees, regardless of their company's size, prefer not to work from home at least a couple of times a week. This presents a challenge for companies as they strive to retain talent. Some Indian companies are urging employees to return to the office to ensure productivity. However, managing a hybrid workforce with small home offices creates complexities for IT professionals, as they deal with multiple devices and cybersecurity threats due to the rise of remote work.

In this context, several key points emerge. Firstly, the escalating expenses and responsibilities of IT professionals stem from the management complexities associated with micro offices. The cybersecurity landscape expanded substantially due to the need to oversee multiple devices, encompassing employees (BYOD). Effectively curbing IT costs and simplifying management in this hybrid work environment is now of paramount importance.

Considering recent global developments, including Southeast Asia and India, geopolitical tensions and surging inflation amplify economic challenges for businesses. Consequently, technology consolidation gains prominence as organizations seek ways to optimize IT expenditure and streamline their technology stack. GoTo's solutions play a pivotal role in this scenario by offering unified management through a single interface.


Rather than getting 5 products, we consolidate and have capabilities like remote support, network monitoring, security, and so on, all built into one product. So, it's cost-effective and easier to be able to manage and deploy. The last big one is customer experience and employee experience. With changing work arrangements, people expect fast and seamless interactions with companies and brands online.

This consumerization of the experience poses a considerable challenge to businesses.

From sending out their request to the IT person trying to fix your laptop at your home it is a big challenge. So, when you talk about verticals, IT solutions must cut across all of them, and then for more regulated ones I mentioned like financial services, healthcare, and so on, they need all these features plus an added layer of security which is enormous.

A: Security is a major concern. So, what are the steps you are taking to tackle those security concerns?

L: Sure, there are several aspects to our security measures. For instance, our products like Rescue have a strong record of accomplishment, having been in use for over 20 years. They have undergone extensive compliance and security checks, including infosec compliance, SOC 2, SOC 3, and GDPR compliance. Our privacy and digital trust website provides information about product maintenance and updates.

Our products are bulletproof. If you look into the adoption of our products in the enterprise, you can see the top six of the Indian headquartered global system integrators use and love our products. These organizations use our products to support millions of their employees securely. Companies like Tata Consulting Services (TCS), HCL, Capgemini, and Cognizant in India rely on our secure solutions. So, we ensure that we are doing the right things. We are staying up to date with the latest security practices and ensuring our products remain compliant and reliable for the enterprise.

A: Mohan, what are your channel strategies specifically for GoTo in the Indian market? How are you implementing upskilling programs from GoTo, particularly focusing on security, consolidation, and product portfolio? What kind of training programs are you taking from GoTo?

M: The products from GoTo are very well-known in the market. Our first step is to train our internal sales teams extensively first. The second side is the presales people. The sales and presales team go and meet the customer to discuss the information. We give confidence to the customers that GoTo’s products are much more secure and better than any other product in the market like other open-source products.

The combination of training our sales and presales teams to communicate effectively, coupled with technical discussions and demonstrations, makes a significant impact on our customers. When they interact with our teams, they take our offerings seriously due to the assurance we provide regarding product security and performance. That makes a lot of difference as compared to any others in the market. That is where the ecosystem of working with a partner and working with vendors becomes very critical.

A: So, what is your entire channel portfolio, and channel ecosystem in India for GoTo?

M: We are Channel partners. If you see the ecosystem basically, it's a vendor, distributor, and partner. I'm the partner. Three combinations of people who work together. The vendor is the person who's making the products.

We used to be a distribution model earlier from there to now, we have transitioned to a more customer-centric approach. As a direct partner for GoTo, we take their solutions directly to the end customers. We reach out to various regions, including Tier 2, Tier 3, and metro cities, and bring these customers into our portfolio. This means that rather than purchasing from a distributor, we now buy directly from GoTo.

A. Where do you see the solution is more catered to which vertical? Which verticals explicitly are adopting these technologies?

M: If you see products like Rescue, Resolve, and the communication solutions cater to multiple segments, not limited to specific ones. They are used across various industries, including BFSI, pharma, and manufacturing, as well as in the governance and education sectors.

A. To Lindsay, what are the different channel schemes you have from GoTo?

L: It's crucial to ensure we have the right market access and leverage. Being relevant to the right customers is a priority, so we need to focus on addressing the appropriate verticals and segments.

I believe our success can be attributed to some key indicators. Firstly, we have witnessed strong growth, with a 20% increase in new customers, a significant accomplishment considering the current market conditions where customer acquisition is challenging. In Addition, our IT solutions have seen a commendable 14% revenue growth across various sectors.

In terms of our focus, we prioritize industries like banking, financial services, information technology, BPO, higher education, and healthcare, as they require secure and trusted solutions due to their regulatory nature. To effectively address customer needs, we collaborate closely with our partners through programs like the Managed Service Partner (MSP) program, which caters to small businesses.

Innovation remains at the core of our approach. For example, we have recently integrated Mobile Data Management (MDM) into GoTo Resolve products to support both mobile and traditional workforces. We've also introduced Bit Defender for enhanced endpoint management and virus protection. Our efforts to stay ahead in the market include incorporating AI and ChatGPT capabilities into Resolve, enabling more efficient resource utilization and streamlining IT tasks.

As we encounter a shortage of skilled IT professionals in various regions, we aim to leverage technology to optimize resource usage. For instance, the integration of AI helps in generating scripts and automating processes, making IT management more effective and responsive, particularly in the dynamic environments of regulated and security-sensitive verticals.

Overall, our commitment to innovation, seamless partner collaborations, and a customer-centric approach drive our growth and enable us to deliver secure and cutting-edge solutions to diverse markets.

A: What are your plans for expanding your partnerships in India? Other than the current GoTo partners in India, are there any plans for further expansion?

L: Our strategy is to continue building on our current momentum. The key to our success lies in the GoTo Partner Network program, which allows us to cater to our partners' specific strengths in the market and align with our go-to-market approach. We have established successful partnerships, such as with Sonata, with whom we collaborate closely. We ensure that their technical resources are well-equipped and thoroughly understand our products, enabling them to deliver relevant solutions to their customers and partner network.

Support is another essential aspect of our partnership approach. Our partners have direct access to our support organization, and we also provide training to them so they can offer timely support to our customer base, ensuring smooth business operations.

Additionally, we have a unique model where we have a direct Salesforce, but they sell through the channel. This means that our partners, like Sonata, have access to presales resources, technical pre-qualification capabilities, and technical demonstrations to address any customer-specific needs and security concerns. These resources enhance the overall sales and customer experience, while still maintaining the wide reach we aim for. By providing in-house expertise to our products through our channel partners, we ensure a superior experience for everyone involved.

A: Lindsay, Mohan, is there anything else you'd like to add to this conversation?

M: Customers are seeking simplified solutions that consolidate multiple capabilities and features, reducing costs and improving efficiency. GoTo's offerings align perfectly with what customers are looking for. Instead of providing various small products and struggling to integrate them, GoTo's unified solution delivers better value to customers.

A: Lindsay or Mohan, can you share your market share in India for hybrid and communication solutions? I understand it's a competitive industry.

L: While we don't typically share specific regional or global market share numbers. But what I can typically say is because I look after the Asia Pacific region, I want to make sure that we are at least positioned ourselves within the top 2 to 3 companies in terms of market share and brand prevalence. Because that sort of says to us that a market is worth pursuing and being active in. I can say that with confidence, given the presence we've got not only with India but with Southeast Asia, looking at the tier ones, whether it's within Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, you name it. We were there in the Philippines as well and obviously, we've got a really strong presence in Australia, and New Zealand as well.

So, you can say we are quite up there, especially in terms of our products like Rescue, we are the gold standard, given our 20+ years of experience and expertise. And now, bringing all that together, further building on our all-in-one solution when it comes to IT service management which is GoTo Resolve is what we're trying to do next. This further strengthens our market position, especially as it relates to small to medium enterprises.