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Redington Value on the transformative path with new Data Analytics Practice

Redington Value's latest announcement of a new Data Science and Advanced Analytics practice is focused on enabling partners in addressing opportunities of Analytics deployments across verticals 

Redington Value has firmed up its next phase of transformation with the announcement of its practice around Data Science and Advanced Analytics. The distributor has also announced several vendor partnerships to build this portfolio. The new sign-ups include agreements with vendors Talend and Tableau Software in addition to existing relationships with SAS and TCG Digital.

Ramkumar Balakrishnan, President at Redington Value, says, “We have signed up with Talend, a massive player in the Big Data analytics space and Tableau Software, a leading provider of visual analytics . In addition, we are partners with SAS institute, a leader in analytics software as well as with TCG and Splunk and a couple of others which will be announced soon. TCG (The Chatterjee Group) and their solution MCube have been a game changer for us, with use cases from UAE to Nigeria and many others, offering tailor-made, customized solutions. Splunk is a well known global leader and they have no competition in some of the kind of big data they are able to ingest and provide analytics insights..”

According to the distributor, the vendors it has handpicked to partner with for this practice are leaders in the Gartner Magic quadrant and have been embraced by many among the Fortune 500 companies. 

“That is a testimony of the fact that we are building a world class portfolio for data science and advanced analytics. We are looking at having a very robust portfolio in association with six to seven vendors of such eminence,” adds Ramkumar.

A journey of transformation

The latest announcement marks the beginning of a new phase of journey for the VAD  since its started off its transformation with the launch of an independent Cloud Practice three years ago.

“Over the past three years, we set out to transform ourselves from being a pure play value-add distributor  towards the end goal of becoming an aggregator of services and solutions for our channel. We want to help our partners solve business problems of their customers. The move from a product orientation towards problem solving orientation unfolds a big transformation and we have been truly at it since we unveiled the new direction three years ago, and now we are making significant traction,” says Ramkumar.

He adds, “Having build our cloud marketplace to resell cloud services and having augmented our delivery capabilities to support our partners with Citrus, we are now ready for the next phase of the journey which is by launching our data-science and analytics practice.”

The distributor boast of significant credentials in the space as the only exclusive go market partner for AWS in this market and as a significant go to market partner for Microsoft Azure as well with arguably one of the highest market shares across the region.

Ramkumar says, “Our marketplace has found wide acceptance and we have more than 400 partners who are transacting with us with the run rate value of transactions at the marketplace exceeding  one million USD. We have achieved many benchmarks in the marketplace; we are working with many ISPs, porting their solutions to our marketplace and the the options that customers would like to have, are a reality in the marketplace such as in terms of analytics, cross-sell or up-sell.”

In the second leg of its transformation, the distributor created a consultancy arm, Citrus that augments its delivery capabilities to its partner network.

“We are possibly the first distributor globally to set up a consulting arm from a B2B, indirect to market perspective. Between the onsite teams and the offshore delivery centre in Bengaluru in India, Citrus is today a 30 member team that provides support for all what we sell on the marketplace. Citrus has strengthened its capabilities and is gearing up to offer 24 by 7 Multi-channel support on the cloud. They are also offering managed services.”

Citing industry research, Ramkumar claims that by 2020, the market for advanced data analytics according to industry research, should be around 27 billion USD, growing at a CAGR of 10%. In MEA, the distributor’s market sources suggest that the growth rate is even faster and is expected to be a 4 billion USD opportunity. 

He says “When you look at our traditional SI and partner landscape, this is an opportunity that they aren't able to actively participate in. This is dominated by the big 4 SIs and then the niche players who have their strengths. What we are effectively trying to achieve is to enable our partners and augment their core infrastructure services to participate in the new opportunity and from the feedback we have received from our partners, they are quite excited at the possibility of tapping into opportunities in the unfolding analytics market.”

Enabling partners for new frontiers

Redington is enabling partners to engage with customers beyond the IT spectrum and understand the Business problems that need to be resolved from the perspective of LOB decision makers, CEOs, CMOs etc and not just confine to engaging with CIOs. 

“This practice requires a lot of domain or Business vertical understanding and converting that into a solution on the technology plane. Again, the underlying infrastructure to serve is already in place from a cloud perspective. Our endeavor is to transform Redington Value to be the most significant player from a emerging technologies landscape perspective, including cloud, Big Data, AI, Machine Language, analytics, RPA (Robotic process automation) and going towards IoT etc.,” he adds.

Redington is  leaping into the opportunity that traditionally large consulting firms address and it is doing so with its partners.

“The channel has the customer and the customer has a Business challenge to solve and we will enable our partners do that. In the emerging markets, the customer always turns to his trusted solutions provider and if he has the capabilities to do that, there is no need to go elsewhere. So we are enabling these partners to bring those capabilities to the table.”

Ramkumar says that its partners will be gaining the most as on their own, they wouldn't have been able to build such capabilities, monetize the opportunity or achieve breakeven and profitability. 

“As standalone, their  addressable opportunity would have been limited. So when they can leverage the partnership with us and the investments we have made around the practice, along with our central view and reach across the META region and the last mile delivery capability while they specialize in the chosen domains they understand well, it can be a winning relationship.” 

From the point of view of Citrus, it is an opportunity to help customers deliver and from Redington’s point of view, it is the ability to bring the solution proposition on table for the customer, working with the partner.

According to Redington, the top likely verticals to address for the new practice would be BFSI, government, telco, retail and transportation where customers are earnestly looking for much better solutions from not only the data they have but from the unstructured data lying around, where prescriptive and predictive data have great potential.

Sayantan Dev, vice president for VCG and Data Analytics, Redington Value, says, “ Business customers are generating enormous amount of structured and unstructured data. The first part is abut getting the right insights from this data , which is part of descriptive analytics or visual analytics. The second part is about statistical modeling or predictive/prescriptive techniques and where we have signed up with SAS, a vendor who is possibly one of the oldest and most respected in the the area of advanced analytics.  For data insights, visualisation and forecasting, the required data needs to be provided to the systems. There comes the need for Big Data handling. Talend is very good at MDM ( Master Data Management) and Big Data handling. So, we will break this practice into four stacks, namely data management, data cleansing or ETL (Extract, Transform and Load), prescriptive and predictive analytics as well as descriptive analytics.”

Sayantan Dev, VP, VCG and Data Analytics, Redington Value

Working with the solution stacks, Redington will have domain experts and then the data scientists who write algorithms,. In turn, these would be given to coders who would implement the models in the system. On the Citrus side, the focus would be on providing delivery capabilities in terms of implementation, building and supporting the systems.

Sayantan adds, “The channel is seeing this as a good opportunity to meet the LBO managers, the CMOs, the CEOs etc beyond the typical discussions with the CEOs and understand business issues. The outcomes could include for instance a dynamic printing use case for retail, a fraud analytics case in Banking etc. 

He concurs with Ramkumar’s view as to why this is a great opportunity for the channel as he elaborates, “The challenge for partners is that they are in a  specific area and our market is extremely fragmented. A channel partner for instance could be catering to five or six large clients in a local market  and may have limitations to scale and address all requirements. For a single partner to make an investment in an entire stack of solutions, even though the client opportunity is well within reach, is not feasible and which is where we come in.”

Sayantan believes, partners will benefit by focusing on specializations.

“We advise them to be experts in a specific area. Today, there are companies that are boutique analytics companies who are experts in a particular domain like healthcare or BFSI for instance. Around that, there are other components required where Redington can offer solutions along with Citrus bringing in the delivery capabilities, which altogether goes to make a win-win relationship.”

Redington is working towards a number of methodologies and marketing initiatives to create the new opportunities. The VAD will also focus on showcasing POC to customers. 

“We are sending out the messaging that as an ecosystem, we can provide the entire stack of solutions. We will have a lot of use cases which are easy to communicate-because they are vertical specific business challenges-  today it is quite easy to give a POC on data science or analytics project . There are technologies available on premise or in the cloud wherein using a subset of customer data, you can demonstrate how predictive modeling or visual analytics can offer great insights  of their data or completely change their forecasting mechanism. We can do this at our solutions centre or at the customer’s site.

Redington expects a good number of partners who can bring the required focus to join in on this new leg of its journey.

Ramkumar adds, “While we have been actively transacting with over 2500 partners, about 300 of them joined us on the bandwagon of our cloud journey that we started three years ago. As the Data Science and Advanced Analytics practice would be more specialized, not every SI would want to develop this practice and this is something that requires a CEO level sign-off. So while this would attract only those partners who would want to be part of this opportunity and can bring a focus to it, I wouldn't be surprised by the end of the first year of launch if we do have as many as 80-100 partners signed up and active across the region. The number of partners who want come on board is quite significant because their customers are already demanding such solutions.”

On the customer front, the VAD believes, there would be demand from larger customers and from smaller ones as well who may just have more modest requirements that could be addressed in the form of Analytics as a service.

Ramkumar says, “There would be larger players who probably want to do advanced analytics and then there are others who just want to to keep getting insights from their data. The latter may want only reports- so analytics as a serve could become a reality in phase two of this journey. As long as data is safe and they keep getting those reports, they would be comfortable with the service. This could open up a good opportunity window for partners.”

The distributor claims that pilot deployments are already on, with several other orders nearing closing. The VAD is confident of revenues coming in from next quarter from the new practice.

Further ahead, the VAD is eyeing IoT as an opportunity but only after it has built up sufficient use cases for it.

“There are still a couple of areas around which we want to differentiate ourselves- this includes IoT, which is still an area that is work in progress. We would like to develop use cases and come out with a model that is relevant to our market, in line with Redington’s credo of being Glocal, global in thinking and local in action.”

Judging by the remarkable steady pace of growth that Redington Value has seen over the past several years with well thought out strategies, it is a sure bet that Redington Value will continue to keep pace with the winds of change as it evolves and transforms its Business.