— By Sandhya Malhotra
Kolkata, Oct 15: The Confederation of Indian IT Associations (CIITA), a consortium of ten bodies representing Eastern and Northeastern Indian channel partners, has ended a 12-month deadlock and called truce with Mumbai-based national distributors Rashi Peripherals (RP) and their sister concern Savera Marketing Agency (SMA).
All the concerned groups announced that an amicable settlement was reached following which the CIITA issued a statement indicating that the channel members were once again free to do business with both RP and SMA.
The note issued by CIITA President B. Hari, however, noted that members should “keep in mind that any kind of data leakage or any unfair or unethical business practices will be protested, and you must inform CIITA in case you are not able to solve the issue locally.”
The statement further revealed that the CIITA built on the unity amongst its member associations with support also coming in from past Presidents of the Kolkata-based COMPASS, which had taken up the issue with the two distributors and negotiated a settlement.
“We are also thankful to officials from Rashi and Savera for cooperating with us and acceding to our change requests in their trade practices. We are hoping that they adhere to the distribution guidelines set up by CIITA for all national distributors,” Hari said in the statement.
For over 12 months, the CIITA and its 10 member associations had been attempting to resolve the deadlock that began some time last September. The problems resulted in the state associations asking its members to refrain from transacting any business with RP and SMA over allegations of unfair trade practices by both the distributors.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the issue involving the reputation, credibility and goodwill of all the organizations concerned, CIITA had all along taken a very responsible stand that the matter would be resolved amicably with minimum discomfiture to all those involved,” Hari said.
The bone of contention behind this ban started between these three parties, when CIITA alleged that Rashi and SMA had misused channel data for business gains of at the cost of the channel partners. This, they held amounted to an unfair practice as the distributor was sharing leads and information related to customers as well as partner finances.
However, in between, few of local associations, which are part of CIITA, decided to lift the ban and continued to manage the distribution partnership in their cities.
In June last year, the CIITA framed national distributor, a copy of which was shared on the public domain. Based on the feedback received, the policy was modified and adopted by the general body of the consortium. The policy clearly stated that non-disclosure should ensure confidentiality of the information provided by channels and customer data collected through schemes / service centers must remain confidential too and not used for business gains.
The policy further stated that national distributors can engage in business related to internet, communications and telecom (ICT) across all tiers in competition to the channel partners provided they carried on the business under a single entity and not indirectly through associate companies or subsidiaries - something that CIITA accused RP and SMA of doing.
In response to an email query from Channel Times, Rashi’s spokesperson refused to comment on the matter.
RP has been operating in Kolkata since 1999 and currently having seven offices in the eastern region whereas SMA began in 2001 and boasts of six locations in Kolkata and total of 11 offices in the Eastern region.
Hari revealed that the entire matter had taken up lots of bandwidth of the association resulting in the neglect of other activities related to members. “In the coming months, the CIITA proposes to meet up all its member bodies who have completed annual elections, viz., COMPASS, NECTA, associations in Odisha and Bihar etc.” Hari concluded.