Where is My Money?

DQ Channels - - Channel Pulse - RA­JNEESH DE/ ra­jneeshd@cy­berme­dia.co.in

Last few weeks, I am meet­ing a large num­ber of chan­nel part­ners from ev­ery lo­ca­tion, both from met­ros and up­coun­try mar­kets. While most of them are in­deed lament­ing about shrink­ing mar­gins and even con­tem­plat­ing ex­it­ing the IT busi­ness, the most com­mon grouse I keep on hear­ing is about de­layed pay­ments.

De­lays by the ven­dor de­spite sev­eral re­minders, re­sellers ex­tend­ing credit pe­ri­ods be­yond all rea­son­able lim­its or worse dis­ap­pear­ing in some cases with­out pay­ing—it's ob­vi­ous that pay­ments (or rather non-pay­ment, to be more pre­cise) is one of the most se­ri­ous malaises af­flict­ing our chan­nel part­ners to­day. And this malaise does not know any re­gional bound­aries— be it a part­ner in Ludhiana or Se­cun­der­abad or Amravati or Bhubanesh­war, de­layed pay­ments is a curse af­flict­ing all.

While chron­i­clers of the times like DQ Week has been ac­tively high­light­ing the plights of those suf­fer­ing in­di­vid­u­als or com­pa­nies when­ever or wher­ever pos­si­ble, I am sure that other stake­hold­ers have to take up re­spon­si­bil­i­ties too. For one, all part­ners must do a care­ful and thor­ough scru­tiny of who­ever they are do­ing busi­ness with, es­pe­cially if it is the first time.

There have been in­stances when even part­ners who have been do­ing busi­ness for a long time van­ish with­out a trace. I know it is dif­fi­cult and many part­ners will in­sist that they have been do­ing busi­ness on trust and on ver­bal ap­proval for so long. But with chang­ing times, they have to be­come strict, at the cost of even be­ing rude—af­ter all no one would want to lose money, at the cost of of­fend­ing some­body, I am sure. What is most needed is a dras­tic im­prove­ment in over­all trans­parency es­pe­cially about au­dit­ing ac­counts of part­ners.

While com­pil­ing the rev­enue lists of part­ners, we re­al­ize the lack of this trans­parency most acutely. Even if some peo­ple lead the way here, I am sure many more would fol­low; and once the over­all trans­parency im­proves, there would be lit­tle place for fraud­sters. There can be gen­uine rea­sons for de­lays in pay­ments too; trans­parency will en­sure that such cases are looked at with ad­e­quate at­ten­tion and not brack­eted with the cases of to­tal fraud.

I just can­not also help feel­ing that ul­ti­mately it is the lo­cal chan­nel as­so­ci­a­tion who can of­fer the most mean­ing­ful as­sis­tance. Pro­vided, of course the as­so­ci­a­tion is ac­tive enough, not be­set with in­ter­nal ri­val­ries and petty pol­i­tics and most im­por­tantly car­ries enough clout in the mar­ket. How­ever, in re­al­ity we are not see­ing much of this hap­pen­ing, as most as­so­ci­a­tions of­ten fail to take up the cud­gel on be­half of their be­lea­guered mem­bers. The rea­sons are not dif­fi­cult to fathom; ei­ther there are vested in­ter­ests in play; or the as­so­ci­a­tion of­fice bear­ers are too busy with their own busi­nesses to de­vote enough time; and, in some cases, they are plainly in­dif­fer­ent to the plights of the in­di­vid­ual part­ners.

Of­ten the large or in­flu­en­tial part­ners in a par­tic­u­lar mar­ket use their own clout to solve their prob­lems, and it is the smaller part­ners who suf­fer. And prob­a­bly th­ese are the peo­ple in max­i­mum need of as­sis­tance from the as­so­ci­a­tions—but un­for­tu­nately th­ese most of­ten turn out to be an­other of those Big Boys Clubs. So ul­ti­mately, in­stead of con­demn­ing in­di­vid­ual part­ners or as­so­ci­a­tions, ev­ery stake­holder in the whole ecosys­tem must look at stop­ping fraud­u­lent pay­ments and re­duc­ing de­lays in pay­ment cy­cles.

DQ Week is will­ing to of­fer all help, be it as a neu­tral body re­port­ing the cases, or even act­ing as a third-party me­di­a­tor to set­tle the dif­fer­ences.

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