3 key take-aways from Partner Summit
First and foremost, I must say that I am excited to be re-joining the Partner team at TalkTalk Business in my new role as Director of Partners. It means a great deal to me as the Partner team is where I started my career 15 years ago. TalkTalk Business is often cited as the growth engine of TalkTalk Group, and so the Partner channel can rightly be described as the growth engine of that growth engine!
I am looking forward to generating further momentum in the Partner channel, drawing upon my experience leading the business product & trading strategy most recently as Commercial Director. I’m also grateful to have the chance to build on the solid foundations Alex and her team have put in place over the last few years.
I am especially excited about the new products we will bring to market in the coming months, and our portfolio will only get stronger, in particular with regards to the launch of Cloud Ready Connectivity. Key to our future success is continuing to ensure that we are taking our Partners on the journey to delivering the next generation of connectivity to their customers. As many of you will recall, this was one of the key themes from our Partner Summit. We were lucky to be joined by Camille Mendler, practice leader for Enterprise services at Ovum, who talked through a number of issues that will be front of mind over the next few months:
Don’t ask what connectivity can do for you – ask what you can do with connectivity
The next 24 months are critical to the UK market, with a greater take up of cloud based services predicted. According to Ovum, Rightscale and Cartesian 95% of businesses will use cloud applications and services by the end of this year, up from 75% in 2013. Cloud migration will put enormous pressure on network performance, and UK organisations need faster connectivity speeds to adopt these technologies and stay competitive. Cloud migration is only as good as network that underpins it. As such we’re excited to be launching Cloud Ready Connectivity in the year ahead; connectivity products that are optimised for the scale, performance and architecture of cloud requirements. Cloud Ready Connectivity offers better performance and security for businesses, can be more easily deployed and managed by Partners through our portals, and has a range of new up-sell opportunities for Partners to make more margin.
Be ambitious beyond your traditional field of operations
Organisations are looking for providers who can offer the right mix of connectivity, hosted apps and IT resources, so Partners are missing an opportunity if they are being too conservative with their solutions. An attractive cloud provider is one that offers a broad range of network services, professional services, applications and is a one stop shop for excellent advice and solutions. Cloud services like Unified Communications can also be particularly complimentary to existing connectivity solutions and build greater stickiness with customers. Partners should then rethink target audience segments and the opportunity they present to get footholds in new markets and grow margins. For example, blue collar workers are crying out for UC solutions to connect remote workers and reduce business risk.
Focus on your superior experience
Inevitably everything is becoming commoditised in IT and telephony apart from one thing that is more valuable than ever before – a superior customer experience. Partners can demonstrate their value by providing expert assistance to help customers on the journey to the cloud, matching the right solutions to meet their specific business needs. The growth in cloud services also allows Partners to more easily assign KPIs and create dedicated SLAs so that they can not only meet, but exceed customer expectations.
It’s clear from this that if Partners focus on simple and manageable solutions that deliver good value, come with excellent service and target new areas of spend they will find valuable and long term business opportunities.
The next six months hold some exciting developments at TalkTalk Business including the launch of Cloud Ready Connectivity in September and ongoing work over the coming months to deliver Britain’s Gigabit future. I am looking forward to working with the Partner team in delivering the benefits of these developments to our channel and meeting you all in person at Comms Vision in November.