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Vocus eyes next phase in partner program strategy

Vocus eyes next phase in partner program strategy

Vocus takes aim at channel specialisation

Andrew Wildblood (Vocus)

Andrew Wildblood (Vocus)

Credit: Ashley Mar

Telecommunications services provider Vocus is gearing up to tackle the next phase in its channel program strategy, with the company focusing on building and fostering specialisation within its partner network.

Earlier this year, Vocus revealed it was looking to double down on the amount of its networking and fibre products sold through channel partners as part of its five-year growth plan -- a goal that was reiterated by chief executive of the enterprise and government division at Vocus, Andrew Wildblood, during one of a series of partner events last month.

“My view is that partners will be more and more critical to us; we’re quite clear that if you’ve got the network, your own fibre network, we’ll continue to build that network out further into places that make sense for us,” Wildblood told ARN at the Sydney leg of the Vocus Channel Roadshow, which made itself around the country through much of November. 

“[This can be seen in] the last twelve months’ development, where we’re making ourselves far more relevant to the enterprise space we choose to serve because of partners,” he said.

Indeed, since before the beginning of the year, Vocus has made a concerted effort to branch out beyond its traditional partner network and recruit partners in managed and professional services, implementation, transition and project management, among other areas.

With the appointment at the beginning of the year of Monique Esplin as general manager of indirect and channel for its enterprise and government division, and Lani Edwards as head of strategic alliances, Vocus has launched itself headlong into a new era for its channel operations.

“We’re at the first evolution of actual services: generic, managed professional services is what this group of channel partners is at now,” Esplin told ARN at the telco’s channel roadshow event in Sydney. “The next iteration is channel specialisation.

“So, recognising the unique capabilities of the channel to become Vocus-certified voice channel partners, Vocus-certified hybrid cloud partners; and then on to be industry specialised partners will be the evolution of the channel,” she said. 

As Vocus’ channel landscape matures, it is expected to deliver substantial revenue increases to the company’s enterprise and government segment. Already, it delivers at least 10 per cent of the telco’s enterprise and government business division’s revenue.

Esplin and Wildblood would like to see that figure rise to 20 per cent by 2024.

But Vocus’ drive to build out its channel network to reach that goal is less creating the country’s biggest partner network, but rather to focus on a core roster of specialist partners with which it can work closely on enterprise projects. 

“We...must acknowledge the size of our business and the size of the addressable market and not overflood the channel; we’re not here to build a thousand-strong channel, it’s likely that we will find a group of partners that we can transact with more often on a long-term basis,” Esplin said. “I don’t think it’s about more partners, it’s about the right partners.”

But before Vocus realises all of its lofty channel goals, it needs to focus on enabling partners to get to the next level. 

The first step, according to Esplin, is to talk about the “brilliant simplicity” of Vocus’ value proposition. For Esplin, that means simplifying the way partners transact with Vocus, which is achieved, in part, by digitising the front of the company’s future state network so that partners can access the network in the simplest way possible

“That enables scale and it enables the partner to have some control over the customer,” she said. “The second thing is deep enablement, so, teaching [partners] about new technologies; we are partnering with challenger technology brands like Google and Fortinet, [for example], and we need to enable our challenge on what that...value proposition is for our customers.”

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