Sramana: Do you have value added reseller and system integrator channels active or do you do those service yourselves?
Virender Aggarwal: In the past two months we have appointed 15 partners in the US. I don’t think any partner in the US is capable of doing any of the customization work on their own. In India we do have a capable network and some of our partners are able to implement and customize on their own. We have around 70 partners in India. We also have 5 partners in the UK and 7 in Malaysia and Singapore. We are building a global network of partners right now. Going forward we think a partnership strategy will be key and we do not believe that we will be selling direct very often.
There are some other arrangements where people have OEM’d our platform as a service. Dell has started selling in India now and they have 400 salespeople there. Only some of them have started selling ERP. We have other large sales force companies who are adding us to their portfolio. We have also had a few companies come forward and ask to use our HR and payroll components as a platform. We are working with them which includes some of the largest companies in India. We will be significantly less expensive than PeopleSoft so there is room for them to white label our platform and still make a significant profit.
Sramana: What is your experience selling to Indian business customers? We have a number of 1M/1M portfolio companies who well to Indian enterprise customers and they are experiencing very long sales cycles. The cost of doing the sale is extremely high. I know ERP also has a long sales cycle, but I would be curious to know what your sales cycle looks like.
Virender Aggarwal: It varies anywhere from one month to three or four months. The implementation cycle also varies from one to three months. That is a typical sales cycle.
Sramana: That is not a long cycle, especially for an ERP product.
Virender Aggarwal: We have an advantage of a good brand name. There is nobody in India who does not know the Ramco name. It is a well-known product. Our company does not have a negative reputation. People trust us as a product.
An example of this is a company who just became a client. They have several hundred cell phone stores throughout India and use SAP in their enterprise. They could not afford to have SAP handle the data management so they came to us. There is no up-front cost when it comes time to sign on to our service.