Friday, April 10, 2009

Right Partners, Right Results

An Exclusive Interview with Shiv Kumar, EVP of ZSL Inc., featured in CRN Magazine.

Edison, NJ, 24th July, 2008 - Global IT services firm ZSL Inc. (2007 CRN Fast Growth No. 45), provides onshore, offshore and near-shore technology solutions and services to enterprises and technology companies worldwide. Based in Edison, N.J., ZSL works with some of the world's leading innovative ISVs and software-enabled businesses, ranging from start-ups to established industry leaders.

CRN caught up with EVP Shiv Kumar—last seen accepting ZSL's Top Technology Practices Award for Excellence In Virtualization at the 2008 VARBusiness 500 Awards—to talk about the company's unique, collaborative style and its commitment to innovation.

CRN: ZSL functions in a very collaborative manner.

SHIV KUMAR: Yes. From 2003 onward we've worked on Get IT Together, primarily with [other] VARs and ISVs in the North American and European market. Our formula is to collaborate with the right partner and work with them to bring products and services to market. We've looked at solution providers that went out from the dot-com bust and that had expertise we could tap. Those who were smart and understood they couldn't offer complete solutions, we determined we could collaborate with them. We looked at application developers, for example, and asked ourselves, "What could we do with that?" At the time, there were similar economic challenges to today. We extended more into Europe in 2004. We are using such a collaborative approach today. One-third of our revenue is generated through collaboration.

CRN: So you can focus on what you do best, and your partner can tackle other aspects of a project where it has expertise.

KUMAR: We can focus then on our core competency, which is technology—mobile, IT optimization, integration, wireless issues, among others. Among our partners, they have expertise in manufacturing and retail segments, and they needed technical expertise. We kept the engagement open to the VAR partner, and we work closely with IBM (NYSE:IBM), Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT), but we offer vendor neutrality to our partner. That allows us to grow cost-effectively.

We look at technologies such as WiMax or RFID, and see how those technologies can help in solving business problems out there. We also help our partners or end users to show proof of concept.

CRN: Sounds like you try to foster innovation.

KUMAR: Through our R&D labs, which we call our IDEA lab—Innovative Development of Enterprise Applications—we bring business solutions to using various technology, such as wireless, unified communications, etc. We have different competencies inside the lab, each focusing on different technology.

Recently, we were developing an enterprise 2.0 computing framework for a midsize to large enterprise. During a discussion, senior management made it clear to [first], make it support business growth and [second], show innovation. Every business is looking at bringing out new products and reaching new markets and how to use innovative technology to grow [business]. The IDEA concept helps align those innovative technologies with business gain. IDEA develops prototypes and proofs of concept. It also helps partners to demonstrate the value of their claims.

CRN: What are you hearing about green initiatives?

KUMAR: We did engage our partners to develop a solution for a consumer electronic product in an effort to determine how it could be recycled more effectively.

We are hearing more about "green" in the last few months. But there's not a big push from CIOs at this point. They are talking about consolidation, which can relate to a "green initiative." They need to see how it could make business sense. It's a good opportunity going forward to push other features, like telecommuting and unified communications.


Contact Information:

85 Lincoln Highway
Edison,NJ 08820
Ph: 732 549 9770
Fax: 732 767 6644


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