Wresting the advantage


Ramkumar Balakrishnan, President, Redington Value Distribution discusses how its recent initiatives including the Red Vault, consulting arm Uniplum and its cloud marketplace Red Cloud are significant initiatives to enable partners and enhance the distributor’s differentiation.

Discuss the Red Vault?
The Red Vault is really one of a kind initiative and encompasses multiple objectives. The Red Vault is a proper 80 ft container which has been transformed into a datacenter; it has a briefing centre and includes a showcase of every flavor of the hyperconverged platform, the journey to the cloud and how you secure the cloud environment. The front is a see through interactive LED panel. The datacenter is captured imaginatively on this panel. It is very intuitive. We are having this positioned across the region. It has been capturing imagination in social media etc. The intent is to offer customer a ‘wow’ factor and an easy interactive experience of everything in the datacenter and the latest in technologies which is easy to understand. There are about 25 solutions showcase and this will continue to grow.

How does it benefit the partner and his customers?
The operational value for a partner is that he can provide a proper PoC to his customer. It is possible to showcase a preview or simulation of how the journey to cloud could be. We can set up and showcase a lot many solutions as to how they will operate in his network. It is a live working simulation centre which is why we call it an innovation centre.
We are talking to ISVs to bring in their applications forte. We are inviting students to come and get an experience; we will offer internships going forward. So there is the purpose of technology showcase, a strong focus of PoC, of innovation, of training etc that are included among the key objectives.

How can this be replicated in other location?

The facility is now being expanded to Redington Value’s branches in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Nigeria. We use some collaborative technologies so while we have the datacenter here, in other locations, it will do to have a video wall wherein they can connect live to the datacenter and when a consultant demonstrates something here, it will be shown live and available in the other location. They can showcase something in the remote location by using collaborative technologies to access the datacenter. Therefore, we can recreate this in multiple solutions.

What do you think is the key outcome for you as a distributor and how has the responses been?

We are bringing differentiation. We expect the channel to take advantage of this. We want to play a critical role in training and facilitating transformation among our partners. The response so far has been wonderful.

Elaborate on the consulting practice that has been set up?
We have also set up a consulting arm called Uniplum. Part of the Redington group, it is however a separate company. Uniplum consists of a team of technologists and problem solvers from different verticals and solutions with an ability to inform, explore and confirm decisions, solve complex problems and bring new ideas into the market.
It will focus in three areas- Big Data, IoT and cloud transformation. these are primarily areas wherein you can take solutions to market successfully if you don’t have consulting expertise around the domains. That is because in the case of these solutions, you have to talk to LoBs and not the IT heads. Consulting is an integral part of the solution offering in these domains without which you cannot participate in such opportunities.
The most important aspect is to enhance our partners’ abilities to sell these solutions. And to do that they need to understand what the underlying business problems are, and there comes the need for greater consultation and collaboration.

Discuss the success of your cloud initiative?
We had also launched RedCloud last year which is now enhanced- a self service aggregation and billing platform. Today in addition to AWS and Microsoft, we have several other service providers whom we are getting on board the platform. With the platform for aggregating cloud services and the consulting layer on top of it, I believe we have a great go to market model. The response to the Red Cloud has been good and we expect some significant momentum over the next year.