Open source Database market gets boost in ASEAN

September 21, 2010

Recently, Ashnik tied-up with EnterpriseDB as its Master partner for ASEAN region. This is exciting for customers, partners as well as developers in the region, as they have Ashnik  to approach for their PostgreSQL needs, closer home. ( For those who are not aware of EnterpriseDB, it is a commercial vendor behind PostgreSQL – the leading open source RDBMS )

Having worked for 9 years in OS layer of open source, it is personally a very important step for me and Ashnik to bring more value to the customers in the form of leading open source database. Through Red Hat Enterprise Linux Ashnik continues to bring open source OS, virtualization and Cloud services for its customers. But the database market is far bigger than OS market.

Total database market is estimated to be around $21Billion for 2010 and growing at 6-8% per annum. To me, this shows that enterprises continue to pay a huge amount of license fees to the proprietary databases – as the numbers show that top 3 vendors Oracle, IBM, Microsoft garner almost 3/4th of the market share. In my discussions with enterprises almost every time I have heard that CIOs are not happy with the returns they get from the license fee they pay for these proprietary database vendors. Most CIOs have been voicing a need for strong alternatives.

While open source databases have been around for many years – PostgreSQL and MySQL being the leading names, with recent acquisition of Sun (and in turn MySQL) by Oracle, there have been doubts in the minds of enterprises about MySQL’s ability to remain independent and thriving open source organisations. On the other hand I found that EnterpriseDB has been silently strengthening its commitment to make PostgreSQL commercially successful. Even industry has responded very positively not just by adopting PostgreSQL but by investing in EnterpriseDB. The big names such as NTT, Kore Telecom, Intel, Red Hat, IBM have invested and are partnering. The $50 million that EnterpriseDB has been able to raise so far signifies the importance industry is attaching to the success of EnterpriseDB.

On the technology front PostgreSQL was always considered as true relational database and with EntepriseDB’s involvement it has been able to offer good user acceptance, ease of installation etc. EnterpriseDB has successfully positioned it as replacement for Oracle Database in the enterprises.

At Ashnik we see this as an opportunity to bring more value to customers, partners and ISVs in the region. Ashnik would be working with EnterpriseDB to develop the customer base and partner eco system to grow this market collectively.


Ashnik and EnhanxIT create a cross continent platform for business development services

September 9, 2010

This week we (Ashnik) signed a collaboration agreement with a Spain based business development company EnhanxIT . This is an exciting news.

More than the opportunities it brings for Ashnik and EnhanxIT, it is a good news for the software solutions providers who are looking to grow in Asian and European territories.

From my personal experience dealing with many ISVs, I always got a message from ISVs that they were looking for a platform that would be trustworthy, professionally competent and would understand the ISVs needs while helping them to go to market. ISVs always voiced concerned about the opportunistic approach of the so called “consultants”.

Drawing upon these learnings, Ashnik set out to provide a platform for the solutions providers who want to enter the Asian market in a serious way. For non-serious players there are many other resellers whom they can tap. While we certainly understand the challenges of tight budgets and need for quick wins, we also try to help solutions providers understand the local market dynamics and opportunities.

Entering the new markets has certain learning curve. When solutions providers show some understanding this process, we see a synergistic approach and things work out in a better way.

This collaboration is a step in this direction. EnhanxIT has a very professional and experienced team and we look forward to work with them to help bring European solutions providers to Asian markets and vice versa.


Towards the victory for collaborative forces against mighty one?

May 19, 2010

Android Shakes Up U.S. Smartphone Market

First quarter 2010 information from The NPD Group’s Mobile Phone Track reveals a shift in the smartphone market, as Android OS edged out Apple’s OS for the number-two position behind RIM.

This news caught my attention more than anything.

Apple, which has been making great news through its iPad launch and ‘lost-found-sold-returned’  iPhone 4 , has given a new dimension to the smart phone market. Till Google launched Android platform and Nexus One phone, there was no real competition to iPhone in consumer segment.

When Google launched Android there were many sceptics, not many were convinced that it would be able to take on Apple’s iPhone. After all, Apple has millions of die-hard fans and it had taken a big lead in establishing the apps market. However in my January post I had argued that Google’s approach of getting more players to launch Android based phone has far more chances of winning against mighty Apple, than Google taking on Apple on its own.

Though the above news is based on one quarter data only, it is very encouraging. It says that more Andorid based phones have been sold than iPhone in the last quarter in USA This would give further boost and encourage more players to adopt Android platform.

For me, this brings hopes of having open platforms and more collaborative environment. This would mean faster innovation and transparency.


Adopting open source for the enterprises – Your guide in ASEAN and India

January 26, 2010

Question is not “should we adopt open source software”, question today in Singapore is “how should we go about adopting”. “What are the best practices, what are the learnings from the global enterprises, where to start from, how to select vendors” etc.

It is important to prepare for these questions, before you embark upon your journey of exploration.

Let me tell you from my own experience of selling open source solution for over 9 years, this journey is quite exciting. It unfolds many more benefits than what you would have anticipated, it debunks many myths that you would have heard from market, it also is a revelation of different software development practices that you would not have seen, but are immensely useful. This journey also lets you understand the limitations and practical usage of open source solutions. Getting to know the services providers is very interesting. You realise the talent and expertise available with the local vendors.

When you want to embark upon such a journey, you need a trusted advisor, who could work with you keeping your interest in mind.

Ashnik, the company that we started, aims to be your such guide. Ashnik provides these consulting services and brings you a network of partners to provide best solutions and services. Ashnik tied up with Xebia recently to bring services around Enterprise Collaboration solutions through Enterprise Java and Web 2.0 technologies to Singapore market. This business model itself is based on the collaboration principal. It aims to put your business on fast track by helping you adopt open source solutions.


Partnering for Success

July 27, 2009

Why do upstart / small/ medium ISVs find it difficult to establish partnership in new regions ….

ISVs find it difficult to get mindshare of resellers or SI partners specially when they want to expand beyond their geographical region. When you think more deeply you would find few reasons.

When the ISV is entering into new region, a lot of work is needed to be done for the market development. Someone has to do this work – either ISV or the local partner. If partner decides to go ahead with the market development, question is how to get returns on the investments. The traditional partnership model in IT industry works on commission basis. If that is the only form of return the considerations for investment are driven by many factors :

  • Cost of the ISV solution and the % margin,
  • The absolute value of the margin
  • Volume of sales per month
  • Potential total gross profit in a given period.

Most of the time the Potential margin itself is not justifiable to make any significant investment. When it is a decent amount, the time frame may take much longer to get the returns.

Such scenario is not new to ISV vendors and hence ISV sticks to selling directly to the customers till the time it reaches certain threshold. When ISV is looking to grow beyond its geographical region (in new territories), setting up office or appointing a sales person is too costly a proposition. And given the above considerations it is difficult to excite the partner to work on purely commission basis and earn decent returns.

What is the alternative ?

Well, ISV can try some age old method of paying the retainer-ship fee to one of the partners in the new region for initial period. I am aware of the question as to how would it work for the ISVs. Well, by paying retainer-ship fee, ISV can insist on performing the tasks of :

  • Reaching out to key customers,
  • Creating awareness of its products and solution
  • Getting the feedback from the customers
  • Getting the market feedback (about competition, pricing, solution providers, influencers etc).
  • Participate in local relevant events (by paying the participation fees of the event)

It is possible to measure the efforts through weekly activity reports and reviews. The key here is to treat the partner as your extended sales team. You are hiring a sales person on time sharing basis.

The cost of this retainer-ship would vary from 20% to 50% of the cost of one local sales person / local small office. To begin with, this activity can be done only short period 3 to 6 months.

In this process, ISVs get crucial tasks done – market development activities, prospect database and also loyalty and interest of channel partner in the new market.

ISV can build from here. This phase helps it to take further decision about :

  • Continue or discontinue this arrangement,
  • Enter into the market with direct office
  • Put more trust in channel partner
  • Focus only on period

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