Union Budget 2019: Read what IT industry expects
Empower Enterprises With The Right Tools To Face Challenges Posed By Cloud, Mobility, Big Data & AI
Friday, January 18, 2019 | www.itvoice.com
Nisha Harshwal:-Tell us shortly about the journey of Accops in India right from the first day?
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-We did not have any eureka moment to start Accops. Both of us founders had worked with enterprise products companies and we had seen the challenges of running point product companies from India. All our experience has been into remote access technologies. But we could see that just network access is not enough for enterprises. Users care about access to applications and they need to work over any device, any network. Enterprises gained no benefit by opening the network to users but just wanted users to have access to the intended application. We felt that the secure application domain has lot of potential. So, we jumped on the entrepreneurship bandwagon in 2008. Worst time to start a company as the markets had just crashed. We started as a consulting company for a UK based company, named Propalms. By end of 2012, we decided to start working on our own products and launched “Accops” brand in 2015 based on our own IP. Our services business helped us to fund the development because of which we did not need any venture capital. In last 6 years, we have grown from a 15 people team to 85 people, 500+ customers and 75 channel partners. After India, Japan is our second largest base. We could quickly acquire distributors and resellers in 5 other countries and scale up operations. We have not raised any external funding and we believe not having a large sum of money in our bank account keeps us hungry and keep us on our toes. Our customers are our investors.
Nisha Harshwal:-What are the key differentiators that make Accops different in the market?
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-The current DSCI report lists around 135 cybersecurity startups in India. Doing enterprise IT infrastructure and cybersecurity products in India is not easy. Talent and money both do not come easy for enterprise starts.
First thing we did differently is to build a consistent revenue by consulting services to sustain the company and fund the product development. When we launched the product, we already had around 100+ customers to roll out the new product. Our existing channel network connections in India as well as 5 other countries quickly took the product to new customers.
Secondly, we decided never to say no to a customer. We accepted new challenges from customers and continue building and adapting the product. Having full control of the company meant we could take decisions quickly. Accops decided to not be a point product to solve only one problem but build a comprehensive suite to solve a wider application delivery and access problem.
Accops gives solution for application virtualization, desktop virtualization, two factor authentication for any application, secure remote access gateway and thin client hardware devices. When we go to a customer, we can add value by our products in making IT management easier, enabling enterprise mobility, enabling new and secure business processes or reducing desktop hardware costs. Our sales team and channel partners have lot of use cases to sell.
Nisha Harshwal:-Explain your GTM strategy for Indian market?
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-When we started, we had a hybrid strategy for GTM. We knew channel partner route will be the ultimate goal but channel works only when either you are a disruptor in the market or you already have good case studies.
We knew that its best to get some good customer logos and then use them to attract channel partners. So we have had a direct sales team with in-house lead generation team to generate quality leads. We generate leads via technology events and industry focused events. Today, we are a 100% channel focused company. Brightstar, a Softbank group company, is our distributor and we have around 50+ active partners in India.
Our direct sales team and lead generation function helps generates leads and feeds the channel partners with quality leads. Over the years, our channel generated leads have grown significantly. We have also tied up with some application vendors to bundle Accops solution.
We are a Microsoft Gold partners and a Microsoft CSP. We are also promoting Accops products in Azure with help of Microsoft sales teams. Our executive and marketing teams are focused on thought leadership and generating more inbound leads that will help the channel network.
Nisha Harshwal:-How was the year 2018 for Accops? Please mention any big achievements in 2018
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-Accops recorded YoY Growth of 100% in the last financial year and targets to grow at 100% this year. Recently, SME Channels awards recognized Accops as ‘Most Innovative Product for SMEs’.
We have launched a new product “Accops HyLabs” which is virtual lab orchestration and access solution for education & training industry. The solution was well accepted by some of the largest universities of Japan. We are now taking this product to some Indian colleges and universities as well.
Accops also completed the Microsoft CSP registration and we can now enable our partners to host Accops solution in Azure. In 2018, we also tied up with Nutanix and joined the Nutanix Ready and TSANet programs.
Nisha Harshwal:-What are the verticals to which Accops solutions are catered? How is the response from various markets?
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-Accops currently caters to approximately 500+ customers in 14 different verticals. There are multiple use cases that we address. The BFSI vertical is very focused on addressing the application security, critical application isolation and secure access by vendors & IT teams using our solutions. The BFSI customers are biggest consumers and they use almost all our solutions. We have been offer a unique solution to BFSI customers displacing multiple large players with our integrated and comprehensive solution approach.
Other regulated industry like pharmaceutical and healthcare are focused on in-campus mobility, data security & cost reduction by virtue of complete thin client based computing. It simplifies the compliances significantly and enables easy mobility within a large campus when the users are giving access via virtual desktops and virtual applications rather than a full PC.
Manufacturing is another big vertical and the focus in on reducing the thick PC footprint in assembly lines and reducing IT management across multiple factory locations. Education is now coming up as a very interesting vertical after we launched the new product Accops HyLabs which address specific needs of universities. This is the sector that we had not touched earlier but we are seeing very good reception from education sector now.
Nisha Harshwal:-How is your channel ecosystem in India? What are the highlighted developments in your channel space?
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-Accops sees a big shift from traditional VAR (value-added reseller) model based on transaction to a more service oriented, recurring revenue model. As cloud-based IT infrastructure is gaining traction, capex purchases have reduced and significant rise in subscription business is seen. Customers are no more looking at resellers to bring a product to them but bring a comprehensive service plans which includes all products in subscriptions model. Hence partners who can service the customers are more preferred Instead of just being transactional. This shift has also had effect on OEM and channel network where the OEM and partner relationship are no longer a simple one-time reselling transaction but rather one that requires continuous engagement, empowerment, education & support to serve the end-customer more effectively. In enterprise IT and security space, we see that customers are looking up to partners to have strong knowledge and service capabilities in both on-premise and cloud based solutions.
Nisha Harshwal:-Do you provide any channel partner training to your channel partners? Throw some light on your channel partner program
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-Channel Partners are a critical piece of our go to market strategy. Accops Partner Program is comprehensive partner program that includes partner engagement, education and incentivization. We expect all partner company resources to go through basic sales and technical training programs. Our distributor runs monthly training programs from their office in Mumbai and Gurgaon. We do dedicated training programs and kick off sessions with large system integrators and multi-city resellers. Based on the partner level, partners are required to revisit the certifications of the allocated resources for Accops solutions.
We categorize our partners under three categories: Authorized partners, Silver partner and Gold partner. At each level, partners get different benefits in terms of margins, pre-sales support, revenue from software maintenance, free training, etc.
Nisha Harshwal:-What is your roadmap and expansion plans for future (2020)?
Mr. Mohan Bhat:-The secure digital workspace market opportunity is a forecasted to be around $37 Billion opportunity growing at CAGR of 28.57% (2017-2021) which includes virtualization, secure mobility, two-factor and thin client technologies.
In India, we are invited for every proof of concept when it comes to workspace virtualization, a target that we had set 2 years back. We have built new unique products around multi-factor authentication and ICT lab automation.
We are working on a cloud strategy that will enable us to expand further by offering our solutions in SaaS model, serviced through our channel partner network in India and aboard. That will also enable us to reach a much larger customer base outside India. We have already started sales in USA and customer base in Europe is increasing.
We are working with Microsoft closely to bring our solutions to Azure. We are working on some new cool solutions which will be announced shortly. Some new tie-ups will also be announced which will benefit our channel network as well as end customers.
By year 2020, we want to be the top most enterprise product company from India and 3rd most preferred workspace virtualization solution company in the world.