Chennai is one of the key markets for manufacturing, automobile, and ITeS. As a market, Chennai has always welcomed newer technologies and has experimented it. Vijay Anand, a long-timer in the Chennai market with 20 years of IT Infrastructure & Information Security experience in the areas of IT Operation, Digital Technologies, Cloud Infrastructure, Service and Support,Project Management,Governance, Risk Management, and compliance in multiple industry verticals like Healthcare/IT/ITES & E-Commerce . speaks on what the CIOs from Chennai expects from the partners serving them. Edited excerpts.
What are the unique aspects of Chennai as a market?
Chennai is predominantly a hub for Manufacturing and ITES companies. Chennai has some of the best colleges in India and churns out a decent number of qualified graduates. Local talent is available in plenty in Chennai. Also, the cost of living here is moderate when compared to other metros and is also a safer place to live. With its affordable real estate cost footprint, it has become a viable place for industries to invest.
What are the key qualities IT heads from Chennai look at while selecting a channel partner?
While there are many qualities which we, the CIOs in Chennai look at, majorly we look at how the channel partners communicate on focused products. We also look at their local presence, service delivery mechanism, and support delivery mechanism. Also, we focus on their financial stability and internal technical team capabilities.
How is the decision-making cycle happens in Chennai? (fast or delay)
In Chennai, I had noticed the decision-making cycle differing from one organization to another. I feel the decision making cycle depends purely on the organization culture. In Multi-National Companies, an annual budget is approved and the IT department does not need to seek approvals every time. Vendors are selected from the approved list and procurement is done. In general, most of the traditional companies, the decision is made whenever a need arises. Thus there might be a delay in procurement and planning.
You say pricing is the last consideration point. Please justify as many think that price is the only factor that differentiates them with others.
Of course, price is an important factor. However, most of us feel product suitability and functionality are highly important. Rather than choosing ‘the best product at the best price’, it is prudent to choose ‘the right product at the right price’. Also dealing with the OEM’s directly will avoid price manipulation. With new deployments, there are a lot of technical roll-out issues. Thus, choosing the right partner with key technical resources, the implementation cost also varies. Thus we will not mind spending additional cost provided if the right service is obtained.
How is the awareness of technology among the top management and business owners of organizations in Chennai? What your peers from other regions say on that?
For the past two or three decades, technology has been slowly embedded in daily life and top management in all companies are getting tech-savvy to a certain level. There is hardly anyone who cannot understand the basic technologies. As top management cannot ignore technology, as most of their works are dependent on technology today. Thus, over the years, such working experiences helps. They are also constant learners as technology has become a part of their routine life.
What are the tips you would like to give for any channel partner serving the customers in Chennai? How can they win the confidence of the IT heads like you?
In my view, some of the key things a partner should keep in mind while dealing with IT heads in Chennai organizations are consistent support and delightful customer experience. Also, the channel partners should ensure that there is constant communication to the CIOs on new areas of technology. Understanding the customers pain-areas and pitching the right solutions will win confidence. And I think, that is why they are called partners and not vendors or suppliers.
Finally, in general, a channel partner having an established organization or HQ in Chennai is given preference or even partners who can serve remote will also be considered?
Partners with presence in Chennai is preferred mostly irrespective of where their Head office. For certain key deployments, when we are unable to find any good local support in Chennai, we do work with remote partners also. However, in most cases, Chennai IT heads prefer the local presence because of security and various other concerns.