Renjan George, the Managing Director of DVCOM Technologies, speaks about the learnings he has had from 2020 and his predictions for 2021
How was 2020 for the industry and your company?
The overall impact of the pandemic was not only limited to health, but it has impacted every industry economically and the ICT industry is no exception. The first 2 quarters saw considerable losses owing to lock down measures, project delays and cancellations, negative sentiments and disruption of supply chains. Since our products and solutions cater mostly to the SMB segment, we cannot say that we were not affected by the lockdown, especially since many of our retail partners got hit by the same.
Moreover, since most of our vendors are based out of China, we started facing pressure right from the first quarter of 2020 due to the disruption in supply. However, the 3rd quarter has helped us regain lost ground as we are now more open to the new opportunities that have been thrown wide open in the age of remote working and remote collaboration solutions.
What sort of opportunities did 2020 bring along?
COVID-19 has changed the way companies operate. Businesses have found themselves forced to focus on remote working. Organizations have realized that they can operate remotely often at the same or higher levels of productivity and cost efficiency and they now expect their remote interactions to operate smoothly.
This has rocketed the usage of digital tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom by around 700%. Being a Yealink distributor, we were rightly placed to take advantage of this boom by providing Microsoft and Zoom certified hardware to meet the increasing demand to interact, connect, and collaborate with internal and external users seamlessly and intelligently, covering every scenario from small to extra-large spaces.
Did you face any challenges in 2020?
We had to incur significant losses during the first 2 quarters of 2020 due to the lockdown measures that were put in place for the safety of the people. This resulted in considerable project delays and cancellations, and also gave rise to negative sentiments around business, all of which led to a painful disruption in the supply chain.
Like we mentioned earlier, our products and solutions cater mostly to the SMB segment, and since our retail partners were hit quite badly, we, too, felt a ripple effect of the same. Also, since most of our vendors are China-based, we started facing a lot of pressure and issues right from the beginning of the year when the virus first started spreading, causing massive supply chain disruption in that part of the world.
What were your key achievements in 2020?
1. Channel: New stream of VC Business in MS channel
2. Sales: 20% sales growth in pandemic and retaining all employees
3.Vendors: Added s/w (cloud) focused vendors in our portfolio
What promises does 2021 bring along?
Our recent partnerships with Zoom Communications and Teridion make 2021 look quite promising with a whole new segment of opportunities around remote working and collaboration that we’ve unlocked with them. Everyone has come to use or know of Zoom during this pandemic and we are looking forward to the growth of our Zoom certified solutions in the year to come. Moreover, with Teridion, customers can expect lightning-fast file transfers, pristine voice and video sessions, and overall performance comparable to MPLS. Enterprises no longer need to deploy costly carrier circuits or MPLS networks to gain high performance.
Another partnership we’re excited about is with Cyberfish, whom we have signed up with recently to tackle phishing. It combines Computer Vision and AI to stop phishing emails and websites in real-time – before they have been reported or added to the blacklists. Our collaboration with them will help us access more business opportunities as phishing concerns grow.
We have also partnered with OneScreen, which was the first and remains the only interactive smart board manufacturer that provides the Screen Skills Guru service – unlimited, free, live help and training on any of their solutions. Functionalities like real-time polling, easy dial out, screen sharing, interoperability, and translation have never been easier and we’re looking forward to expanding our offerings with this collaboration.
According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2021?
The next wave of emerging technologies that are built onto the cloud is the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence (AI). Cloud Computing is maturing and becoming a reliable technology that is an enabler of digital transformation and business innovation. It provides organizations the agility to scale and adapt their business models to the rapidly changing market conditions and growth opportunities. The next frontier for cloud computing will be the creation of a new level of customer experience. Companies would apply intelligent technologies in conjunction with the cloud to upgrade their customer experience.
We at DVCOM, are already seeing the rise of digital business service that go beyond support and maintenance. We are already helping companies accelerate their business transformation with products and solutions that include cloud-centric unified communication and collaboration tools, cost-effective voice solutions, remote management tools, security solutions, and various innovative products that companies need in order to prepare for the future and transform themselves into an intelligent enterprise.
What will be your key focus areas for 2021?
DVCOM is known for its choice of world-class vendors in the ICT space but essentially in the hardware solutions space. With the pandemic changing the way companies work our focus has been to get a pie of the digital share of spend which has grown dramatically. Keeping this in mind we were quick to partner with Zoom, a video conference software company that everyone knows. Another exciting partnership has been with Teridion, the company delivering the only global public cloud-based SD-WAN service.
Growing top security concern for organizations is phishing attacks. Our partnership with Cyberfish will help us focus on this area as they help by “looking” at emails, landing pages, and even attachments using Computer Vision and AI, analyzes their actual visual representation, and stops impersonation attacks in real-time.
Another area of growth has been e-learning. This has been instrumental in driving the growth of the interactive flat panel market. We have partnered with OneScreen for this region to makes it as simple as possible for people to work together and have productive interactions – without technological barriers – from wherever they are. OneScreen brings the plug-and-play concept to collaboration tech with OneScreen Hubware 6 that introduces an evolution in the sensitivity of touch, the speed of wireless streaming, and the range of apps that deploy in an instant.
What would you like to do differently in 2021, when compared with 2020?
To be pro-active to face unprecedented situations. This year, companies and consumers faced unrelenting pressures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We learned how to rapidly respond to consumers changing needs, establish trust, and build goodwill as the crisis unfolded.
Focus on the positives. While the events of 2020 have caused stress, anxiety, and even anger, it was crucial to take positive aspects into consideration. Our team came together to untangle the difficult situation by expressing care and supporting hard-hit small businesses. Overall, it was a learning lesson to recognize the spirit of perseverance that we’d like to carry into the new year.
Imperative for companies to be agile. While business agility has always been a key driver and benchmark of notably successful operation, this pandemic has taught us, now more than ever, that a business’ agility to assess the situation and pivot quickly can be a deal maker.
The real value of modern technology adoption. The virus has emphasized the importance of technology for companies to operate normally. A majority of companies said they strongly agree that the pandemic has accelerated their adoption of cloud-based communications, collaborations, and Productivity tools.
Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2021?
We are already working with new partners like Zoom and Teridion. The use of our certified Zoom solutions is only increasing as the world moves towards a new normal. These remote collaboration tools are the new market we’ve just entered and aim to expand into in 2021. Teridion, on the other hand, has a global SD-WAN service that is fully integrated with all leading WAN, SD-WAN, and security edge solutions from providers and also supports connectivity to legacy branch office routers and firewalls. We are planning to unlock new opportunities around that in the next year.
Phishing is another growing concern that market that we are venturing into. 91% of all cyber-attacks start with phishing and 86% of organisations report being a victim of phishing. This data screams of immense scope and we are all set to explore that in the new year. Another area of portfolio expansion we’re looking at is the interactive flat panel market which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 34% by 2023. We work with a number of dynamic, tec-advanced vendors who are always coming up with better, more innovative solutions. We look forward to adding those products and their applications to our portfolio as and when they are introduced in 2021.