Netgear focusses on Innovations and not on Commodities : By - Sanjay Kumar Head – SMB Product Line, Netgear Inc., USA
If any segment lures the vendors to the Indian market to invest, it is the SMB market. If one looks at the market statistics, in all product categories in Information Technology, except mobile, security, digital home entertainment and lifestyle products, no other product is really growing so remarkably. From the product perspective, it is perhaps the enterprises which have completed their needs and they are now fortifying security and enabling their mobile workers and for the other two product categories clearly it is the consumer, home and SoHo markets which are driving the growth.
The SMBs and SoHo are also responsible for the consumption of a large number of the networking products, including active and passive. The trend of networks for the SMBs is, more or less, similar across the globe. It is not that SMBs in India are not different or behind in terms of adopting technologies, when it comes to the rest of the world. For example, they are aggressively going for SSL technology, switching or smart switching technology. They are deploying security technologies, VoIP, wireless, storage devices, high-speed applications, video- conferencing devices, etc. If one looks at the technology companies, all the companies are registering a tremendous growth. And, the volume is coming from the SMBs, though the value is coming from the large enterprises.
Therefore, genetically, those vendors who are SMB and SoHo focussed are in the advantageous position to take an early lead. One such vendor is Netgear, which is focussed on the SMB segment very aggressively. In order to demonstrate its commitment, the company has announced a lifetime warranty on ProSafe line of switches, security and wireless products. Before this announcement, Netgear had started a training programme for the channel partners across the country. In the first phase, the company covered all the metros, including New Delhi (which happened on 9th of Aril), Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad and in the second and third phases the company has plans to cover 15 non-metro locations in the months of May and June. And, the cities will include Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Pune, Ahmedabad, Surat, Indore, Raipur, Kochi and Coimbatore.
Sanjay Kumar, Head – SMB Product Line, Netgear Inc., USA., who was on a visit to India to address one of the training programmes for the channel partners in New Delhi, says, “We have all the different products for small and medium businesses. The value proposition of our business is that we take enterprise-class technology and tailor-make it for small- and medium-class businesses.” He adds,” “We are focussing very much on the SMBs. And, because of that we innovate and bring out products first to the market that is relevant to the SMBs and make sure that those products address the pain points of this segment with regard to whatever feature they are looking for.”
Actually, what really distinguishes Netgear from the competitors in the marketplace is its emphasis on the tailor-making of products for the SMBs. If one looks at all its products, they are very easy to deploy, easy to manage and easy to grow with. That is very hard to find with the competition.
Since the Netgear products are simple to use, it provides low TCO and thereby helps in saving time and resources.
Sanjay adds, “In the training programmes we conduct, we communicate our partners about the range of our products across different technologies, including switching, routing and even security. We want to show to our partners that we not only have different portfolio, but also high differentiator from the competition within the portfolio. No matter what the needs of the customers are, we have the solutions.”
In the switching category, Netgear has products in unmanaged, managed and smart category. Smart switches are a mix between unmanaged and managed switches. So, they have management capabilities, but it is easier to use and more affordable compared to managed switches. The difference between the smart switch and the managed switch is that the smart switches can be managed remotely through web, but the fully-managed switch can be managed through CLI (command line interface). According to him, smart switches are categorically created and it is the testimony to the company’s innovation. Adding on this, Sanjay says, “We have created the Smart switches about three years back, and today, it is the fastest growing segment in the switching space.”
Netgear Routers are integrated with full security functionality, as well as, in some cases, with wireless capability. Besides, the company has a full range of security products, including firewall, VPN and SSL VPN (ProSafe SSL312). According to Sanjay, Netgear is the only company to have launched this product. We also have innovated the SSL for SMBs. All the others in the competition provide enterprise-class products which are very expensive with 100 tunnels etc. But our product is much less in cost and provides 25 tunnels what the SMB needs.”
Netgear also has the complete range of wireless access points, with options for a different mix and match. The ranges include G-based products, super G-based products, Smart MIMO (Multi-In, Multi-Out) technology, RangeMax NEXT Wireless technology, etc. with all the features and security that the SMB is looking for. The company also has storage and print servers, wireless adapters, NICs, etc.
If one monitors the movement of Netgear, it brings out something or other new technology every quarter. The latest addition to the record is the stackable switches with gigabyte speed and stackable switches in the smart switch category. Apart from 10/100/1000 GB speed ports, these technological advanced product provide dedicated 20 GB stacking bandwidth. The SMBs can add switches without worrying about the cost. These products can be managed all together and has redundancy. In case of any glitch, there is a hot swappable failover backup mechanism to take over. At a time, one can stack up to six switches on a stack, which provide capability of 288 ports.
Sanjay says that Netgear is very well positioned as a brand globally as well as in India in the SMB space. He adds, “As far as market share is concerned, we are number-1 in the worldwide smart switching space. We are also number-1 in the unmanaged switching space space. In the fully managed space, we compete with all the big names, including Cisco, 3Com, Juniper, etc.” According to him, the company is growing better than the industry growth rate. It means it will catch up with the leaders very soon. Atul Jain, Country Manager, Netgear India, says, “As per IDC last quarter results, there are very few companies which have shown a positive growth and out of them Netgear has achieved maximum growth.”
The popularity of the brand is evident from the presence of the channel partners in the training programme at New Delhi. In spite of the fact that it was organized at short notice, nearly 90 per cent of the invitees were available in this training session. Every one was extremely attentive.
Sanjay maintains, “It is a good sign that the partners are eager to learn about Netgear and they are eager to understand what kind of value we offer.” “We are speaking to the partners about our solutions for SMBs no matter what type of networking it might be or what type of technology pursuit they might have. We have a variety of products for various applications. The idea and the message is to show how to fix together and work in sync with each other,” he adds. The company also taught the partners about the capability of the different products so that the partners can be able to map the right solutions for the customers and provide them exactly what they want at a lower TCO.
Even though India is a price-sensitive country, Netgear does not want to compromise on anything. Rather, it focusses on delivering value to the customers. The company believ es that as long as we deliver value to the customers, they will come back and buy from us and they will be loyal to us. Sanjay says, “If you compromise on quality for better price, you will cut corners and the customer will suffer. Once they have bad experience, you will lose the customers forever. Their livelihood poises on the network being stable, reliable and scalable. Their business only grows with the network.”
The achievement Netgear has achieved is quite phenomenal looking at the fact that it has limited resources. Atul adds, “Currently, we have six people in place and we are increasing our manpower in Kolkata, one more in Delhi and in Mumbai.””“We have also a representative in Bangalore. We have two offices in India“– one in Delhi and another is in Bangalore,” he adds. In fact, the strength of Netgear in India is its distributors, i.e. Rashi Peripherals, Cyberstar and Advent and 100-odd VAR partners. The company is also working with a sizable number of SIs in the country. Atul is hopeful of adding 30–40 per cent channel partners this year. The warranty is being looked after by the distributors and for post-sales installation and support is being taken care of by the toll-free number of the company.
SMBs have a limited budget. They do not have IT resources and even do not have time for chasing technology. They will be looking after their business – not networking. But they want all the applications deployed in their place. They want web presence, ERP applications, mission-critical applications, wireless application or even VoIP, etc. So, they need reliable, scalable and easily manageable solutions, which allow them to grow. Now, Netgear tries to demystify their complexity by training the partners and enabling them to address the pain points of their customers.
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