Panelists at The DQ Week Tech Caravan, Amritsar
With the objective to acknowledge the issues prevalent in the holy city of Amritsar, The DQ Week conducted its ongoing series of Tech Caravan on November 30 at Hotel MC International, Amritsar. Despite a month end, more than 45 partners of Amritsar took part in the event.
The event was sponsored by Norton as a security partner and Amritsar Computer Traders Association (ACTA), which is the apex body of computer traders of Amritsar. At the event, Amritsar partners shared bags of concerns at a very interactive panel discussion.
The event started off with a very informative presentation by Ganesh Bhatnagar, channel sales manager, Norton. Bhatnagar touched upon key partner concerns related to the products and assured the gathering that Norton has solutions to 80% of its partners feedback. The company also talked about major initiatives being taken in the past 8 months. Moving on to the products portfolio, the company shared how Norton and recently launched Windows 8 together are offering better opportunities to the users and partners.
The highlight of the presentation was the curtain raising of Norton 360 multi-device solution, which is expected to be launched in the month of January. The company also informed about its latest branding and marketing of 'Version Free' strategy, from October onwards. Norton has announced to go version free, so that users can get real time updation of security threats without having any mental block of version. Another interesting part of Bhatnagar's presentation was Norton's readiness for Post PC Era as the world is moving away from desktops to newer devices such as tablets. We are spending close to 14% of our annual revenue on R&D, and the company is looking at a market beyond PCs.
Mujeeb Razack, marketing manager, Norton further explained the ongoing marketing campaign, schemes and reduction in pricing of anti-virus, better mop and margins being introduced for partners. In terms of service support being offered in India, the company has started Hindi speaking call centers, 24 hrs online chat supports and Norton online portal for partners.
Post Norton's presentation, a 40 minute panel discussion was held. The moderator of the discussion was Sanjeev Chhabra of Cyberrage Multimedia, wherein KL Narang, Vikas Narang, president, ACTA, Sanajy Gupta, secretary, ACTA, Gautam Talwar of Shri Ganpati, Jaspreet Singh Sethi of Silver Computers were among the panelists.
As the discussion was interactive, the audience was prompt in sharing their issues related to the back-end rebates, warranty and support, growing competition among dealers due to schemes, threat from FDI in retail, and e-commerce and other major issues plaguing the Amritsar market. Each issue was discussed at length entailing some solutions. Although absence of some major distributors and vendors at the discussion disappointed some of the partners, however, they articulated their trade problems at the forum seeking positive response from the vendors and distributors.
"The main problem here is the turnaround time of service. Since none of the companies define shelf life of any product, it is becoming difficult to become accountable to the end customers on the warranty date whether it is applicable from the date of manufacturing or the date of billing," lamented Rohiit Mittal of S4U. As service issues continued to rage throughout the meet, dealers in the area also pointed out to robust service and warranty policies from all the vendors.
Lastly, with 0% VAT announced in Jammu and Kashmir, neighboring cities such as Amritsar is feeling cheated by the distributors. "There is a threat of cross-territory price war and evading of taxes in the city," highlighted Vikas Narang.