Indian SMBs are growing very rapidly giving enough scope for the vendors to be innovative and position their products. But there is every chance that the vendors receive the rap of SMBs. In this scenario, the vendors need to be very, very careful while dealing with this segment. Once the SMBs lose faith, it is very difficult to recoup that. edgeBOX, though it is a new company, has tried to jump into the bandwagon with confidence. VARIndia spoke to Abdul Kasim, Vice-President, Global Business Development & Marketing, about their India-specific plans. Excerpts…
Brief us about the activities of Critical Links as a corporate?
Critical Links has moved its global headquarters to New Jersey, USA, with offices around the world, including in New Delhi, India. We have recently released a new version of our award- winning flagship product, the edgeBOX, which incorporates fault tolerance and other features directed at simplifying the deployment and enabling new sophisticated features to SMBs (which put them on par with larger-sized competitors).
How does India feature in your scheme of things?
Very importantly. India is expected to represent nearly a third of our revenue stream in the near future.
Last year, we signed on as the Technical Partner with HCL, whereby HCL uses our technology to deliver the netedgeBOX, a device that consolidates voice/telephony, data and IT services to SMBs. HCL has aggressively positioned – and received an outstanding response from the Indian SMB market served by over 800 to 1,000 HCL’s VARs.
Critical Links has doubled its investment in India in 2008, in terms of support and business development staff locally to assist HCL to establish a leadership position in the Indian market.
What are your offerings?
Our portfolio encompasses:
® The edgeBOX: which provides a Linux-based converged platform that provides Voice, Data and IT services in a consolidated fashion, and thereby dramatically simplifying the ICT infrastructure needed at SMBs
® The edgePACKS which provide value-added applications in specific verticals (such as education etc.) that further augment the capability of the edgeBOX beyond the networking services.
® iTEMS: Management system which allows to manage – provision, monitor, troubleshoot, update multiple edgeBOXes remotely and simultaneously
® Rapid Response: Our support and training portfolio which complements the products and ensures their 7x24 operation
What, according to you, is the need of the SMBs?
Simplify their infrastructure, but still keep providing them sophisticated voice and data services at an affordable cost.
How many solutions do you have?
See #3. Our solutions are applicable to a large cross-section of the SMB market in different verticals.
edgeBox is a solution for SMBs, but it contains many applications. How easy is it from the manageability point of view?
The edgeBOX was purpose designed to make it easy for SMBs (or Service Providers offering services to SMBs using the edgeBOX), and consequently has probably the easiest and intuitive interface which allows even a novice/unsophisticated user (like an SMB, in most cases) to easily configure and leverage the power of the numerous features available on the platform. Users can go to our website: www.critical-links.com and avail of the opportunity to interact with a live edgeBOX and see for themselves how easy it is to use it.
What is your go-to-market approach in India?
Do you have a channel in India to sell your products or are you taking the OEM route? Yes, as mentioned earlier, HCL is our primary channel to the market in India, and they are labelling our software over HCL hardware and branded as HCL netedgeBOX. The approach through HCL is a one tier (directly from HCL to end-customers, including Service Providers) or two-tiered – through HCL and their VAR to the end-customer.
How do you focus on marketing and brand promotion activities in the country?
We are in the phase of creating awareness of our portfolio and how it can enable Indian SMBs to leapfrog in terms of technology capabilities and ensure that they can compete effectively with larger, well-financed competitors around the globe. We have begun this activity in earnest and conducted several campaigns in the Indian media.
We also expect to contribute several editorials over the course of the year to share what we believe to be our value proposition and thought leadership. We also strive to impress how VARs can now employ the edgeBOX to actually contribute to developing a recurring revenues model – through support and other service-oriented activities at their SMB customers, instead of the previous model of box sales.
What is your business goal for 2008 in India?
We do not have the liberty to discuss revenue targets, but we can say that our focus is to develop the market significantly, and be deployed in fairly significant numbers at Service Providers and also at SMBs.
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