Amarnath Shetty, CEO, LDS Infotech, while starting his company in the year 1999, firmly believed that his company adapts highest standards of honesty, integrity, and transparency. While completing 20 years, he claims he has managed to retain more than 65% of his customers. In an exclusive chat with B Swaminathan, he shares his journey, best practices he followed and his organization plans.
You had started the organization when the economy was at a shabby stage. How challenging was the initial stage?
I believe that for starting the Entrepreneur journey any time is a good time. The scenario was definitely challenging with limited Infra and limited resources, but I was armed with zeal and will to only succeed. We had to work very hard but my experience of working for an IT company for 8 years really helped me to get going. The only positive thing was the Indian IT industry was not matured that time and there was a huge opportunity to be addressed.
LDS is now into multiple solutions. What according to you was the turning point that changed the way you are doing business?
Right from inception, we believed in strong customer support, quick response to customer queries and the speed at which we do business. I believe every year was a turning point as we strived to do better than the previous year. Multiple vendors started approaching us for the partnership since 2004. In fact, right from beginning, we didn’t approach vendors, and it was the other way that vendors have started approaching us seeing our reach and our growth.
What were the top practices you have in LDS infotech in terms of Human resources and finance which you can attribute your success to?
We have a full-fledged HR team in place who looks after employee grievances and recruitment. One of our strength is our dedicated team of people who are with us for long years. We hire a lot of people through a reference. We continuously train and upscale our team in their KRAs. We have a very disciplined way of approaching finance management. We continuously focus on collections and pay our vendors also in time. In this industry, we cannot afford to offer long term credit to our customers. Sometimes we have to choose our customers and we are thankful to our customers who have been there with us for so many years, who pay us on time and come back to us again and again.
As a channel partner, you would have interacted with many channel partners outside India. How do you compare Indian channel eco-system with your counterparts in other nations?
Every Geo has its pros and cons. Indian Channel ecosystem is also maturing enough. vendors have more personalised touch here with the Partners. If Partners here focus more on solutions than price, I think, we will have a win-win situation.
In the last 20 years, how do you see the role of a channel partner in the decision-making process of the customers?
I think partners still have the role to play especially in technology solutions. A lot of our customers ask for suggestions on which product to go for. Especially in this cloud transformation process, customers ask for suggestions. Having said that, as many customers share their own team of technocrats and many vendors directly being in touch with customers, a lot of them have already decided on their requirements.
You have clients from various industries- retail, petrochemical, education, FMCG and more. Is it right to build a clientele with one single industry or having a client from multiple industries? Justify the same.
I feel it is better to have customers from multiple industries especially in our business of Products and IT Services as our products and Services are needed in every sector of customers. Also focussing on only one single industry may have its own repercussions as any change in government policies on that Industry might hit the business of your company. It is always better to put your eggs in different bags. For e.g. right from the beginning, we had a special focus on education, although more than 85% of our business comes from corporates.
Moving forward, what is the roadmap for LDS infotech?
Our focus will be mainly on IT services, Cloud Infrastructure services, and customer-centric Technology solutions. We have set up a separate team to provide Cloud Infrastructure Services which is vendor agnostic. The focus will be also on the subscription-based model as practiced by many vendors nowadays. We will strive to continuously train our employees on the latest technologies and try to attract trained technical guys to our fold. We will keep transforming ourselves and would like to be the first choice for customers IT services requirements.
What would you like to advise the new entrants in the channel business?
Only finance and technology will not take you where you want to go. You need to be different, focus on your strengths, continuously focus on customers. Manage, guide and monitor your team well and business will be automatically taken care.