Voice giant opens VAR channel

Voice giant opens VAR channel

OUT to prove it’s more than just a voice provider, Vodafone NZ has entered the IT channel.

The global mobile telephony giant is recruiting big and small resellers for a range of mobility applications.

Officially Vodafone’s VAR channel will be launched at the company’s Mobility roadshow running in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland this week and next.

However, the company has been signing up premier partners behind the scenes for the last month.

Phil Patel, Vodafone director of business markets, says his company is serious about moving from selling voice services to providing mobility applications and sees the channel as vital to fulfilling that vision.

Axon, ATL Systems, Softsource and Maclean Computing are among the partners already signed.

“These companies already provide solutions and we don’t think we could add any extra value. The roadshow is about making all the technology real; there will be something for everyone,” he says.

Patel says moving to a channel model is part of Vodafone’s global strategy in which over $200 million has so far been invested.

New Zealand, along with Germany and the Netherlands, is one of the first subsidiaries to implement the model.

Hamish Switalla, Vodafone sales and marketing manager, says the New Zealand operation chose to take advantage of local market conditions, after the recent launch of 3G.

“We spent time with Microsoft and HP learning how to put a programme together because it was such a new space for us.

“I think this will give the channel the ability to provide total end-to-end solutions with much higher margins than other areas,” he says.

The programme has three levels: premium, certified and registered. Switalla stresses there is a place for any IT reseller.

Vodafone now has a 25-strong channel team including two regional channel managers, an IT distribution manager and two pre-sales technical roles.

“All my conversations with resellers indicate this is the missing link they have been waiting for. Vodafone is trying to empower them as much as possible without the typical telco restrictions,” says Switalla.

One reseller to jump onboard, Softsource, is delighted with the opportunity to work with Vodafone.

“We will be integrating the 3G network into the back end of businesses which allows us to provide a complete end-to-end solution,” says Pablo Garcia-Curtis, Softsource general manager.

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