The second wave of Covid pandemic has definitely handicapped many organizations due to lack of right solution. Rahul Sharma, MD, India & SAARC, LogMeIn explained about his strategy to support such organization from remote work perspective. Excerpts
What is your sense on market sentiment?
It’s a pretty worrying situation. If you see around you, it has hit more than the first time. In the first outbreak there were a lot of people getting impacted, but there were better recoveries also.
People were still trying to figure out what to do this time. So, my hopes and prayers for everybody out there who’s undergoing through this. We hope everybody will be back as safe and sound.
We are offering a suite of our products as free to organizations who need it as emergency situation of remote work.
MD, India & SAARC,
On Behalf of LogMeIn are you doing something about it in terms of supporting your employees, partners or customers.
Yeah, absolutely. We are doing our bit in trying to help. For us our employees and their family’s well-being is of utmost importance. So, we are trying to see what all we can do in terms of supporting them in making sure that all of our employees around the world are getting better attention, whether it is from a medical standpoint or financial standpoint, etc.
So, a lot of our employees are contributing volunteering time and financially and even pulling resources to extend help whatsoever during this second wave of the pandemic. One of the things that we are discussing, which is not finalized right now, how we can create facility in our facilities in India where we have spacious offices. So that we can convert some of those offices into quarantine zones for the people who need it. We can look at procurement of vaccinations or medical equipment and send out to India.
From a pure technology standpoint, what we had done during the first wave of pandemic that we had given a suite of our products for free for the emergency situation of remote work environment. Of course it was for a certain period of time. Now we are restarting that again and this time, we’re not just restricting this offering to our existing customers or channel partners but for other people and organizations who requires that in a business environment.
So last time we were giving it to some Not-For-Profit organizations, educational institutions, but we are opening that up to anybody who wants to use it this time around.
There are organizations who need this technology, but we do not know how to get it or where to get it from, but we want to make sure that this time everybody is covered in this.
What is your business prediction now? Are you going to change the prediction you have for the target that you have laid out for your team?
No, I don’t think I will be changing any predictions around the business. In times like this, our technology becomes even more relevant for use. It only helps us and solidify on our mission that we have to put our technology in the hands of organizations where they can use it to work or get work done from anywhere.
We just want to make sure that the availability of the product and the ease of usage and you know, it just seamlessly integrates into a customer’s environment.
Any particular strategy that you are planning the channel partners?
What we need from our partners is to take our message to their customers in terms of their emergency remote work environment. Here’s a lot of information overloaded. People don’t understand what that really means. But what this essentially translates into is that anybody who is in India who’s trying to get their workforce to start working remotely and is not ready to do that, now he/she can use any of the LogMeIn technology to do that without being restricted.
We’re not concerned about whether there is a monetary benefit coming out for us right now. We just want to make sure that, the first time around, the companies that were hesitant on getting onto the bandwagon and were impacted by this, seriously, get the benefit. We are expanding into offering all of our products into India.
There’s a lot of strategic channel involvement because we can only reach out to some people in India, but we want the messaging to be taken to market by the channel partners. Most of our channel partners in lockdown 1.0, embraced a lot of LogMeIn technology. They are now aware of how they can take the entire operation and start working remotely. Now they can take their experience to their customers as well.
Customer care is becoming very bad these days. So how better have you made your customer support engagement?
I think that’s a very important factor for anybody who’s looking at using any kind of product. In our customer support efforts, we have made sure that the availability of our customer support is hassle free. We have increased our size of the team. We are working closely with a few of our channel partners for first level of support. So that’s a very big shift in our thought process. We are investing in enabling and training a lot of our channel partner executives to be the first line of information to support our partners and our customers.
We want to bring more scale into that, to make sure that the post-sales experience for any of our customers does not dip down because of the nature of what’s happening around the pandemic.
You see many of the employees have been relocated remote places, where the network is not that good? Are they able to address those things?
I think the best testament for us is to see that happening with our own employees. Our own employees have moved back to their home towns and I’m not talking about tier B, tier C cities, even in the most remote place, in various parts of India that you can find.
There are challenges associated with the last mile into an internet connectivity, which is probably the best solutions for those is the availability of the dongles that you may have from any of your service providers. We have tried to figure out how we can make our products a little bit lighter for users as well, so that they don’t increase the load on bandwidth by opening up everything. If you think about GoToMeeting as a platform. There’s a commuter mode on GoToMeeting, which means if you’re accessing GoToMeeting from your phone, you don’t need to be on camera. You don’t need to have an audio enabled all the time. If it’s required for you to speak, you can unmute yourself and speak. In a nutshell the moment you hit commuter mode, the usage of the bandwidth for internet drops down drastically for product.
What is your focus on the smaller cities from channel expansion point of view?
Over the last one quarter, we have seen a lot of net new partners being on boarded. These partners have come from smaller cities including Coimbatore, Trivandrum, Nagpur and places like that. So, there is a good influx of partners coming from those smaller cities.
LogMeIn has a COE sort of thing in Bangalore. Are you using that for any customization for India specific products or it is global centre?
When the operations had started, it started as support to our global centre, but it’s very quickly translating into how a localization of work can happen, not just for India, but also for markets like South East Asia. Every country in South East Asia is unique when it comes to language requirements. It’s unique when it comes to the way the product is being used.
Some of the sectors are not doing good for a long time, do you feel the statuesque will remain the same and not going to change anytime soon.
Thankfully we have customers which are from small start-ups all the way up to the large enterprises. We have different teams to address these three different spaces, we do not prioritize one over the other. However, our priority clearly is coming out for both short-term and long-term is channels and partnerships. We’ve really invested a lot when it comes to building out our channel and partnership infrastructure, not just in India, starting this year. I’m also handling markets in South East Asia, which means everything from Korea to Myanmar.
Our go to market is basically channel first and there are success stories coming out of what we are doing. We have three distributors in India. One is extremely excited about taking up our Sri Lanka market and going with us there.
So, they are very keen on on-boarding and they started off with their initial level of hiring in Sri Lanka. The second is that we are going to be bringing in very exciting products into India, which are not available earlier. For example, LastPass, which is a secure password vault app. On the 3rd of March, we actually installed the servers for LastPass in India.
Can we see any, inter country practice exchange or governance exchange for your channel partners in the region?
One of the things that I am most aspired to do right now is to see the whole of South East Asia including India will become a channel first business for us, which means that we have our go to market model changes from being direct to being partner oriented business. We want to see how we can cross leverage learnings, which are coming out from all of these markets into each other. My channel team is the most engaged and excited bunch of people inside the organization. And because they’re working on new things, they’re working on futuristic things that the company wants to invest in for the future growth.
Also find the similar excitement coming out from our distributors who are seeing possibility of expansion of their business from India.
Which are the vertical business driving your growth?
Our big mix of business comes from IT and ITS. Any business, which requires technology as a fundamental, we are focused around that. Interestingly, what we’re seeing is a bit of increase in some of the more traditional businesses where we didn’t have too much of representation earlier. For example, process manufacturing where you’re working in remote areas and plants.