IT resellers and integrators could soon find themselves in demand from a new breed of partner — the mobile telcos.
As the popularity of mobile devices such as RIM’s Blackberry solution and the growing selection of operator-led wireless data offerings brings IT and telecoms together, the operators are going to be looking for partners to sell and support them, according to Blackberry Asia-Pacific vice-president, Patrick Spence.
“There is an opportunity for a new channel,” he said.
“It’s not necessarily a business that some of the operators want to be in.”
Blackberry’s resellers in Australia — Vodafone, Telstra and Optus — already have dedicated business units aimed at developing wireless data in the enterprise.
But the option for resellers to get in on the act will arise in detailed implementation and support of enterprise-level wireless solutions.
Currently, Vodafone is in negotiations with a “very large IT reseller” to take on integration of its Vodafone Mobile Connect and Blackberry wireless enterprise products.
Vodafone already has six distribution partners working with IT dealers and retailers throughout Australia.
Business data marketing manager, Declan O’Callaghan, said the industry was broadening its skills to keep up.
“[Resellers] can make a killing on implementation services,” he said.
“The IT community at large has seen the benefits of the last mile.”
Adelaide-based Leader Computer System is one of Vodafone’s distributor partners, and was described by O’Callaghan as a prime example of the operator’s burgeoning foray into IT-based relationships.
Unsurprisingly, Leader’s managing director, Paul Kristoris, is only happy to help, signing up more than 100 dealers and retailers in the first three months of the relationship with Vodafone.
“They need our expertise in the IT space as the technology emerges,” Kristoris said. “Our dealers are saying to us that their clients want solutions to help with productivity gains. But if you want to implement Blackberry for your sales force you can’t go to a phone shop — you need the advice of a specialist.”