Channel Post speaks with Imtiaz Ghani, General Manager of Ethos Technologies about their focus on supporting and developing the partner community. Ghani also highlights the new technologies that the company is introducing to the regional market to facilitate partners and enable mutual growth.
How would you evaluate your journey so far and where do you stand currently in terms of your product portfolio, channel base and geographical spread?
Our journey has been one of consistent growth and conquering challenges. We have a focussed approach to our product portfolio. We are looking at networking and security products as a core focus. Having said that, we also have a strong infrastructure portfolio covering servers, storage, UPS and passive components. Our present portfolio has a strong SMB solution for networking with Zyxel and TP-Link. Our niche security solutions have a holistic approach to enterprise customers covering all security concerns be it firewalls, WAF or cloud. We also provide an extremely competitive database management solution with IDERA.
With over 300 active channel partners spread across the entire Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan our team is able to provide solutions and support in the entire region. We are looking at expanding our operations in Pakistan in the near future and are confident that we can replicate our Middle East success in the hugely competitive Pakistan market as well.
Where is the regional distribution market heading and how do you intend to grow Ethos Technologies in the region?
Based on our experience and feedback from the channel, the regional distribution market is heading towards a dynamic shift to solutions in the cloud. At Ethos Technologies, we are now designing solutions that cater to such a shift. We are focussing on cloud security as an initial step and later plan to diversify into more cloud based technologies. There is a lot of interest in the market related to security in the cloud and we plan to have a focussed approach to addressing this specific concern.
What value does Ethos Technologies bring to its channel partners and why should partners work with you rather than your competition?
We try to be a one stop shop for our partners. For example, if they come to us for NAS requirements, we are able to provide them with pre-sales assistance to design the right cost effective solution and also if need to be provide installation services. We also have a strong post sales team that addresses any technical issues and liaise with the vendor to provide quick and effective remedy to the customer. We are also a very tightly streamlined team so our process time is short and this allows us to respond to customer and provide a definite answer to all queries and/or issues.
What advantage do you provide to a vendor that he should partner with you?
Each of our vendors appreciates our quick decision making ability. We are able to provide quick support to the vendor in terms of customer support and flexibility. We are also an eager aggressive new distributor in the region who is constantly looking to grow. This is exactly what new vendors in the region are looking for. Our success is directly proportional to their growth. Also we do not have competitive vendors and this gives our vendors confidence that we will focus and position them without any bias towards competition. Also with every new vendor that comes in we dedicate a resource exclusively for that vendor. This gives the vendor a single point of contact within Ethos and hence quick action is guaranteed.
Which new technologies is your company keen to bring to the region?
We are bringing the latest in CASB (cloud access security brokers) solutions to the market. We have recently partnered with BitGlass as their regional distributor. With BitGlass we want to bring Zero-Day Next Generation CASB to the region. There is a lot of buzz in the market for such a technology but the execution and approach leaves a lot to be desired. We are looking at addressing that niche market. We are also regional distributors of Netshield who are the leaders in North America and Europe for agent-less NAC solutions. This is another market that we feel has been unnecessarily overpriced and over complicated. We have some amazing customer wins in the region for this solution. For both solutions we are able to provide deal protection and competitive margins to our channel too.
How effective is your channel program and what makes it attractive for your partners?
We do not have a one size fits all approach for our channel. That is not fair as each business is different from the other. We have specific individual channel incentive plans and programs for our channel partners. We are of the belief that it is the channel that can help us achieve our aim going forward. Providing them with additional incentives and plans to earn more will keep them focussed and aggressively focussed on our portfolio. We are already seeing the benefits of the same as we have more than 80% of our customers doing repeat business across different products.
How do you tackle issues like credit insurance, bank finance, project financing, delayed payments and lend support to your partners?
This has always been the biggest challenge facing our industry. Once again it is not possible to address these issues with a single plan of action. We consider each on a case-to-case basis. We have a very prudent approach to credit and project financing. However, this has not affected our business model as we have not had any cases of bad debts. Our partner-base will vouch for our credit policy as they have also been flexible in addressing this concern. We work transparently with the partner and vendor, and for projects we work together towards a payment plan that helps us address the project successfully. We have been lucky to have extremely flexible and savvy vendors who do not let such issues affect the business going forward.
What can partners expect from you going forward?
Our partners can expect the same support and flexible approach to business that we have always provided them. We are a growing distributor who is hungry for business and new partnerships. We will always be there to support them in any project they are working on be it POC, demo, technical support, etc. Going forward our partners can expect new products being added to our portfolio which will further enhance business opportunities for them to sell in the region.