–Sandhya Malhotra

According to Crisil, online retail companies did business worth Rs 13,900 crore in FY 2012-13 and it is expected to reach Rs 50,400 crore in FY 2015-16. This data is giving sleepless nights to traditional ICT channels (both IT and mobile) located pan India.

logo

Delhi based Progressive Channels Association of Information Technology (PCAIT) took a lead to unite all the major IT Channel Associations of India under a one roof and held the first All India ICT Channel Conclave in the city to discuss this online threat in detail and came out with a sustainable resolution. In an exclusive interview to Channeltimes, Saket Kapur, secretary, PCAIT explained the roadmap and key priorities, after organizing this successful conclave.
Excerpts from the interview:

CT: What triggered PCAIT to organise this National Associations Conclave, how this idea was came into being?

Kapur: Ebbing business of IT Channel created the need to get together and brainstorm an apposite solution was felt during a casual meeting with delegation of IT Associations from Eastern Region during MAIT AGM held on June 25, 2014. A meeting following day was convened by PCAIT and there idea of Online Market Place driven by ICT Channels was concluded and to hold a Conclave of all the Associations in the Country was proposed. PCAIT was entrusted to host this Conclave on 2nd August 2014.

Saket Kapur

CT: What support did you receive from the other regional associations to make this happen?

Kapur: All other Associations responded positively and exhibited commitment to actively participate.

CT: What were the key issues that were raised at the conclave, what are the common issues that plague the entire channel community

Kapur:Threat from online market places through predatory pricing is plaguing the channel. Channel appears to be losing on credibility from loyal customers owing to incorrect prices being flashed by portals.

CT:How is this conclave going help protect the traditional channel partners from current set of threats?

KapurThis conclave has laid foundation for an All India platform for all ICT associations and federations with common objective of ‘growth With unity.’ Initiatives have been announced through respective committees for Government Interfacing, Vendor Interfacing and working on feasibility of own Online Market Place.

CT: Will the channel community succeed in taking on established e-commerce companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon by setting up own e-market portal?

Kapur: We are very positive and confident in being able to establish a Market Place for Product and Services, augmenting Channel offline business. Our operational model will be based on core competence of our channel community.

CT: What kind of readiness do you see among the IT association for the creation of this e-portal. How will this portal protect smaller tier III and IV channel partners’ interest?

Kapur: Bringing Online Market Place is definitely a challenge but not greater than the looming threat of perishing under the Tsunami of Flikarts and Snapdeals. Our Tier III and IV member will get involved in last mile delivery and will have access to collaborative deals which otherwise are beyond their reach.

CT: What are the top four priorities for PCAIT post this conclave, and how and when you are going to complete?

Kapur:Top priority of PCAIT is to bind all the associations in a formal structure and effectively voice concerns and issues related to unfair practices of erring online e-tailers to respective Government authorities.

CT: How ICT Channel portal will detach channel from existing e-commerce companies as they are doing good business?

Kapur: Our members who are vendors to existing online e-tailers are suffering huge losses owing to product return on account of customer inability in successfully installing the same. Cases related to Network Printer, Wifi Appliances are common.

CT: How soon do we see the creation of this e-portal and who will manage the funding and overall running this portal?

Kapur: Online Market Place of ICT Channels should be a reality in next six months.

CT: Do you think IT channel is too late for taking this action and allowing other alternative channels to mushroom

Kapur: Better Late than Never. Moreover this is right time to take the plunge when the market is on upswing.

CT: When do we see the emergence of IT channel National body?

Kapur:We are already connected through Social Media and should have a formal body within this month.