Several milestones contributed to 44 percent growth in agency business for Wipro during 1999-00.
One, Wipro tied up with global brands including Cisco, Luscent and Sun Microsystems. It tied up with IBM for its desktops and notebooks and with Intel for its servers. Relaunching of Wipro Super Genius was another major event.
Channel partners sold over 10,000 home PCs for Wipro. The major boost to these sales came from ‘Home Utsavs’ which Wipro conducted jointly with its partners. Twenty cities were covered with over 40 ‘Utsavs’ leading to a sale of seven to eight thousand PCs. The ‘Utsavs’ were held at the weekends with spot offers and ready finance which proved to be very popular with end-users.
For Wipro, the annual channel conference is a major event where the top management mingles with partners to get grassroot-level feedback. The event was held in Agra last year. Besides, Wipro also shared its business and product roadmap with partners through two of its biannual sessions called ‘PC Academy’.
Wipro held several technology seminars for users during the year. These seminars did not dwell on products but purely on technologies and their impact. For instance, one was held on “Effect of the Internet on the economy”.
Twelve to 15 channel partners made pleasure trips to Europe and Egypt after achieving their targets. Wipro also ran its own and vendor-driven schemes to keep the motivation of its partners at a high level.
Wipro has ambitious plans to stop paper-based communications completely with its partners in the near future. A web-based operating system is in place for all business transactions. Already 100 percent of its partners are on e-mail and 90 percent do their business transactions on the Web. This figure is expected to reach 100 percent in the near future.
An in-house developed ERP system, SIMEX, is employed towards efficient supply chain management and inventory control. VSats are used to connect the company’s manufacturing facility at Pondichery with 12 warehouses countrywide to ensure timely deliveries to partners.
Y2K fears came as a bottleneck for about 15 days in December-January during the last financial year. There was very little billing done on those days. But the market recovered soon and contributed to a 44 percent growth in Wipro’s revenues.
During 1998-99 Wipro had 160 partners. This figure was brought up to
212 last year at 104 locations enabling maximum reach to Wipro and its agency products. The company continually focuses on enrolling quality partners. This year it wants the number channel partner to increase to 225-250. These will be supported by 14 Wipro offices throughout the country.
A 40 percent growth is being planned for channel business this year. The strategy that is being adopted to achieve this growth is by enabling partners to move up the value chain. Wipro wants its partners to move from being mere box-pushers to solution providers. It is also encouraging its partners to get into systems integration.
Wipro is in a position to help partners to move up the value chain because it understands technology. Being in the business for a long time now, it is in a position to understand customer needs and give this feedback to its partners. Above all, its business processes are in place inducing confidence among its channel.
Already business has seen an upswing with one bundle every quarter. Bundling is being used as a major strategy to boost up sales. Wipro wants to leverage the Internet and get rid of paperwork to ensure its partners concentrate on customers and account management.