The Government Divorce
All of you are aware of the DQ Week Annual Premier Reseller surveys that we are currently conducting across the country through our various editions.. Many of you would also probably be aware of our sister publication Dataquest's annual survey called Top20 that too is happening simultaneously. As surveys that capture the financial information of all sorts of IT companies and channel partners, these are unique exercises in the annals of publishing anywhere in the world. Accordingly, for the last few weeks myself and our editorial teams I have been traveling across the country, meeting many of the top IT companies and channel partners trying to gather information for the surveys.
One common observation for most of the vendors has been their increasing dependence on the potential of the Indian government vertical. While most companies, ranging from hardware to software to IT services, were plunged in probably the worst crisis in their relatively short life, it was the increasing automation initiatives of the government, plus its relative insulation from slowdown that made it such an attractive proposition for most IT companies. That the Indian government has finally opened up on the technology automation front, both in terms of budget as well as complexities of the adoption, is great news indeed for the Indian IT industry and all its stakeholders. But for some strange reasons most of our channel partners, barring some notable exceptions, seem to be immune to the cause.
So what's causing these channel partners the hesitancy to jump onto the government bandwagon? Is it because the government tenders and contracts (even if you are not L1 but only sub-contracting) demand lots of transparency in terms of their account books and financials. And as we have seen during the Annual Premier Reseller issues, many partners do indeed flinch from sharing even their topline revenues. Or is it because the government payment cycle is long-drawn making it difficult for most partners to sustain their businesses. While the last point might have logic, partners should weigh carefully the quantum of opportunities they are missing otherwise. Worse will be if partners are avoiding government deals just so that their cupboards do not bare any skeletons.
Now, one implied benefit of e-governance was supposed to be the influence the workings of these IT companies would have on the functioning of the administration. The various checks and balances, the stringent productivity measures, the ability to complete projects in a timebound manner and most importantly to imbibe the innate professionalism seemed to be the biggest benefits for the government. Nothing would be sadder to see that for a few partners, the entire channel community is unable to leverage this opportunity.