Vodafone's efforts to build an IT channel have floundered soit appears to be going for the next best option - to acquire its own networkingintegrator.
In the past month the telco behemoth has been liked withseveral firms including the reseller operation at Daisy Communications andDiData.
Fixed and mobile communications are converging and Vodafoneis trying to buy up some fixed line competency.
Its historic involvement with the channel has beenchequered; it employed Mark Whitby - now Seagate's European president- todevelop global channel programmes for IT resellers but things never really tookoff.
"Vodafone put some money into the channel but it didn't seethe returns on a short term basis and gave up," said one reseller source.
Activating contracts was considered long winded andcomplicated and many laughed when Vodafone reduced the process steps to nine,not three or four.
The sales model is another issue for IT resellers; givingaway hardware with the tariffs was and to a large extent still is alien to ITfirms, costly finance experts are required to help with this.
Any deal over a certain number of seats is also taken directso resellers said they found it difficult to compete with the network operatorsand were confined to sell in the SME market.
Blackberry and O2 are certainly making strides to overcomethese issues and are placing a lot of investment in the IT channel to helpresellers build up specific teams but even these companies offer commissiononly on new business.
"You need two operators to make money," said one channelsource.
With a growing number of notebooks and netbooks sold withconnectivity, the channel is slowly responding. Sadly for Vodafone, as thingsstand now it will not be in line to benefit when those sales agents truly getto grips with the model.
Drop me a line, on the QT, off-record, very much hush hush.
This was first published in May 2010