Scaling ‘Make in India’ Digisol is top priority: Devendra Kamtekar

We offer feature-rich, high-quality products that fulfil the IT networking needs of SMBs and SMEs, says DIGISOL Systems CEO Devendra Kamtekar.

devendra kamtekar ceo digisol systems

An end-to-end IT networking brand Digisol encompasses twenty five years of experience in the industry. A ‘Make in India’ brand, Digisol has been incorporated by founder K R Naik of Smartlink Network Systems, also known as the father of Indian IT networking manufacturing.

The company has well etched plans to extend its market dominance, reiterated by the strategic step to appoint senior executive Devendra Kamtekar as the new CEO. Kamtekar has worked with industry giants such as Cisco, Alcatel Lucent, NCR. In an exclusive interaction with IDG India, Devendra Kamtekar, CEO of DIGISOL Systems details his business blueprint to grow market share in the crowded world of networking.

Edited excerpts 

What according to you are the prime technology trends of the modern networking world?

The consumer is driving the industry today and one of the key trends is that everything is happening at the edge. For example, mobile internet (including Wi-Fi) is picking up quite fast in India.

Another major trend is the uptake in Fibre to the Home (FTTH), because everybody wants to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and hence OTT is driving consumer behaviour of bandwidth consumption. That is bringing a lot of change around bandwidth consumption, which has GPON, FTTH, 5G. Cloud thus becomes inherent as the content is driven from cloud, and then AI, ML become vital part of the whole equation as value added services. And of course you need robust security as well. 

- Devendra Kamtekar, CEO, DIGISOL Systems

There are multiple technologies that are prevailing to change the course of industry in the next couple of years. Wi-Fi is part of the mobile internet trend and similar to FTTH, Wi-Fi 6 is also making its way into the corporate. Edge is defining what the consumption behaviour will be at the core.

Bandwidth consumption and mobile internet, cloud and security are the prime pillars driving the Indian consumer's behaviour.

What are the big opportunities and new challenges you envision in your new role as CEO of Digisol?

Predominantly, Digisol has been a channel focused company, in sync with our GTM in India. The products that we have launched have a lot of channel play. When I came on board this was a good space (channel focused) but we need to evolve with the changing industry. We are moving a level below and touch base with electrical contractors for both active and passive to build brand awareness amongst end consumers. In the last three years we have not been strong in building brand awareness with the end consumers. This initiative will help recreate a strong brand pull and add to Digisol's business.

We want to now go a level above from distribution by tapping the customers (organisations) in mid-market and enterprise space. As we touch base with end customers, we have complete control over the big opportunity itself. 

We are focusing on mid-market and not high end enterprise per se because the mid-market segment is expanding in India. Our position is perfect from a value stand point, from product portfolio and great quality. For passive product range, we deliver quality products like other top global cabling manufacturers in the market with a completely different and competitive price range since the last three years. We have failed a bit in articulating that story to our customers and channel partners.

What would be the strategy as you are focusing on mid-market segment amidst creating brand awareness with end customers and channel partners in India? 

People, Products, Process, and Partners are the 4 Ps of our strategy. The first focus is People wherein we will have the right set of people with right set of industry contacts. We have now on boarded experienced channel executives from the industry to build an enterprise channels team as the next focus.

The next P is Products as we are planning to launch enterprise range of passive networking products this quarter. We are ensuring that our products’ quality will be comparable to industry’s top players but at the price that the mid-market can afford it. We are evolving the Partners’ model as we are identifying RDs(Regional Distribributors) and developing their key roles. Also, we will get competent Systems Integrators on board and build the whole partner ecosystem.

The sweet spot for Digisol would be the mid-market, which is typically the 100 to 1000 user organisations. The focus will be on eight metro cities, but we are present across 27 locations with over 63 service centres in India. That’s a huge infrastructure which hasn’t been capitalized till now but we are working on strategy to leverage the same.

Why should CIOs and ITDMs work with an Indian brand like Digisol compared to the crowded space of global MNC tech brands? What are the top three expectations on that list?  

Our products have the best quality, the price customers can afford. Everyone aspires to purchase the products from renowned brands but aspiration is different than what you actually buy. With 25 years of experience in the industry, we know that customers look forward to buying products from renowned brands, but they are comfortable with feature-rich products at an affordable price. Second USP is the extensive service support infrastructure, which I believe nobody can match from an Indian stand point. 

Additionally, our manufacturing facility in Goa gives us colossal leverage as we have upgraded the manufacturing lines recently to scale a specific product line according to customer needs. 

Besides an active networking portfolio, Digisol has a strong legacy of passive networking offerings too. What’s the ‘foot in the door’ of both businesses?

The split of active to passive share for Digisol in India would be 60:40 depending on the region and vertical. Actually, the split is almost equal for both businesses. In distribution, our active range is a ‘foot in door’ opportunity, while for enterprise customers our passive range is more attractive and brand-savvy.

Right now everybody is talking about 100W PoE, however, I think there are not that many end devices that are available. Everything is Type 2 devices - but with advent of Wi-Fi 6 the whole game will change because of 5G bandwidth. The entire state of enterprise network will change 

Channel ecosystem plays an important role for all networking vendors in India. What’s the update on your channel strategy?

We are working towards putting the channel model in place for the future. It would be a regional distribution as we would soon appoint one or two national distributor/s. As of now Ingram is our national distributor, with regional distributors and channel partners.

Today, everyone wants to opt for the cloud product that performs - this is what channels can offer to customers. Security is another important thing that customers look for. The third is service support. Price is the last thing; once the technical jargons are fulfilled the price becomes the relevant thing. We have training programs for partners, where we train and certify them in the new emerging spaces. The idea is to be known for specific verticals and GPON is going to be our focus because of the bandwidth consumption thing that we talked about.

What are your ‘top of the line’ priorities both – short term and long term - and why?

First priority is to scale the existing business at Digisol as there is enough and more opportunities in India market. We have not even scratched the surface, especially in mid-market segment. 

We want to scale the distribution ecosystem to get some big wins in the enterprise space and further cater to customers in different verticals like hospitality and education. Another big focus will be Government related projects, smart cities, metros, because of the demand of industrial ethernet and passive range products. Real estate market with demand for smart buildings, co-working spaces is also on our radar.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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