With mobile devices increasingly the ‘remote control’ for people’s personal and business lives, it has become imperative for resellers and service providers to prioritise mobile within their portfolios. So, treating mobile as a silo risks being left behind: it is no longer just a ‘nice to have’. In many parts of the Nordics, users have moved beyond ‘mobile first’ to ‘mobile only’, and other countries are following suit.
However, if this is the case, why is much of the channel still not yet embracing ‘mobile first’ and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC)? The answer is simple: it can seem complex, daunting and risky, but that does not have to be the case. Service providers across the region have successfully adopted some clear methods/recipes for delivering mobile and FMC.
Furthermore, technology has evolved to the point where adding mobile services has never been easier, providing a foundation on which to offer convergence of different apps, devices and networks across both telephony and ICT. The net result is a seamless flow of communication, collaboration and productivity, enabling the channel to deliver compelling and differentiated solutions.
Here are five ways in which channel partners can embrace the mobile revolution.
Using someone else’s infrastructure makes it possible to easily and quickly add mobile services and is particularly relevant for a smaller service provider, or a reseller intending to transition into being one. For instance, in France, more than 20,000 converged SIMs are supported through Enreach’s FMC enablement platform. This is an easy way to simply add mobile to an existing fixed environment, with Enreach taking care of the connectivity side. Everything can be bundled as one package, including selling voice minutes. For partners such as these, there is no need to add in PBX capabilities or expertise. Sales teams have a simple message, with everything bundled together: fixed and mobile, voice and data, and other services on top. The customer benefits from a single point of contact for all their IT and comms requirements. Of course, an excellent user experience is vital, so there needs to be a seamless and complementary interaction between the mobile app and the network-driven FMC platform.
For many providers, who want to target large volumes of customers, the way of the future has to be to sell online. Organisations such as bOnline in the UK are breaking new ground by making ICT services so easy to purchase and administer, taking away the hassle of time and effort for customers.
When done well, online sales and provisioning portals can also save a partner a vast amount of time. We all know that, traditionally, BSS and OSS take up many person-hours. Using an online admin portal, much of the administration is delegated to the business customer. This level of self-service is an advantage to them also because they can quickly make changes without waiting for the provider to respond.
There are, of course, some obvious target users, such as road warriors, sales teams, and other teams that work primarily on their mobile devices already. In addition, other emerging categories include contact centre agents, who can be based anywhere, including working from home. What we call the ‘casual contact centre’ enables service providers to quickly provision customer service features without the investment and commitment of traditional contact centre solutions.
Similarly, healthcare workers are another growing category of mobile workers who need access to a rich variety of information at their fingertips from any location.
The beauty of modern UCaaS technology is that it can be straightforward to build differentiated services, helping channel providers to create tailored packages, for instance, to education-sector customers and other vertical markets. The key is to select a UCaaS platform that provides features and integrations that support a high level of differentiation.
In addition to a platform that supports customisation and integrations, it is also essential to work with a vendor with real experience in the mobile market. Many partners will be on a learning curve, so choosing a vendor who is also in that situation is pointless.
Also, be sure to choose a vendor with experience in Europe, including the requirements of local markets, regulation, and support teams based in the region, able to provide timezone-friendly and multiple language options. Finally, look for a vendor who allows the partner to own the customer relationship and contract and can offer white-labelling if required.
Mobile is not the next big opportunity: it is the current big opportunity. A partner not embracing mobile risks being left behind and possibly not surviving. Conversely, adding mobile can open up huge potential for service providers of all kinds to expand into new areas. Start small and grow stepwise: this can be an evolution, it does not have to be a revolution, but one thing is clear: mobile is the future.
This article was published by Technology Reseller