Vodafone has attempted to highlight the importance of its channel, despite a high level of direct business and several routes to market.
The mobile telecoms giant has been seeking new resellers and now aims to make its channel boundaries clearer. The vendor hopes to use VARs to tap the business-to-business mobile email market.
Chris Huggett, enterprise sales director at Vodafone, said: “We currently have seven to eight routes to market and Vodafone needs a more standardised and sustainable strategy for our indirect channels to explain where the channel sits in the picture.”
Huggett said that Vodafone has acknowledged the changing face of the mobility market but added that the vendor would persist with its dual direct and indirect strategy.
“Vodafone has always had a direct business and the channel will be thinking about what their role is. There is a strong place for indirect channels as they can get to certain types of customers.
“We will never have a wholly direct business, and indirect business might go up in 2006,” he warned.
Huggett added that Vodafone’s channel partner programme will help to make the indirect channel more structured with clear Gold, Silver and Bronze accreditation levels.
“We are expecting large growth in mobile email and we want to provide business email to people who don’t want to use a Blackberry, but a handset of their choice,” he said.
Steve Muttram, managing director at mobility distributor Portix, said the Vodafone channel is still in its early stages, but felt that resellers will offer the best corporate opportunity.
“One of the challenges that Vodafone faces in the business-to-business market is that corporate resellers know Vodafone has a direct salesforce, and it will have to consider how the resellers will differentiate themselves.”
Muttram added that resellers have the data knowledge that Vodafone needs, but shipping through the channel will raise a number of challenges.
“Resellers are not familiar with the subscriptions model and it takes effort to sell with aspects such as credit checking a barrier,” he said adding that mobile email will be an important area in 2006 and is top of the list of demands from businesses.
Neil Sawyer claims he has 'never seen so many conversations about a new method of investing in workplace technology'
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper