Symbiosis With Its Vendor

Among the cornerstones of success for D-Synergy Tech Systems

By Oo Gin Lee

YOU could call it a start-up, but the founders of 5-month-old D-Synergy Tech Systems are no pushovers. And they have the numbers to show it. The wireless security system integrator opened shop in January this year, and it has already completed over 50 deployments of wireless systems for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In addition, it has a mega wireless hotspot deployment across 100+ outlets for a leading fast food chain in Singapore.Doreen Sim, managing director of D-Synergy attributes her company’s success to a combination of timing, having the right products and the founders’ strong individual networks and reputation. Her partner and co-founder Ken Chua agrees, saying that there was a great demand among corporations big and small for implementing wireless networks. But more were holding back because of security fears. However, security technology has come of age leading to an explosion of demand for wireless solutions.

“We were profitable within the first month of business,” said Chua, who is the technical director of the company. But he reckons that the company would not have been able to do as well had the two founders been new to the industry. “Being a newbie is very difficult in today’s business environment,” he added. Although the company is new, both Sim and Chua are veterans in the IT industry and brought with them a strong reputation and extensive contact-base to the company.

The brand that is helping D-Synergy rack up its deals is SonicWALL. “With SonicWALL products, we are able to offer a wireless solution that is secure and affordable to the SMBs,” Chua said. “For ust S$1,400, a company of 25 users can get started with secure Wi-Fi,” he added.

The duo also attributes their success to the symbiotic relationship between D-Synergy and SonicWALL. While the majority of the business deals are clinched by Chua and Sim, a sizeable chunk comes from SonicWALL referrals. In addition, SonicWALL’s marketing efforts and funding also help D-Synergy to defray some of their own marketing dollars. “SonicWALL runs great campaigns and roadshows to educate end users,” Sim added. This helps them reach out to the end users easily. SonicWALL also developed a lot of online training materials to help its partners get up-to-date with the latest technologies, she continued.

Another boon is SonicWALL’s very short shipment cycle. “The short ordering cycle means I get to hold less inventory and can react faster,” said Chua. While most vendors in this industry worked on 30-60 day shipment periods, SonicWALL took orders on a weekly basis. This helps the company meet customer orders within a shorter time and avoid over-stocking.

But getting a vendor to provide such strong support is not an easy task. “It’s really a chicken and egg thing,” said Chua. “If you don’t have volume, the vendor won’t support you, but without vendor support, it’s even tougher to get the volume that you need,” he added. Somewhere along the line, the system integrator needs to “make a bet” on his preferred vendor, he added, and be loyal to the vendor. He added that his company’s success has attracted other rival vendors who made partnership offers, but Chua turned them down. “If we just jump ship, it may well backfire. Maintaining loyalty is important to building a successful vendor-reseller relationship. In addition, we are telling our customers that we are serious about what we do and this gives them confidence,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean that D-Synergy only sells SonicWALL products. “One vendor cannot make all the various products that we need to deploy our solutions. What we do is to look for other products that can complement our SonicWALL firewalls, like Cisco routers,” said Sim. But she is clear that she wants to preserve the long term relationship with SonicWALL. “It’s a symbiotic relationship. Without the back-end support from the vendor, we won’t be able to project a confident front-end to our customers.”

This article appeared in Channels In Asia, Vol.2 No.2, April-May 2004. Channels In Asia is a publication of MediaLink Technology Pte Ltd.