Interview

REDEFINING CHANNEL ENGAGEMENT

Joyjeet Bose, Sr. Vice- President, Tata Teleservices Ltd.

Besides secure IT connectivity, TTBS offers SaaS and cloud  services and has been continually expanding its product portfolio to provide innovative smart tech and cloud solutions.

As we usher into 2022, it’s time to sit back and to get a hang of the key predictions for the Channel Market for the year 2023, while taking stock of the channel performance of leading vendors and distributors and the key achievements and take-aways from the Channel Market.

The year gone by will go down the memory lane as a year of mixed experience. Starting from the widening market opportunities to a somewhat visible respite from the raving pandemic, from being the year of Europe’s greatest war since World War II that pushed the pandemic-battered global economy and the European markets into recession to a year of greater cybersecurity concerns — 2022 has seen it all.

In a series of interactions with the poster-boys of Indian IT, SME Channels embarks upon understanding how leading vendors have fared in the year goneby; what drives their growth engine; the key milestones for 2023 set from the channel perspective; key channel predictions for the New Year; direction for channel partners and their growth roadmap for 2023.

We spoke to leading B2B digital services provider Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS) to get a sneak peek into its performance in the channel market and its key channel predictions for 2023.

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“We remain invested to provide vital product experience, enhancing knowledge of our channel partners in multiple business lines, better financial understanding, and providing access to state-of-the-art technology across industries enabling digital maturity.”

Joyjeet Bose,
Sr. Vice- President,
Tata Teleservices Ltd.

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With the rapid digital transformation sweeping the Asia Pacific region, organizations are expected to generate as much as 43% of the revenue from digitally connected products, and services, With the rise of digital capabilities, businesses are leaning towards data-driven innovation to drive effective business decisions. At this backdrop, B2B digital services providers like Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS) are bridging a critical gap in the digital empowerment of organisations to drive bottom-line growth.

In an exclusive interaction with SME Channels, Joyjeet Bose, Sr. Vice- President,  Tata Teleservices Ltd. , discusses his company’s Channel Focus, his Predictions for the Channel market, major achievements and the unique matrixes that design his seminal vision for the Partner Ecosystem. Edited Excerpts:

Please give a brief introduction of your company. What are the key distinctive features of your products and services?

Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS) is a leading B2B digital services provider and offers the most comprehensive portfolio of voice, data and managed services to enterprises.  TTBS is a progressive and trusted technology enabler for enterprises and is committed to accelerate adoption of digital technologies by enterprises aspiring to Do Big in their respective business segments. Innovation and customer centricity are the core of our business vision, and we are committed to democratise technology while keeping costs affordable so that businesses with low capital can utilise cutting-edge solutions to modernise their operations and serve their customers effectively.

Besides secure IT connectivity, we offer SaaS and cloud  services and are continually expanding our product portfolio to provide innovative smart tech and cloud solutions like as Smartflo – an advanced cloud communication suite which is now integrated with WhatsApp Business Platform to offer an enhanced business communication experience, SmartOffice- a one-box start-up kit with voice, data, apps, storage, Ultra-Lola- a technologically superior point-to-point offering, with micro-second latency for BFSI companies , Smart Internet Leased Line – bundled with cloud security, SD-WAN iFLX an intelligently flexible solution (built on Fortinet’s platform) for network optimization, and a comprehensive suite of cyber security solutions across industries. All these solutions appropriately enable customers to maintain business continuity in a flexible, scalable, and secure manner.

What major cybersecurity trends would you forecast for 2023?

Data security is predicted to become increasingly important as firms that are dealing with huge pile of business and consumer personal data, financial details, and demographic data in the form of digital footprints have to be highly cautious. Cyber criminals are using phishing, identity theft, spam emails, malware, ransomware to compromise their targets. Enterprises cannot afford to lose sensitive data as it can have lasting impact on their business sustainability and reputation.

As a result, they must transition from offering “plain pipes” to “end-to-end security-enabled connection while employing software-defined networking solutions.” The idea of democratising technologies and promoting digital transformation for businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises in India, will be considerably enabled by such security-led interventions.

We understand with the growing consciousness in terms of data security and compliance point of view, a large number of organisations from this point in time are going to spend their budget on cybersecurity protection instead of managing a crisis post a data breach happens. his implies investment in a more effective endpoint, email and web security infrastructure.

Besides undertaking effective security measures, the enterprises need to adopt following strategies to ensure robust cybersecurity while working in hybrid mode:

  • The enterprises need to impart basic level Security audit, cybersecurity knowledge and develop training programs for the employees on data security and privacy issues. It will help the employees identify various attack vectors and report the same to their IT team or security managers.
  • Having a unified threat management system with integration of firewall, IPS/IDS, anti-spam, content and web filtering can help the enterprises securely adopt the cloud and web-based services in today’s digital economy.
  • To strengthen the security of the enterprises, it is important to implement multi-factor authentication as it helps to enable all systems, endpoints and internal applications. It also provides an additional layer of protection that prevents the cyber attackers from entering the enterprise infrastructure on the cloud or on-premises.

What key megatrends do you foresee emerging in the channel market?

Businesses want to offer their consumers seamless support and experiences across all digital touchpoints as they modernise their processes. For this they are constantly adjusting their operating models and working environments to accommodate a variety of activities across functions and devices. To keep ahead of the curve and provide a holistic omni-channel experience they are adopting new technical innovations.

Digital integrations are one of the leading trends in a channel distribution network that can boost sales and customer connect in several ways. One way is by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of communication and collaboration between partners, Principal company, and customers. Today customer is looking for a one stop solution for all their digitisation needs and it is important to create partner eco system with improved competency in such a way that they can address the complete ICT requirements of the customer from sales to post sales service.

Another way digital integrations can boost sales is by providing more accurate and timely data on customer preferences, buying patterns, and market trends, which can help businesses make more informed decisions about product development, pricing, and marketing. This will make the channel eco-system more productive.

The adoption of new technology interventions like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML), data analytics, big data, multi-cloud environments, etc. is occurring across industries and sectors. In 2023, using an omnichannel strategy will be a crucial corporate necessity. This connects all consumer-facing interfaces integrated at the back end and aids in improving customer experiences across all platforms, including online apps, mobile apps, and intelligent chatbots.

Which areas you want to focus on the channel – skillsets – sales and marketing, vertical and technology practice development, service capability, etc.?

At TTBS, we have created a robust partner ecosystem that enhances tech accessibility for enterprises while enabling our partners cultivate tremendous growth. We have perhaps the largest network spread of 1500 partners in over 60 cities across the country, and this network has been an important pillar that has supported and contributed immensely to our business growth.

We continue to enhance our partner network in every part of the addressable market. We are continually empowering and upskilling our partners under our ‘Certified Solution Partner’ program which is at par with industry certification to enhance their capability as an ICT solution provider.

With inclusive growth at the core, we are focused on helping our partners with their own digital transformation and business growth. For this we have introduced our new partner capability program – ‘ELEVATE’ in association with Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC) and ISB Hyderabad. Under this program the partners are trained on all aspects of business including finance, marketing, corporate strategy etc and encouraged   to grow as business entrepreneurs.

What percentage of budget growth are you expecting for channel development? What is your expectation from the channel this year?

For TTBS, channel engagement is a crucial step for fostering long-term relationships for sustaining businesses. We remain invested to provide vital product experience, enhancing knowledge of our channel partners in multiple business lines, better financial understanding, and providing access to state-of-the-art technology across industries enabling digital maturity. Further, as a part of ongoing channel collaboration, we also integrate support mechanisms for our partners & their employee welfare.

Additionally, we are enabling our channel partners to reap the benefits of digital and social platforms. Not only do we help them create relevant platforms like websites, search engine optimization, and social handles but also train them to leverage the benefits from these platforms for our present and prospective customers.

We want our channel partners to be more agile and aligned with our ‘digital-first’ objective for enterprises, so that they can exactly deliver on our ‘customer-first’ approach to the clients. For example, we have introduced the ‘Customer Experience Platform (CEP)’ one of the industry-first initiatives. CEP enables the channel partners and TTBS team to easily communicate specific product-related details to the customers. CEP platform allows a customer to understand the solution, do a self-configuration and use it as a demo in his own setup all implemented on their own. This give the confidence to the customer how simple it is to configure and use it. Do it yourself and experience the product / services before you purchase is the key difference. This reaffirms our customer-first ideology as it truly redefines customer experience through a highly engaging integrated online platform to bring the product experience closer to the customers, based on their availability and comfort anytime anywhere.

Are you planning any new product addition for the channel market?

In order to serve more industrial categories across various locations, TTBS is increasing the scope of its services and solution offering. We are making the necessary technology investments to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, cut costs, streamline operations, and save time. Our growth strategies are focused on diversifying our offering, particularly in the SaaS, IaaS, and Cloud sectors.

We have also entered into strategic market alliances with Zoom Video Inc, Google Workspace, Microsoft Azure, and WhatsApp Business Platform to offer integrated digital solutions to enterprises. These are technology giants with respective specialised expertise in the communication and collaboration space where TTBS customers can leverage their world-class offerings. This will enable their employees and partners to stay hyper connected, collaborate effectively and access centralised resources in a secured manner.

Our digital connectivity highways, on which big and small enterprises alike rely to conduct business, are constantly being strengthened. Along the entire value chain, from demand generation to service assurance and operations, we are also improving our digital capabilities.

Is there any channel expansion plan in terms of numbers in 2023?

Our partner network has been a crucial pillar that has significantly contributed to our company’s expansion. We have the ideal count and combination of channel partners who serve different industrial sectors. We have non-ICT partners with better reach across industry sectors and pure telecom partners, system integrators, data security specialists, and software vendors. With seamless onboarding, extensive product trainings, and convenient online pay out processing, we to empower our channel partners to ‘Do Big’. We ensure that our partners receive great value by collaborating with us. We will keep expanding our partner network across the whole addressable market as and when required.

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