adam121 - Fotolia

Vodafone highlights the UC opportunities

Vodafone's UK channel chief has provided a progress report one year on from rolling out its partner programme

Vodafone has delivered an upbeat progress report a year on from the launch of a partner programme that was designed to help the channel get into a better position to exploit growth areas like unified comms.

The telco player introduced its most recent channel scheme last year with a determination to increase the skill levels across a fairly broad channel base.

"The programme we started in January 2017 was designed to help partners go on that journey. It didn't matter what starting point they were at: data , mobile, fixed we had an entry point for them and we would help them upskill, upsell and give them the latest skills and toolsets to help them grow," said Helen Freestone, director of UK Partnerships & Alliances at Vodafone.

"The pace of change in the technology industry as a whole is massive and partners want our help in trying to face into that change," she added "it's our job in partnering with them to help them through that transformation."

The partner programme offers around 150 hours of training and advice on up and cross selling and the firm is getting ready to launch its partner hub, which includes more information about training and other useful websites. The investment in the partner programme has come to £1m over the last 18 months.

"The whole market is coming together an the partners we work with that are racing ahead and at time of huge change are really making an impact are the ones that are diversifying. So they are not saying 'I'm just a data player' or 'I'm just a voice player' they are building a set of competencies and services that include unified communications and cloud and a portfolio," she added.

Freestone said that Vodafone is encouraging resellers to get involved with the unified comms market because it continues to expand and benefit from customers looking at the way they communicate as part of a wider digital transformation strategy.

Helen Freestone

"We have seen exponential growth with our unified comms solution," she added "Collaboration and unified comms is absolutely where the market is going."

"A couple of years ago it might have been about partners going out to customers and talking about unified comms but now we have a very aware customer base and they are coming to partners asking about how they can do it and asking for advice and guidance," she added.

In addition the vendor is nudging partners to increase the services they can provide and to keep an eye on emerging IoT opportunities.

"Partners are a significant route to market for Vodafone and we wouldn't be where we are without partners and we need them in the future. They are becoming increasingly important," said Freestone.

"The level of optimism and momentum in the channel is really picking up. we are seeing a lot more opportunity than we are challenges," she added.

Read more on Unified Communications (UC) Services