The Integrator talks to Ramkumar Balakrishnan, President, Redington Value Division and Sayantan Dev, Redington Gulf Vice President to understand their new data analytics practice.
Distribution in the region has seen various changes over the last couple of years with the most significant being the shift from product based to solutions-based.
Redington Value, a leader in the value-added distributor channel saw the opportunity for expansion and growth by becoming a services aggregator and solutions provider for the channel. The driving force behind this change has been to keep up with their customer’s behaviour and the way that they want to consume technology. Hence, the journey began from providing products and solutions that the channel needed to a trusted partner that delivers outcomes to their customers.
To take on the issue of going from successfully selling hardware, software, licenses and subscriptions to reselling cloud services, Redington set up their own market place which currently serves over 900 odd customers. They play the role of an aggregator by re-selling the services from AWS, Microsoft and several other vendors that they have on board their market place. Citrus Consulting was set up to be able to efficiently provide implementation, support, managed services through the channel.
Data Analytics opportunity
Then began the next phase of setting up their next initiative around data science and advanced analytics. According to Gartner, by the end of 2020, the advanced analytics market is forecast to grow to $22.8 billion.
“Between different market reports the analytics, addressable markets for Middle East and Africa is anywhere between 3 to 4 billion US dollars including all the products, all the services, this is a sizeable business opportunity in front of our partners. Our whole idea about setting up this practice was creating the capacity in terms of skills which can become complimenting to what our partners can deliver and jointly we can go and address this 4-billion-dollar market.” says Ramkumar Balakrishnan, President, Redington Value Division. The fundamental basis upon which this practice has been set up is to enable their channel partners to move up the value chain and address these opportunities, he further adds.
Sayantan Dev, Redington Gulf Vice President went on to explains what this practice is going to bring to the forefront. “Unlike any infrastructure business, we went straight into the customer premise and tried to find out from the customer side. It starts with a business problem that the customer wants to resolve with the help of other IT solutions what we call the data science or to be more precise decision science.” The sources of data available largely depends on the customer. The structured or unstructured petabytes of data comes in and is given to the models which would be able to provide extremely accurate outcomes. Redington Value will soon be revealing the few world class vendors they have signed on.
One of a kind
This model of distributing big data analytics practice has neve been done before regionally and perhaps globally. A year and a half of work has gone into this initiative and for Redington it has been an immense learning curve, but they have taken the challenge head on to feature this pilot model globally along with their vendors. Before signing on global vendors, a lot of confidence had to be built. These vendors used to use the classic value add models to be able to sell their products. They will now benefit from a better more well put together structure. A team of 25 people is being put together under data science, where no one on the team is from a distribution background. The team is made up of people from consulting background and or a background of services, people who understand business more than technology. Additionally, there are several people who will be hired for Citrus from a delivery stand point. These people are divided into consultants – they are either technology consultants or domain consultants, technical pre-sales, sales. They will consult the end customer along with the partner.
There are two kinds of technical people – people who will write the algorithm i.e.; data scientists and then you have the coders. The people who are well versed with being able to write the right codes to create the right structure around big data.
Redington Value makes training one of its core functions which they deliver to vendors and partners. Hosting around 500-600 training sessions in a calendar year for various vendors which includes certification trainings, enablement trainings, training for end customers hands on for what products they have bought and various kinds of trainings and have various calendars that keep coming out. “We are an authorised training centre for several of our vendors also. Now with the analytics and the new practice, education, enablement and training is going to be most critical.” says Ramkumar Balakrishnan. With customer success being a very important area of the practice.
Redington has seen a window that this is a multimillion dollar business opportunity for their partners who will be delivering a major chunk of the services, this opportunity must be significant. If they are to take on VAR’s and System Integrators, this practice can become million dollars in a few years’ time. The real value relies on the services and not the product itself.
Redington is going to invest on creating horizontal technology specialisation then leverage Citrus to bring in vertical specialisation. But the partner cannot take on this investment by himself. For a partner it’s about picking a vertical, bringing in the domain expertise and then selecting one or two areas of technology, having the right amount of investment and then leveraging Redington says Ramkumar Balakrishnan.