in an exclusive interview with ITVoice, Arati Naik, COO, DIGISOL (Smartlink Network Systems Ltd.), reveals her strategies forbusiness in India.
Arati Naik, COO, DIGISOL (Smartlink Network Systems Ltd.)
Vikas Gupta :- What are your company action plans for this year in terms of offering products and solutions for digital empowerment?
Arati Naik :- Smartlink wants to be one of the key drivers of the digital India moment with a range of our products like routers, dongles, CCTV cameras and IP Surveillance solutions. The core strength of Smartlink is ‘Networking’ and networking is an integral part of making digitally connected India a reality.
We have started local manufacturing of a lot of products recently and this gives us a better scope to understand the needs and requirements of our people and manufacture products which will suit them
Vikas Gupta :- What is your channel policy in India? What kind of channel expansion are you looking for in the near future?
Arati Naik :- Channel plays a significant role in the DIGISOL setup. The fact is that a major share of DIGISOL’s revenues in India is chipped in by the channel, which is testimony to DIGISOL’s commitment towards them and outlines the significance of channel in the DIGISOL business model.
We feel that profitability of the partners plays an important role in motivating them to sell more. Our solutions have the width; we have a wide range of products such as routers, switches, in addition to accessories like LAN extenders, media converters, SPF modules, etc, to meet the varying needs of the market segment we focus, whereas others are focusing on niche segments with limited products. For instance, if someone needs Surveillance Solution, there is a high probability that he needs POE switches: we have the both in our kitty. Most providers have limited range of products in their portfolios. Since our range is wide, our partners do not have to approach different vendors for different products and assemble them later.
We also have at our end, loyalty and incentive schemes to motivate the channel partners. There are two parts of profit: One is upfront margin on the sales and the second if they give a certain amount of business quarterly they will get some extra incentive. Next, instead of giving gifts, tours, etc we are trying to give hard cash to the players for their performance as incentives, as far as possible.
Channel expansion within India is a continuous process. Spread across India, Smartlink has 10 branch offices, 20 plus regional distributors, over 180 Stockist Partners, and over 5000 plus resellers. We works closely with our channel partners and system integrators who value the power and quality of our products.
Vikas Gupta :- What are the USP of DIGISOL products in a crowded market?
Arati Naik :- Given our 20-year history of pioneering technologies in the networking equipment segment, we have been actively shaping the networking markets locally as per the global standards. Since we are the first one to introduce networking products in the Indian market, you can say we created the Networking market in the country. Similarly we are the first one to start manufacturing in country with setup of SMT lines.
Few of the USP’s that keep us ahead with our competitors
1) Local Manufacturing
2) Strong after Sales and Service support
3) Nationwide sales and distribution network
Q). What is your strategy for the consumer space where the market has become fragmented?
We at DIGISOL want to give our customers what they really want and therefore understanding their preferences is an important aspect to device product and solutions innovations. Not just our products are customer friendly but also our after-sales services like product replacement guarantee and customer service support function are in place so that our valued customers aren’t left disappointed.
Vikas Gupta :- How do assure your customer best service support?
Arati Naik :- We are among the very few IT companies which have its own Service Support division DIGICARE, which gives us an edge over our competitor. Our high quality and reputable after-sale-services are strategically built to deliver customer satisfaction.
We offer first-rate integrated service and support through our special service division, DIGICARE, which consists of RMA centres, Smartlink Technical Assistance Centre (STAC) and Direct Service Department (DSD).
DIGICARE has evolved most efficient, skilled and professional state of service infrastructure.
We provide end-to-end product life cycle support which includes
Providing remote support to the channel partners and end customers on configuration of products in various networks.
Warranty support for repair/replacement of products when they go defective during warranty period.
Post warranty support to manage the trouble free functioning of the product.
Vikas Gupta :- What are the marketing activities that were undertaken to build the brand?
Arati Naik :- Since brand DIGISOL is still young, to promote the brand we are putting a lot of efforts to educate the channel community—partners, distributors, SIs, etc—because it is the channel partners who interact with the end customers, they play a big role in building the brand. One of the major marketing initiative we have taken is signing on Sonakshi Sinha as our brand ambassador.
At the end of the day, it is the channel that is face to face with the customer. Unless the channel partners are convinced about the merits of the products, they will not be able to convince the end customer. This year we are undertaking events across India for our channel community, where we are having 1 to 1 interaction with our channel partners. We also actively participate in trade shows, expos, etc. Apart from these, we are also aggressively promoting in-shop branding. We are regularly in connect with our partners who have been selling our products through regular marketing updates and marketing brochures. Apart from them we are also conducting lot of training sessions. While advertising in print media remains a part of our promotion, we are very active on social media front on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.