Partners In Business Growth

In the inaugural issue of CI,
I had written, "For any business to be successful, the customer must derive more value from the product than
what he pays for it…Channels India would mean better business for its readers
and its advertisers." As we complete a year, let me take stock and see
whether we have been instrumental in reaching the objectives that we set out for
ourselves?

From April 1999 to March 2000, Rs 9,500 crore worth of IT
products were sold in the Indian market. Of this, a whopping Rs 7,000 crore
moved through the channels. In other words, three out of every four rupees came
to manufacturers by way of their sales partners.

Four years back, the total channel population was 3,000.
Today, this number exceeds 20,000. And the growth is not restricted to metros.
Channel players are there in every nook and corner of India and have been
instrumental in taking IT to vast geographies of India.

It is in this milieu of growing sales, increasing number of
players and expanding geographies that CI was born to cater to
this fast expanding community and help them do their business better. Indeed, it
is the success or failure of channel strategies that determine the success or
failure of an OEM.

Through the pages of the magazine, we have been helping the
OEMs by taking their messages to the channels; and the resellers by helping them
manage their businesses better. And your feedback suggests that we have indeed
managed to achieve the objectives that I had outlined last year.

Numerous OEMs and resellers have talked about the tremendous
role CI has played in providing high value for money for the
business. I am thankful to the companies for providing us encouraging feedback.
It will help us deliver higher value from CI in the future.

What kind of higher value can be provided? Wouldn’t our
readers want to stock fast moving products? Or keep optimum inventory? Or better
still, find out ways to reduce dead inventory? Or sell high margin products? The
answer is yes and CI helps the industry do it by providing the
bridge between the OEMs and the channels.

CI has achieved this by letting the vendor
communicate product information, technology direction, pricing information, and
market trends to its channel associates. Similarly, for the channel, it provides
the trends on which their profitability depends. If a channel player can react
to the changes quickly, he will get an edge over others.

For instance, an understanding of market trends in order to
identify the peak and the troughs helps optimization of inventory. Knowledge
about the power of different brands and the long-term strategies of OEMs help a
channel player to stock fast-moving products. The impact of any new technology
on older technology would result in less dead inventory.

And this is what CI aims to provide. We
highlight technological trends, product launches, company plans, brand
management, market trends, demand trends, strategies, tie-ups, tender
information, pricing information, etc, in order to help improve the
profitability of channel players.

The future holds lots of opportunities for the channels. It
also holds equal number of challenges. The Internet will put pressure on
existing brick and mortar channels to lower selling costs and general admini-
strative costs.

What is needed is efficient expansion of the market. It means
that the selling cost per unit sold must go down. The buzzword for success will
be efficiency. The channel partners would have to understand their core
competencies and will have to work on them to gain an edge in the market.

CI will continuously help its readers achieve these objectives. I
ended my article last year by saying "And once having set the goal, we can’t
rest until we reach it". The only thing is that every year we keep on
raising the goal. So we are not going to rest but will continue to move rapidly
in order to keep the magazine relevant and full of value to all of you.

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