ITVar News: What is the big focus for *astTECS in India as well as globally?
Levis Wilson: At *astTECS Communications, we are focused on driving our company's transformation to a complete Asterisk based technology solutions provider and offer customers a complete product suite, since we strongly believe that Asterisk will drive the future of telephony. Our goal is to leverage Open Source, and Asterisk in particular as our engine, to deliver products to targeted markets. We serve customers across verticals, since *astTECS solutions are tailored for enterprises across all categories and these can be easily scaled up. The verticals we address includes: IT & ITES, Large enterprises, BFSI, Hospitality, Railways, Airlines, Logistics, Retail and Manufacturing apart from small and mid size companies.
We are now gearing up for the next phase of market growth and expansion plans in the country. There is a large base of customers in the Tier 1 and Tier II cities and a huge need for IP based communications infrastructure.
EPABX is traditionally sold through local voice resellers, as the local support is very important. In addition to the traditional voice resellers, we also plan to enable data networking resellers to sell Asterisk based solution. As the whole platform is IP based using the local LAN infrastructure, this would open up an entirely new revenue stream for data networking resellers.
ITVN: What are some of the biggest selling points for your products and solutions in the Indian market?
LW: Our product range caters to the small and medium Call Centre operations to Enterprise wide applications. *astTECS today is a step ahead than the traditional PBXs, since it offers a wireless infrastructure, has GSM integration capabilities and offers features like: IVR, Call centre Dialer, Predictive Dialer / ACD, Voice Logger, Multiparty conference and voice mail.
Our people centric approach towards our partners and resellers and a strong marketing team has helped us position our brand amongst our audience. Our team stays connected with our channels partners and customers throughout the sales cycle. We see huge potential in the tier II cities and we continue to focus on them along with our resellers. We also ensure that there is maximum opportunity created for a face-to-face interaction with partners & customers.
ITVN: What is your go to market strategy here in India? Please share some of the channel partner names that you are working with at the moment?
LW: *astTECS is focused on expanding its current business only with the support of channels. We do not follow the policy of opening offices in every city. We also depend on our channels to provide local support to our customers. We encourage our partners to earn via sales as well as providing support.
We would establish 3-5 partners in each city and focus in growing them.
We are living in a world of convergence. We have a set of channels coming from the Voice world and trying to enter the IP World. Similarly, we have another set of partners, who were in the Networking domain so far, and they recognise the potential of Voice Solutions. A very few come from the mobile world. We would prefer partners, who have some basic background of communications and they could be from any of the above backgrounds.
We have specific training programs for sales as well as technical manpower, regularly conducted in our HQ in Bangalore. These programs educate our partners to sell as well as support our products.
Our Current channel partners are:
- Bangalore: Vivid Inc.
- Mumbai : Mehta Infocom
- Hyderabad: Professional Telecom
- Pune: Shree Ganesh telecom
ITVN: There is lot of convergence happening at the communication front. How do you take the convergence space? How are your product lines incorporating convergence of technologies today?
LW: The *astTECS PBX offers a huge advantage in terms of flexibility and extensibility. We understand that enterprises in India today serve customers spread across the globe and we intend to offer them a highly reliable and feature-rich solution that is cost effective at the same time.
Organizations today are looking at IP based telephony solutions as a way to help them reduce rising administrative expenses, extend business reach, boost productivity and realize measurable returns on their infrastructure investments. Our Product line & Solutions are flexible and integrate seamlessly with different components based on industry standards, reducing the over network complexity and they are fully interoperable with legacy IP PBXs.
ITVN: What kind of revenue targets do you have for India?
LW: Our growth rate has been excellent so far, currently, we have enough resources to fund our growth at the regional levels.
ITVN: According to you what are some of the biggest challenges in front of your operations here? How do you want to overcome these challenges?
LW: We are focusing on the mass PBX market, through the open source Asterisk based PBX solution. Asterisk, being an open source product, by nature demands a high involvement of the channel (and therefore a higher return) in creating the awareness, educating the customer and supporting the product.
Our challenge would be to equip the team of aggressive resellers with required domain knowledge & support and empower their front-end sales and support team with required training and certification on solutions, brand acceptability and visibility of *astTECS solutions. We would help our channel partners to move up the value chain by offering complete solutions rather than Product selling.
Our entire range of new Products and the Channel Programme represents a core component of our overall strategic investment in channel resources. Our Programme enables and support channel partners by providing access to key marketing and sales tools. The *astTECS Channel Programme is targeted towards long-term customer and partner retention.
Our focus would be to create an awareness of the power and flexibility of Asterisk in the IP PBX market. This year we would be looking at:
1. Expansion of our team
2. Appointing channel partners
3. Training of VARs (value added resellers) and SIs (Systems Integrators)
5. Ensuring visibility of Asterisk