Telstra targets integrators

Telstra targets integrators

Telco appoints Express Data to help drive partnerships in the IT channel

Express Data is building a broadband channel for Telstra. The distributor has signed up almost 100 of its existing partners already and hopes to triple that figure in the next five weeks.

Telstra Business head of channel development, Jules Boyd, said the partnership was designed to drive its connectivity products into the SMB market.

"We need partners that can pull together broadband and IP opportunities for SMB customers," he said. "SMBs are perceived as lagging enterprise when it comes to technology adoption but we are seeing quite the opposite.

"A lot of them are very dependent on technology for their productivity whether it's a roofing contractor, checking the weather on a satellite map to plan where his workforce will be deployed, or a Web-based company that can run their business from anywhere. We are seeing incredible productivity gains through mobility.

"In the fixed side we see a great opportunity around teleworking. It has been talked about for 10 years but until recently lacked affordable, ubiquitous broadband."

Integrators that sign up will be paid sales commissions per connection to the Telstra Business Next IP fixed or Next G mobile broadband services.

Telstra will manage the billing relationship but ED is building an annuity model around the broadband services and integrators will be rewarded for renewals. Managing director, Ross Cochrane, drew comparisons with software licensing.

"Many of our resellers have been selling under this model in the past if you think about software licensing," he said. "They are acting as an adviser but the user is contracted to the publisher whether it is Microsoft, Symantec or whoever else.

"We will provide annuity tools, renewal opportunities and upgrade opportunities because we all know that technology will move forward and what we sell today can be revisited in a couple of years."

ISVs developing applications for Telstra are also being offered the opportunity to resell its connectivity. Cochrane plans to develop an ecosystem that will put integrators in touch with these developers to help them address vertical markets.

ED is offering sales training and has built a Telstra team including three BDMs as well as a dedicated product manager. But Cochrane said its focus would be much broader than that.

"This isn't about three or four people because we have 70 people in our sales force talking to partners all the time," he said. "We already have road shows and training around it." Express Data has been working to reposition itself as an ICT distributor for a couple of years now, Cochrane said, and viewed its Telstra appointment as central to that transition.

"Computing without connectivity is dead and the reliability of that connectivity is going to be vital to the successful provision of business applications," Cochrane said. "I think Telstra has a very strong reputation when business customers consider reliability, consistency and performance. The product is built for business."

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