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Unlock 2.0: How Channel Partners Are Geared Up For Business    

As various State Governments have announced unlock in a phased manner after the horrific second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, channel partners across the country are now geared up to restart their business in full capacity. However, unlike the explosion in demand for IT hardware solutions post-first unlock phase, partners do not expect a similar surge this time. RP tech India reached out to prominent partners across the regions to understand business prospects, challenges and opportunities post-unlock 2.0.

IT helped people survive the Pandemic 

The IT sector played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was one of the industry, which grew multi-fold during the crisis due to an exponential increase in demand for IT hardware solutions and rapid adoption of digital services. Channel partners played a critical role in the fulfilment of IT hardware solutions and related services to various strategic institutions such as banks, hospitals, small and medium scale businesses etc. IT helped people continue their business and survive through the global slowdown. Partners say that the trend will continue post-pandemic and more organizations will embrace digitization to match the global pace.

Biren Yadav, Managing Director of Mumbai based Bluecom Infotech Pvt Ltd says that every component of the IT business will grow consistently for the next couple of years. “We are surviving this pandemic because of IT and the industry is contributing towards the community to tackle the pandemic. As far as Bluecom Infotech is concerned, we are the system integration company and we serve some of the premier institutions in India. We were functioning during the lockdown as well and we were serving the community by supplying critical IT solutions to companies”, he says.

Adding further he says, “IT is an essential element of any business and I don’t think the demand will go down post-pandemic. People will continue to explore the digital mediums to get their IT in place to match the world pace.

No big boom but gradual business 

Partners say that, unlike the first unlock phase, the demand for computing hardware will not see a sudden spike this time but the regular retail business will pick up gradually over the months. Though a majority of State governments have lifted restrictions, there are certain regions, which are still under lockdown and hence, there is a challenge of product availability and price. Assam based Mr. Vikash Agarwal, Director of Universal Systems who supplies IT products in the entire Northeast region says that markets are operating with limited capacity and most of the fulfilment of the product have already happened last year. Hence, there will not be a sudden surge in the business post unlock.

“Contrary to the big boom in demand we saw during the last unlock phase, this year the scenario is different. Most of the buying has already happened, especially in the online learning segment. However, there is little demand from the regular retail segment. Once the working hours increase and the regular transportation resumes, we expect a rise in the demand. We expect business from the Government and Corporate sectors but price rise and scarcity of products remain the main challenges”, he says.

Free movement of goods critical for business 

Partners say that free intra-state and inter-state movement of goods is very critical for business. They say it is important for partners to maintain sufficient stock of products to meet consumers’ demand.

“Our entire business in the Government was stuck during the first lockdown due to restrictions on transportation and physical movement. However, this time the Government allowed transportation of essential commodities including IT. Therefore, we were able to execute the B2B orders in the Government segment. This was a good step of the government, which enabled us to do the business”, says Mukesh Agarwal, owner of Lucknow based BM Computers.

WFH/LFH continue to drive business 

Last year the industry had seen tremendous demand for WFH and LFH solutions from the consumer and SOHO segment. But this year the demand will be limited as the majority of consumers have already bought the products. However, WFH and LFH will continue to drive the IT business along with Government and Corporate sector as many people embrace digital technologies.

“Unlike the last lockdown, the demand for IT will not rise exponentially during this unlock phase. The demand will rise in the next one month but after that, it will again go into stagnancy. Therefore, the situation is critical but we are optimistic with the business in hard drives, computer peripherals and accessories. Notebooks, tablets, laptops, headphones, webcams are some of the products, which are currently high in demand and we will continue to generate revenue through these product segments”, says Jinkesh, Director of Chennai based Samkit Infotech.

The COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for the next couple of years and technology is going to be a game-changer in terms of how we adapt to the new normal. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how channel partners leverage the opportunity and grow their business.

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