Iris Computers Ltd, incorporated in 1996, is one of India’s top 10 IT Hardware and Telecom distributors that distributes and markets a wide variety of ICT devices sourced from reputed brands such as Dell, Lenovo, Western Digital, Samsung, Acer Inc, HP and IBM. The company is headquartered in New Delhi with branches spread across India. In an interaction with NCN, Sanjiv Krishen, Chairman of Iris Computers Ltd, shares their company’s objectives, challenges, mission and vision.
Q1 What new challenges and opportunities did the Covid-19 crisis create for you as a distributor?
The primary challenges facing the distribution business are cash flow management and financial planning. The fractured supply chains that have impacted virtually every industry have resulted in businesses being unable to pick up or pay for products they have ordered. This poses a huge challenge as the poor liquidity of payments from customers impacts our channel partners and in turn that causes a disruption to our cash flows. Keeping track of the market direction, making strong credit decisions and ensuring due diligence in planning ahead are a few of the ways we are mitigating these risks. Another risk we face lies in the area of data security. With workforces having shifted from the workplace to working at homes, it too has increased the security risks and challenges. Many hackers have shifted their focus from trying to penetrate office networks to trying to break into the comparatively weak home-based systems. This risk applies to the distribution businesses as well because our success is based on having strong data systems for our inventory, sales, orders, cash flows and other crucial information that helps us make decisions. We have been using and are advocating strong VPN systems, secure VDI, Cloud, VA/PT and regular user training to mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks. Every challenge can also be viewed as an opportunity. We have used our experience in meeting these challenges head on and extended that to our customers so they can benefit from our experience. This has helped us build trust and loyalty at a time when people are looking for stable and reliable business partners who can help them through these tough times. We plan to use the wide variety of products and services that we have available in order to support our customers and grow our business even further. Our outlook is, therefore, optimistic and we intend to make the best of the difficult situation that we are all in.
Q2 Which of your products and solutions see a rise in demand?
Along with the spread of the pandemic, there has been an accompanying growth in demand for remote and mobile computing. We’ve seen a spurt in customers needing Notebooks and Mobility Solutions. This is the case not only to enterprises but also with consumers who are all keen to be connected during the locked down. In a few areas, we have even grown by 10%. In addition, there are some new areas related to healthcare (hardware for diagnostics, research and tracking) wherefrom there has been a increased demand. Temperature sensing devices are also in demand and we foresee continued growth in this area for as long as thepandemic lasts.
Q3 What new opportunities and trends do you foresee for the near future?
The push for digital transformation has grown since the start of the pandemic. Companies everywhere are seeing the merits of being able to manage their end-to-end processes in the digital domain. This means an uptick in purchases of hardware, software and services as companies realise that they must be digitally ready to survive till the end of the pandemic. There are certain industries that are poised for continued focus and growth:
- The telecom sector has become more important than ever as all companies need stable and reliable connectivity for their workforces.
- Online Education is another key area that is seeing a huge upswing in demand for hardware and solutions.
- In the world of healthcare, the need for computers in research, hospitals and telemedicine has fuelled a lot of business and we see that trend continuing through the end of next year.
- Finally, online retail has firmly established its importance and will remain the primary choice for consumers to shop.
Q4 What new alignments and plans have you already initiated in this context?
Iris has already got strong partnerships with technology innovators and leaders like Dell, HP, LG, CommScope, Ruckus, APC by Schneider, Acer, Delta, Wacom and BPE to name a few. We are aggressively channelizing Work From Home solutions, Secure VDI, Smart Signage, End-to-end wireless solutions with WiFi6 technology, Trusted Power Backup and Home-Office Protection. Our goal is to provide technology to our customers regardless of which industry they are in and so we aim to widen our breadth of partnerships to meet that need.
Q5 How do you react to the trend of Work from Home (WFH)? Are you supplying or distributing any solutions for this segment?
The biggest change across all industries has been for companies to continue their operations even while their employees are working remotely. Iris has embraced this change and has found ways to continue its operations across India. Our top priority has been to invest in video collaboration tools, secure systems and remote connectivity and by doing so we ensured that the employees were up and running within days of the first lockdown. This enabled us to keep the business running even under constrained conditions. It is still early to assess how well we are able to adapt as it has been only two months since we resumed normal sales operations and market conditions are still adverse. The sales trend has, however, been quite encouraging. Iris is also helping various enterprises to set aggressive yet realistic trajectories to run remotely enabled operations. Some of the areas on the emerging technology roadmap that we have identified are the Datacentre (DC, DR), Edge Computing, Digital office solutions, IP Surveillance with AI, Smart Power Solutions and Smart Furniture.
Q6 What are your future plans to sustain and grow in the current Covid-19 scenario?
Iris, as a company, believes in meeting challenges head on. Despite the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on our people and economy, we remain optimistic about India’s potential to overcome the crisis and get back on track. Our goal is to support our customers and help as many companies as possible to get back on their feet. This will mean widening our product ranges, partnerships, employee skills, tightening our planning systems and mitigating credit risks. However, we are confident that we can do all these things. In doing so we believe that Iris will be able to strengthen its foundations and improve both its topline and bottomline by the end of the pandemic.
With the pandemic spreading widely, there has been an accompanying growth in demand for remote and mobile computing and Notebooks and Mobility Solutions.