Seagate plays fair with Everybody :By - Rajesh Khurana Country Manager, India & SAARC, Seagate
With Seagate’s distribution realignment in India, followed by anguish of the sub-distributors, Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Seagate, has come up with an answer as to why they elevated Supertron and Fortune Marketing.
In fact, when eSys moved out of the agreement, Seagate was a bit apprehensive of the market, but the market had not reacted so much. But there was a certain gap created and the company had to take certain measures to bridge the gap. The measure was to create new national distributors – apart from Ingram micro and Redington.
According to Rajesh, Seagate had evaluated all the sub-distributors on a set of criteria, which included the attitude of the sub-distis, focus on Seagate business, vision, business model, channel feedback, etc. And, post the activity, only top two were upgraded to be the national distributors and these two were Supertron and Fortune Marketing.
However, this step had caused anguish among those channel partners who were not given chance and there were speculations about this. However, Rajesh has finally broken his silence and said, “When you speak about the people who are not happy you need to see their resources also. Having said that, Seagate admits that each sub-distributor has its own advantage and unique value. Therefore, the company will work aggressively with these partners.”
Assuaging the concern of some sub-distis, the company has also given a choice of dollar billing from Ingram Micro at Singapore. And, the OEMs will bill from Redigton. However, Rajesh recommends to the partners to adapt to the rupee bill business so that they can ensure more profit with few hassles. Seagate has tried to play fair with everybody.
Over a period of time, Seagate has really fortified its position in all the regions. It has divided the entire geography (India) into four domains – East, West, North and South. From each domain, the company has selected 20–25 strategic partners, who have ultimately become the members of the Seagate Regional Council. Under this programme, Seagate provides a host of benefits to the channel partners. Not only that, the company’s market policy is influenced by the feedback of the regional councils. Rajesh says,’“We have been meeting them regularly and in the last one year, we have concluded five regional meets.”
The meets are always useful for the channel partners as well as the vendors. The event that Seagate is conducting in each of the regions spans for two days, out of which one day is spent on brainstorming about the regional issues – tactical as well as future plans. And, the second day is surely on road map and product or technology offering from the vendor. Rajesh says, “The ideas coming from the channel partners become very instrumental in shaping our strategies. And, our strategy to focus more on the rupee billing is the result of the discussions we had at the regional councils.”
Apart from the channel realignment in India, what has Seagate done to sustain its position in the Indian market includes focussing on new verticals. For example, surveillance vertical is one where the company is focussing and it is driving the partners to address this market. Seagate is perhaps the only vendor, who has brought special drive for surveillance, which takes less power and is robust in nature. The company is also offering focussed product programmes and channel programmes for this segment. Apart from this, Seagate is investing in all the potential market segments, including automobile, gaming consoles, disk or sky TVs, CE, mobile, etc. Therefore, the company nearly 40–42 drives, each targeted for individual applications.
Apart from this, geographically even, in the C- and D-class cities, the company is trying to extend its reach by offering programmes and schemes etc. Rajesh says, “You will see more and more events will be held in the smaller cities.”
Seagate has really worked upon its service issues by authorizing its premium partners to have two-way pick-up and drop of drives to the nearest Accel service centre. As such, Accel has 43 service centres across the country. By giving the premium partners the authorization to drop and pick the drives, the company has really enhanced the confidence of the partners. Besides, the company has put in place a mechanism to restrict the turnaround time (TAT) of the drives to 2–4 working days.
According to Rajesh, Seagate has entered 2007 with a high note, to be present in all across the verticals with 3600 approach to the market. If everything goes right for the company, Seagate will grow aligned with the industry growth rate or even outpace the industry growth.