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Microsoft to tap SMB market with VAD

The software vendor has launched its value-added distribution program by partnering with Avnet and Redington.
By KTP Radhika

In a move to cater to customers and partners in the SMB space, Microsoft recently announced its global VAD program in India. Assigning Avnet and Redington as VAD partners, the program aims to reach out to SMB customers across India. Through VAD, Microsoft provides distributors and other channel partners with technical support to offer high expertise services to SMBs. In addition, the program helps the company and its channel partners understand requirements in the SMB space in a better way and to deliver appropriate solutions.

Why VAD?

Microsoft’s channel network consists of two segments namely Large Account Resellers (LAR) and Value Added Resellers (VAR). While LARs primarily focus on providing cohesive solutions to large enterprises, VARs focus on SMBs. As of now, Microsoft's business solutions are available in the market from its existing fifty partners. The new program aims to accelerate the delivery of its solutions and strengthen its channel base. Under this program, VADs would closely work with the VARs and help them provide customized solutions.

While Avnet will provide complete solutions for virtualization & management and identity & security, Redington will cater to the full range of unified communications, security, development tools and Cloud services.

Rajiv Sodhi, Director, India SMB, Microsoft Corporation (India), said, “Avnet and Redington both have experience and expertise in providing services and products for virtualization, unified communications, security and the Cloud.”

Built on a unique business model with a specialized resource portfolio, the VAD program will help increasing the adoption and market development of specialty solutions. “VADs will also offer training, educate and help resellers understand customer requirements to deliver appropriate solutions, focusing on SMBs where the requirements are specific. VAD will further offer post sales services to enhance the end-customers’ experience,” Sodhi added

Talking about the partnership, Naresh Desai, General Manager, Avnet India, said, “The strategic alliance with Microsoft will help provide comprehensive solutions to its channel partners and exploit the vast untapped potential in the virtualization & management and identity & security solution areas.” With this tie-up, the company is looking to diversify and improve its virtualization practice, which has a great growth opportunity in the SMB segment.

“India is one of the fastest growing markets and we are sure that, with this alliance, we will be able to further tap opportunities and accelerate the pace of our business. For our partners, the alliance will provide the technology and resources needed to successfully address market opportunities and accelerate their success further. However, for the end customer, the alliance will help them get enhanced and superior service levels on the latest technologies,” he added.

According to R Venkatesh, Head, Strategic Business Unit, Redington (India), Redington's engagement with Microsoft's VAD portfolio is a logical extension of both company's partnership of over 15 years.

More business

Demand and need for tailor made IT solutions is rising in the SMB space. Pertaining to investment in IT infrastructure, there has been a paradigm shift in the SMB space in recent years. Beyond the typical Windows and Office, PCs and IT peripherals, there is substantial demand for advanced solutions which will help SMBs thrive in business. Sodhi explained, “There is a strong appetite in the Indian SMB market to invest in business-oriented solutions, which are IT-based and can help them grow their business. However, India is a not a do-it-yourself country, it is a do-it-for-me country. Therefore, we see channels playing a key role in fulfilling SMB customer needs.”

Echoing this Redington's Venkatesh said, “By exploiting the huge opportunity available in this space, we will drive the VAD business through focused VARs. Our aim is to be a one-stop shop for VARs to provide total solutions to their SMB customers using the complementary products and solutions along with Microsoft offerings.”

Avnet's Desai concurred stating that the company, along with its channel partners, was ready to address this market with its solutions like VirtualPath.

As technologies like virtualization and Cloud computing start to enjoy widespread adoption in the SMB space, Microsoft is seeing a great opportunity and future here. Apart from the VAD program, Microsoft also has other initiatives like 'Choosing Tomorrow’s Growth Today' designed for SMBs to apprise them of the range and benefits of its solutions.

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