Saturday, July 13, 2024

“Our go-to-market plans have always been with the end user in mind”

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Saif Khwaja
senior sales director — South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Western Digital.

Q. Tell us about the range of WD products and how it fulfills the varied need of your customers?
A. Western Digital offers a variety of internal drives and external storage products under the WD brand. Whether it’s for everyday PC, enhanced performance, network, surveillance or scalability needs, every drive has a purpose. WD Blue for everyday use, WD Black for performance, WD Red for NAS, WD Purple for surveillance and WD Gold hard drives offer the capacities required for the most demanding datacentre environments.

We depend on storage in our daily lives, often without realizing it. Whether we use cloud services or download pictures, videos, and movies on our PCs and notebooks, we are using storage. We have not only the component drives that infrastructure providers need but also a broad range of consumer offerings. My Cloud range of personal cloud products and My Passport wireless drives offer extended storage for smartphones and tablet users. A personal cloud allows them to own a digital storage space that they can access from anywhere using multiple devices. Customers can also use a personal cloud to centralise their personal data at home and access it from various devices such as a media player, tablet or smartphone, thereby creating a connected “smart” home.

Beyond offering the largest range of really innovative and great quality products, we stand by our products and consumers with top-notch after-sales service and warranty support across India. We believe that users should be able to get a replacement product with the same ease as they purchased the product. WD provides WD Express a door to door service that ensures in case a customer’s product has to be replaced, it is easy to do so. With WD Express, the product is collected from the user’s address and once it passes our warranty criteria, a replacement drive is then delivered to the user at the same location. A customer can also drop his product at one of our many drop points spread across India and then, once his product has been processed, a new product will be delivered directly to his doorstep.

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Q. Please shed some light on your go-to-market strategy to reach Indian consumers.
A. Our go-to-market plans have always been with the end user in mind. WD has classified the storage into ‘easy to recognise’ colors that give customers the power to choose the right product for their needs because every drive has a purpose.

We ensure that we maintain strong bonds with our channel partners by spending considerable time with our local channel partners in educating, training and addressing their concerns as they are a vital link between the users and us. To establish and build relationships with the channel and partner community, we organise a variety of programs and offers.

Our latest offering “myWD Certified Surveillance Storage Provider Program” is designed to provide comprehensive benefits for the security and surveillance channel network. The myWD Certified Surveillance Storage Provider Program is a tailor-made initiative that aims to offer training, sales support, value added benefits and incentives to security and surveillance system integrators, installers, solution and service providers to help them enhance their business opportunities and profitability. We enhance the knowledge base of the resellers, making them more involved and showing them various paths to diversify in surveillance and security market opportunities if they find the traditional PC markets stagnant, thereby increasing the portfolio.

One more programme called ‘WD Ki Paathshaala’ consists of regular training sessions with our channel partners to apprise them of our existing and new offerings. Another important program is WD University, a valuable resource that makes it easier for the partners to sell WD products by staying up-to-date with product information to build the knowledge and expertise.

WD is committed to the growth of its partners by expanding its distribution channels and providing training to effectively cater to its customers’ need for superior service and reach.

Q. How Digitisation is an opportunity for Western Digital?
A. Digitisation today has created greater horizons given the stupendous rate with which we are creating and storing data. With PC penetration still below 12%, there is an opportunity to increase PC penetration in India through digital infrastructure. We believe that the digitally empowered youth in India will drive the next phase of PC growth. People now are opting for higher capacity drives which are suiting their changing lifestyles. WD identifies it as a significant opportunity to cater to this growing need wherein consumers look forward to solutions fulfilling mass storage digitally. An increased focus on security, both at a personal and national level, is leading to a surge in demand for surveillance drive. This is where WD sees the potential to further build on its category of WD Purple products. The creation of massive-scale data centres, storing gigantic volumes of digital information generated due to efforts in digitalisation and smart cities is yet another opportunity to leverage.

Q. What are the challenges that exist in the storage solution market in India?
A. Despite optimistic predictions and obvious interest from global players, a variety of challenges have held India’s storage solution potential back even as adoption continues growing. These have contributed to a situation in which, regardless of significant awareness, most SMBs are still risking not using NAS-enabled storage and most large Indian enterprises are not thought to host more than 15 percent of their ICT processes in the cloud.

A more ongoing problem is the country’s Internet infrastructure (i.e., bandwidth constraints and fiber optic weaknesses) and the inconsistency of its power supply in some areas.

India also presents a mixed policy environment for storage and cloud services. Some elements of the environment remain undefined (e.g., India lacks a formal data breach notification rule), while others are clearly positive (e.g., there do not appear to be tariffs on software downloads) and some negative (e.g., government procurement, which though a major source of IT spending is reportedly a complex, multifarious process).

However, the government is acutely aware of these challenges, and its ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme aims to address some of the infrastructural weaknesses. But it remains to be seen if the new developments will lead to significant improvements.

With storage at the heart of digitisation today, WD plays a pivotal to enable digital lives of its customers function seamlessly and ensuring that the PM’s Digital India and Smart Cities vision is fully supported.

Q. Smart Cities are going to be the urban future and security will be of prime importance. In what ways do you contribute to security and surveillance ecosystem?
A. Smart cities have given birth to massive data storage demands emanating from the technological advancements triggering data growth. For leading digital storage providers like us, we understand the evolving storage needs of an emerging digital environment. Safety of the citizens is one of the important attributes of a smart city. Our WD Purple line of surveillance-specific hard drives fits into the picture perfectly. These drives are specifically designed to withstand harsh 24×7 always-on surveillance environments. WD next generation technology and solution in the surveillance space caters to the different needs through customization, hence ensuring quality service and peace of mind.

Q. Do you think IoT is the next big thing in the technology world? Please elaborate?
A. Gartner recently predicted that the number of IoT devices (excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones) will grow from just 0.9 billion in 2009 to about 26 billion units in 2020. It will be an era of interconnected devices talking to each other, sensors sensing and passing on the information to other devices in the network resulting in actions and massive data being saved and applications being run from the operational control centers. IoT and big data will be the next mega-trends which will aid the introduction of innovative products and solutions in the industry. The year ahead will solidify these changes and start a transformation with considerable deployment in network, data, storage and analytics. WD is fostering innovation by engaging with early adopters to create next generation products for emerging markets.


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