New Delhi, August 7: New Delhi-based Progressive Channels Association of Information Technology (PCAIT) took the lead in uniting over 80 Regional IT Associations across India, at what was termed as the First ever All India ICT Channel Conclave, held at the impressive Crowne Plaza Hotel at Okhla on Saturday, the 2nd of August.
The Conclave saw the participation of the elected Presidents & Secretaries of various pan-India IT Associations and members of PCAIT apart from the editorial teams of leading IT publications and vendors. The topic of discussion and the reason for the Conclave being, to evolve a solution that effectively counters the threat posed by predatory pricing offered by large on-line e-tailers to traditional (brick and mortar) ICT Channels.
The Think Tanks from each of the Regions had already deliberated amongst their members prior to the Conclave and summarised their understanding of the threat and ways to counter it, which they shared with those present at the Conclave. Presentations were made by Mr. B. Hari - President, CIITA (East), Mr. Champak Gurjar- President, FITAM (West), Mr. Karthikeyan S. - President, SIITA (South) and Mr. Sanjiv Bhavnani, CEO - Mentorpreneur Advisors and Founder Member of PCAIT(North).
While some regions quantified the threat posed by on-line retailers like Flipkart, Amazon, e-Bay, Snapdeal etc. and ways to effectively counter them, Associations from the Southern Region spoke about their successes with their local Governments in getting on-line retail blocked in their states. However, it was clear that on-line retail is there to stay in India, and cannot be wished away.
Mr. Sanjiv Bhavnani said “On-line retail companies earned revenues of around Rs. 13,900 crores ($2.24 billion) in the financial year that ended on March 31, 2013 and are expected to touch Rs. 50,400 crores ($8.13 billion) by March 31, 2016. Also, the number of internet users in India is expected to grow from a current base of 20 crore to 50 crore by 2015. As such, while the threat from on-line retailers to traditional ICT channels is real, it is also an opportunity for Channels to grow their business by adopting e-Commerce.” He then went on to explain how a new business entity could be formed with members of the Associations coming together to form an ICT Portal of their own and highlighted a complete roadmap and guidelines for this new online portal.
Alok Gupta, President, PCAIT, commenting on the relevance of the conclave stated that, “There is an urgent need to pay attention to the practices deployed by such portals when it comes to procurement and selling of products at rates, which are way below the market rates. Also providing service for the products sold on-line is a key issue, which has been lacking till now. The conclave is an attempt to address this disparity and make the market a level playing field for ICT channel partners by providing them a platform to operate their business, online in order to cater to the fast growing segment”.
Shedding light on the objective of the conclave, Saket Kapur, General Secretary PCAIT (North) said, “ICT Channel Conclave is a step towards identifying and addressing the issues being faced by the channel retailers from the online platforms. Being true to the theme of our conclave which was- ‘Growth with Unity’ we understand that online is an important mode of doing business, hence we encourage our members to take their business online and explore new growth avenues”.
The common objective was to set up an online marketplace, owned by channels themselves and bridge the gap of a dedicated IT and product service portal. The portal will be a first of its kind in India that will offer product based services across the length and breadth of the country owing to the strong channel network of India’s Channel Associations.