Ostriches are strange creatures. They are huge, beautiful and dumb-together
that makes for a deadly combination. But the one thing that gets most mention is
how in face of grave danger, instead of fleeing and saving themselves they put
their head in sand and wish the danger away.
Something similar is happening in the IT sector. We were the first one’s to
start harping about how badly we had been affected-the dollar prices are going
up, no one is spending, what are we expected to do-the standard statements in
times of crisis. The thinkers or visionaries among us propagated ‘innovation’.
But it has been minimum six months since we have all known the fact that the
market conditions are not likely to improve any further. In fact, come to think
of it have you seen even a small change in the way business has been conducted?
My personal measure of how things are at ground level is the IT Panchayat (ITP)
series that we organize across the country. The response from the latest
edition, has left me a bit befuddled.
The first IT Panchayat I attended three years ago, which was at the height of
the boom in IT sector, the issues were the same. Now when the IT industry and
even for that matter the world economy is facing a crisis of a huge magnitude,
dealers, national distributors and vendors are still crying over the same
issues. The only difference is that now they have another issue-‘slowdown’-to
vent their anger on. In fact people somehow have firmly started to believe that
their problems are unresolvable and no one is looking at finding solutions. And
as the oft repeated statement goes-if you don’t look for something chances that
you will find it are bare minimum.
So in someway everyone in the channel space is behaving like an ostrich. No
one is ready to start a process, make a change. The vendor’s because they never
try and forge relationships with partners. Everyone vendor representative that I
have met in the last two years has been harping about upcountry being where they
will grow but how many of the senior people have actually taken that trip to the
location and met the channel partner’s and tried to even test the market. Very
few I can assure you. Holding fancy meetings in exotic locations will not get
you the ground realities or loyalty. The national distributors in front of
vendors project themselves as someone who know the channel but whenever a simple
issue of a DoA arises, they wash their hands and become a logistic company. If
this is the situation can we expect some ground breaking regulations from them
especially when they are busy trying to minimize their market exposure?
As for partners, apart from business most of their time is spent quibbling
amongst themselves. If a partner is selling a product at Rs 100 just to get one
up they will sell the same for Rs 98. And then expect someone else to come and
sort out their mess.
So am I wrong in saying in saying that they have an ostrich mentality? I only
hope that someone sees sense before the crisis becomes deeper.